Just humor is New this week; I spent most of the weekend transferring files to the new Web host.

What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past?

first page | LIST OF ALL TOPICS | contact the museum | art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | belts | bidets | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books (and reviews) | cats | company booklets directory | costumes | cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | famous people | FAQ | humor | huts | links | media | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | religion | menstrual products safety | science | shame | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour (video) | underpants directory | videos, films directory | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads

I am right now switching Web site hosts, so there may be an incomplete Web site, disruptions in service and maybe no e-mail service for the period [!] 13 - 15 February.

My Thanks to You Who Helped Me Find a New Web Host!

I appreciate the suggestions you sent last week for re-engineering this site and finding a new server for it to reduce costs!

Increasing numbers of people around the world visit MUM, which has many large graphics. Multiply visitors by things downloaded to their machines and you get "bandwidth," which I buy from the people who own the server where this museum sits. After only two weeks on MUM's last server I had far exceeded what I had paid for, and I wanted to find a server that charged less for bandwidth and offered more space for all the pages visitors look at.

A few days ago I did find that server and I spent eight hours yesterday transferring the thousands of MUM files to a city not far from here. I am a geek in some ways - this Web site attests to that - but I am NOT a computer geek, and translating the mumbo-jumbo on how to accomplish that transfer for days defied me and even more computer-literate co-workers in the computer-graphics office I work in. But I cracked the code after a night's sleep and I'm a better person for it. Inspiring, no?

So yer MUM is safe until the next bandwidth crisis. But after having done it once - actually, twice - I dread less the next move. And I know you will help me!

Celebrate the First Annual Menstrual Monday!

When: The Monday before Mother's Day, because menstruation comes before motherhood (and usually long after it, too). This year's Menstrual Monday falls on May 8, 2000. If you live in a country that doesn't celebrate Mother's Day as in the United States, pick a day that seems appropriate and convenient for a "Menstrual Monday"!

Where: In your backyard at sunrise; in the cafeteria at lunch; after work; at your friend's house; in the classroom; in your dorm room - wherever is convenient and appropriate!

Why: To create a sense of happiness and fun around menstruation; to encourage women to be proactive in addressing menstrual and reproduction-related health issues; to encourage greater visibility of menstruation culturally, in film, print, music, and other media; and to enhance honesty about menstruation in our relationships.

How: Wear a red article of clothing, put a red tablecloth on the table at dinner; talk to an older or younger relative about her menstrual experiences; create some art or do some writing about menstruation, and share with friends; share information about PMS, endometriosis, or self-breast examinations; create a ritual involving red candles and red tulips. In short: Whatever seems convenient and appropriate to you!

Free Starter Kit!

Please feel free to download the above text to make flyers or post on your own website, to email a friend, and so on. For more information, or to receive a FREE Menstrual Monday "starter kit" - please e-mail menstrullenium@aol.com or write:

Geneva Kachman [read her "Menstrual Traveling Show" and review of the movie "Terms of Endearment"]

4881 Packard #A2

Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108

Company May Put Beneficial Bacteria into Tampons and Panty Pads

Two site visitors mailed me news of the possibility that the Scandinavian company SCA Mølnlycke, which makes tampons, pads, panty pads for thongs (reviewed in an earlier News page) and other products, will possibly put live, beneficial bacteria into a product line of tampons and panty pads in order to combat harmful bacteria in the vagina, and on the vulva and perineum.

According to the BBC Web site, where I found this news, the good bacterium, Lactobacillus plantarum, totally inhibits the growth of certain bacteria, such as Klebsiella species, B streptococci, Staphylococci and yeasts such as Candida albicans, which can cause vaginal and urinary tract infections in women as well as serious infections of newborn children.

The news appeared in the recent New Scientist magazine.

L. plantarum does not harm beneficial bacteria found in the vagina, such as other strains of Lactobacillus, and it colonized the perineum - the area between the anus and vagina - and the opening of the urethra in a group of volunteers. Lactobacillus normally helps keep the vagina acid, thereby inhibiting the growth of harmful organisms. Menstrual blood, by the way, can decrease the acidity of the vagina, making it easier for bad bacteria to grow.

Dr. Eva Grahn Hakansson and her colleagues at the University of Umea in Sweden discovered the new Lactobacillus. They pointed out that many yoghurts contain live bacteria, and are even sometimes recommended for the disease thrush and are inserted into the vagina to combat disorders.

(See the Norwegian SCA Web site, exhibit on this site and, in the interest of complete disclosure, the company profiled me in its company magazine a few months ago next to astronaut Sally Ride!)

Letters to Your MUM

Is there any danger associated with menstrual cups?

Yours is a great site. I've forwarded the address to all my friends! (What a surprise is waiting in their e-mailboxes!!!)

Anyway, as I biologist, I would like to refute the comment about blood-borne pathogens festering around products like Instead [menstrual cup]. Not so. I must admit that I've read no studies on the topic, but my microbiological knowledge just tells me it isn't so. Any microbes in there would be from your own body and are either A: natural symbionts (i.e., beneficial bacteria, etc.) or B: something your immune system is already fighting off (i.e., nothing that is going to proliferate beyond what you can naturally handle). I could see someone getting an infection if they don't practice good hygiene of the hands and otherwise, or if they left it in for some indefinite period of time (an infection in this case being caused by irritation and lack of hygiene.)

[See safety for Dr. Philip Tierno's assessment of the safety of cups.]

Anyhow, I myself loved Instead, and am disappointed that I can no longer find it. [Call 1-800-INSTEAD in the U.S.A. or see their Web site www.softcup.com] I did have trouble with leakage before the four hours, but that didn't bother me due to the comfort and freedom it provided! I hope it is refined and brought back to market. [It's already there!]

Thanks for your time.

A Swedish woman responds to the tax the Australian government wants to stick on tampons and pads. This same writer helped me immensely last week by suggesting ways to decrease the size of this site by changing its structure, etc., thereby reducing what I have to pay. And she admitted she thrashed me and this site in an e-mail a year or two ago published here. She has since seen the Light and her MUM forgives her.

[Part of the Australian mail stated:

The women's movement generally says that sanitary aids are health products and should be tax free like condoms and aspirin. The minister says that they are toiletries or grooming aids and should be taxed like shaving cream.]

Does the minister have a beard? Maybe the Australian women should start walking around without any protection at all and see how popular that would be.

[Actually, that is a fabulous idea! The experiment - give it several cycles to really work - would be the greatest gender test in 2411 years, since the Athenian women's withholding of sex to stop warfare in Aristophanes's play Lysistrata. What would men DO??!!

Couples who hadn't had a serious discussion in years would have nothing but, and the Australian sisterhood would ignite similar actions around the world, finally toppling men from the leadership of great nations. Lose your reserve, not your nerve!, if I may suggest a battle cry. And your MUM - see her at the top of the Directory page with Prof. Mack C. Padd - waddles out in front, non-communist red banner unfurled! Good grief, what am I talking about? I must have forgotten to take my pill this morning.]

I'd say tampons and pads are more necessary than both shaving cream and aspirin (ignore the headache and it will eventually go away while the spot in my trousers will only grow bigger if I ignore the need for tampons). I mean, it's not as if women choose to have periods!

The same writer comments on other aspects of the Australian mail:

[from the Australian mail: "What is it exactly with American women and applicator tampons?"]


I liked Tampax when I was 13-15 years old and still a bit narrow in that area, but now I prefer the ones that fit into a small "tablet box" in my handbag. One or two o.b. tampons also go nicely in that ridiculous little "fifth" pocket most jeans have.

[the mail: "because I've never seen an ad like the 'shame' one here in Oz"]

I have seen one like the Swedish one that shows a belt. It was the same "view" of one woman wearing a pair of slightly see-through, but quite "proper" white briefs with a white bulge at the bottom. I think it was black-and-white and I think the text was something like "At night nobody can see what you look like" and the product was extra thick, extra long night pads. That one was also Swedish.

[the mail: "Because even though I find periods a pain in the arse, they are part of being female that you get used to. . . .]

At first I felt totally ashamed of buying pads, but my mother (who is 37 years older than me) refused to buy them for me. She said she'd just get complaints from me if she bought the wrong kind (and no, it's not that she's a prude, as a teacher of 13-15-year old children she's had to deal with the topic enough to be "desensitised" to it). Eventually I figured out the logic: What does the fact that I buy this product say about me? What conclusions can people draw from seeing me buy this? That I am human, a woman, somewhere between 10 and 50 years old, healthy and not pregnant. Quite frankly, I'd feel very insulted if anybody thought anything else!

A German forum of feminine hygiene and the environment:

Hello Mr. Finley, Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of Mum,

At first I want to say, I'm very surprised (in a positive way) to find a site like yours. It is full of amazing things. Especially the company booklets directory invite a long stay.

But I also have a question: Is it possible to set a link to us on your site, as we would do the same on our homepage? [Yes]

For your information: We are a forum for hygiene and environment, which is founded by some of the most famous companies of hygiene products (you have a lot of these products mentioned in your site).

Here is our homepage address (in German): http://www.forum-hygiene.de

Greetings from Bonn

Bodo Woltiri

Forum Hygiene & Umwelt

Hysterectomies - removal of the uterus - do not stop the enjoyment of this site:

What a fascinating site. Though my menstruating days are over due to a hysterectomy, it still is an interesting topic and part of my history as a female. Thanks.

The museum will re-open some day:

What great pages! I had heard of your museum, but stumbled across the pages by chance one day. I hope I can visit the museum one day - keep up the good work! You're doing a brave thing because menstruation is still taboo. You must get a lot of misinterpretation [I sure do] of what you're doing, but I think it's great! [Thanks!]

Question about menstrual clots, abortion, the Maori, Inuits, and other cultures:

I'm researching some ethnographic material on the New Zealand Maori that suggests menstrual clots were thought of as a kind of abortion or stillbirth. I've found a similar idea in an ethnography of the Inuit.

I would like to find one or two more sources from other cultures. Can anyone suggest a reference or two?

Thanks in advance.

Adele Fletcher

Maori Dept.

University of Canterbury

An e-mailer sent me this about an item on the eBay auction site last week:

This same seller, "tokyokaren," has Hello Kitty vibrator and sanitary napkins as well as this douche.

Title of item: !!! Hello Kitty DOUCHE Japan only!!!

. . . .

Price: Starts at $6.99

Item Description:

Yes, you read it right: DOUCHE. At first I couldn't believe it either, but our favorite animated character, Hello Kitty, is indeed featured on a brand of Japanese douches. Needless to say, this quirky item is for the Hello Kitty collector (or douche collector, I suppose) who wants EVERYTHING. I don't think that you'll find this one in Walmart any time soon; these are available only in Japan. . . . Winner pays shipping. . . . If you like this item, you should check out my auction for Hello Kitty sanitary pads. Thank you for visiting my auction and good luck on your bidding! Be sure to check out my other auctions for more of the coolest Hello Kitty stuff, straight from the home of Hello Kitty herself, Tokyo, Japan!

The jokes are OK!

Hi there, Mr. Finley,

I just wanted to send you a little note to let you know that I think your site's very informative and interesting, and that the jokes page can be good for a much-needed laugh once in a while.

I really can't see why some people would get offended enough at the jokes to try and bully you into taking them down, writing angry mails, etc. Maybe I'm wrong, but I figure that if something like a joke about menstruation is that vexing to you, then simply roll your eyes and hit the "back" button on your browser to take you to wherever you'd been reading before. Honestly, it just seems kinda petty to get that bent out of shape over some silly thing you stumble onto online. But, as I said, maybe I'm wrong; it's just my opinion. [Don't be so humble - you're right!]

In any event, you sure do have guts to take on a subject like this one! LOL [Thanks. I thought the thing over for months before I started the actual museum in 1994. I asked myself if I was willing to take the inevitable criticism and innuendo. I figured I had maybe twenty years left to live - maybe a high estimate, since nine months after closing the four-year-old museum I had coronary angioplasty - and could stand anything. I overestimated that, in view of the heart problem, but here I am. I just want the actual museum to be set up in a public place before I die.]

Keep up the good work! [Many thanks!]

American Indians object to using menstrual blood in paintings:

Greetings, Harry,

I'm writing from Denver, Colorado (U.S.A.)

I want to say how much I enjoy your site and I am going to be recommending it as a destination to a group of 12 - 18 year-old girls with whom I will be conducting a menstrual workshop in mid-March.

But meanwhile, I wanted to pass on to you this little tidbit that I retrieved from the Rocky Mountain News newspaper (Denver). Unfortunately I do not have the exact date of the article. It was published in either November or early December of 1999, of that I am quite sure.

The article reports:

DURANGO, Colorado: A student who used menstrual blood in paintings hung in a Fort Lewis College gallery has withdrawn the paintings after several American Indian students complained that such blood is taboo in their culture.

College officials said a Southern Ute spiritual leader has been called to conduct a purification ceremony at the gallery where the painting were displayed.

The student artist, Pilar Reggae Paulsen, told college officials she was unaware her paintings would be offensive to American Indians and quickly decided to pull the pieces from the Senior Art Majors Art Exhibition.

Don't know if there is place for this item in the museum, but thought you'd be interested. [Thanks for the good information!]

The same writer continues about the millennium question: Is this the new millennium or even century?The link I had not longer worked.

You can get the correct information if you go to these pages published by the U S Naval Observatory:

http://psyche.usno.navy.mil/millennium/whenIs.html (that`s a capital "i" in



A comprehensive site from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich will put right any doubts:


Tell Your Congressperson You Support the Tampon Safety and Research Act of 1999! Here's How and Why

Help Wanted: This Museum Needs a Public Official For Its Board of Directors

Your MUM is doing the paper work necessary to become eligible to receive support from foundations as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. To achieve this status, it helps to have a American public official - an elected or appointed official of the government, federal, state or local - on its board of directors.

What public official out there will support a museum for the worldwide culture of women's health and menstruation?

Read about my ideas for the museum. What are yours?

Eventually I would also like to entice people experienced in the law, finances and fund raising to the board.

Any suggestions?

Do You Have Irregular Menses?

If so, you may have polycystic ovary syndrome [and here's a support association for it].

Jane Newman, Clinical Research Coordinator at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard University School of Medicine, asked me to tell you that

Irregular menses identify women at high risk for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which exists in 6-10% of women of reproductive age. PCOS is a major cause of infertility and is linked to diabetes.

Learn more about current research on PCOS at Brigham and Women's Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University - or contact Jane Newman.

If you have fewer than six periods a year, you may be eligible to participate in the study!

See more medical and scientific information about menstruation.

The Britannica searcher, below, does not yet work - I'm working on it.


Not much New this week; I spent most of the weekend transferring files to the new Web host.


What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past?

PREVIOUS NEWS | first page | contact the museum | art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | belts | bidets | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books (and reviews) | cats | company booklets directory | costumes | cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | famous people | FAQ | humor | huts | links | media | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | religion | menstrual products safety | science | shame | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour (video) | underpants directory | videos, films directory | washable pads | LIST OF ALL TOPICS

© 2000 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to hfinley@mum.org