New this week: humor

Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Words and expressions for menstruation
What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past?

first page | LIST OF ALL TOPICS | contact the museum | privacy on this site | 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'm just back from vacation; a tiny New this week (read more)
Letters to your MUM

Did the American Indians . . .? (from a male writer)


Have you ever heard of braided hair being used as a tampon? Possibly a Native American usage. [No. Has anybody?]


Order the Swedish home tampon dispenser from one of its designers


Dear Harry,

Thank you for the positive response. It looks really good on your Web page.

It is possible to order it from me. I will gladly be of assistance if there are any orders.

My address is Maria Kreutz, Västra Rönneholmsvägen 50C, S-21741 Malmo, Sweden or my e-mail address:

The price for the painted ones (red or white at the moment) is $49 or £33

They are also available unpainted for $45 or £30 (the most popular actually)

I think it costs about $9 or £6 to send it by mail.

The delivery time will be approximately one week.

If you need more information, please do not hesitate to write back! [Read and see more about it.]

Many thanks,


P.S.: Yes, it does look like sperm to me, too. [I commented that the tampon cut-out design looked a sperm. Hey, I'm a guy.]

"you are still a part of it" as a man

Hi, Harry,

When I first saw your site I thought it was written by a sexist woman, because of several remarks like "probably a man." Reading further, it seems like you are uncomfortable with the fact that you are a man running a museum on such a female issue. Here's my opinion:

It's not a subject just for us women. This is where you came from. This is how you reproduce. You don't experience this personally (and neither do all women) but you are still a part of it. I'm glad to see you embracing it, celebrating it. Now go ahead and be part of it. You already are.

Menarche trauma and PMS

Dear Mr. Finley,

I read about your museum in the Bust Guide to the New Girl Order and just checked out your Web site.

Terrific stuff! I hope to see the collection one day.

Honestly, I wish I could have had access to a place like the MUM when I was about 11 years old. For me, getting my period at that time was a completely traumatic experience. I cried and cried. It also took me a while to get the hang of managing it, which led to some very embarrassing moments, one involving white shorts at age 12 that I'm sure I will never forget. By the time I was 17 or so I was okay with it and now, at age 27 I feel no discomfort or embarrassment over menstruating and even use cloth pads at night that I made myself. So I'm okay with it, and hopefully more and more women are becoming so.

One thing I was wondering about your collection: do you include anything about menstrual difficulties/solutions? [Right now, only some ads.] For example PMS symptoms like moodiness, bloating, acne, or the problem of cramps? I am wondering because I have found that when I avoid certain foods like sugar, refined flours & oils, and caffeine symptoms are lessened and amazingly so.

Also, when I get enough exercise, that really helps too. I do think that the Standard American Diet, with its abundance or sugar, fat, and unpronounceable chemicals, is doing women no favors when it comes to their menstrual woes.

Thanks for a great, positive, interesting Web site!


Cambridge, MA

Open the museum before we - and your MUM - die!

Hi there, Harry,

My friends and I discovered your museum/Web site this past weekend and are thoroughly intrigued. The site was most informative (not to mention humorous); it really whetted our appetite to see the actual exhibits. Have you had any luck finding a permanent venue for the museum? Any idea when it might re-open? We're not getting any younger, you know!

Hope to hear from you soon.


[I want to make MUM a nonprofit and put it into the public; read here for some of my concerns and plans.]

Men and women: the eternal back-and-forth

Hi, Harry,

One of your letter-writers made the interesting statement that nobody cares about female anatomy unless it somehow involves a male; I'm not sure if I quite agree, for the following reason: Two "male" friends of mine from the theater, on hearing that I hadn't yet had a mammogram at age 41, insisted that I go get one. Both had the disease strike members of their family. (I did get one, and :) I passed!)

Then again . . . every once in a while somebody, either right-wingy types or the sort of feminists who think menstrual leave (from offices) is a good idea, pops up insisting that women shouldn't want to imitate or compete with men (i.e., in the business world) when they can do this amazing thing that men can't, namely having babies. Yes, women can and do have babies; they can do a lot of other things too.

So why is it that the deed held up and glorified as the number-one big crowning-glory female achievement is the one deed that a woman can't accomplish without the aid of a man?

Of course, women can menstruate without the aid of a man!

Long life and good fortune,

Tarot, lotions, witches, etc.


May a do a link to your site from mine? [Sure!]

my site is

My customers would be delighted to learn of your site.

Please let me know.


Amy Ahlberg

Awful pads and dreaming of menstruation

Dear dear Harry Finley,

A late night e-research session of Frida Kahlo led to Judy Chicago's Red Flag and MUM, which I have been back to visit three days in a row - what a fabulous site! [Many thanks!] Great design; I don't have to sit around forever waiting for the pages to appear, etc. You are wonderful! [Aw, shucks . . . .]

The letter from the midwife made me suddenly "feel" the flow (not a common sensation for this Instead fan [see more about cups], and another part of the site which addressed odor brought the scent (marigolds? hm . . .) immediately to mind.

I learned why I have trouble finding my beloved Insteads! I learned about menstrual huts! I finally saw a Gladrag (a male friend of mine who hangs out with lesbians told me about those and i could not believe that a guy - and a younger one at that - was telling me about feminine protection! [And yer MUM's a male!])

NOW, I looked for something on this but could not find it: I have long wondered why I dream about getting my period. And the dream always involves having to wear pads (yuck), and as I write this I honestly can't tell you if I had these dreams before I learned to use tampons (MY mum didn't believe in them: "Why should we forget that we bleed?" etc.; seems her way of thinking is coming back!).

I used to suppose that these dreams were akin to performance-anxiety dreams ("Oh, I forgot to go on stage," "Oh, I forgot I had a final exam today," etc.), but realized the emphasis was on having to use pads -

(Did I mention that the worst part of carrying an 11-pound baby to term, laboring to 10 centimeters before having a c-section when my pain medication ran out - the very worst part of all that was having to wear pads for 3 weeks after the delivery? I repeat, yuck!)

- and NOT any anxiety about periods. Still, throughout the dream I am always VERY aware of the warm heaviness between my legs, so . . . .

Anyway, I'm not asking you to analyze this (how about how I used to dream I was riding a bus going up a very steep incline - until I learned how to drive!) BUT I was just curious as to whether other women have written to you about dreaming about menstruation. [No, believe it or not; but I wouldn't dare analyze dreams anyway.] I know there is a "theory" about women having more outlandish dreams when they ovulate - that's one dream/period connection.

I know, I've gone on and on. but I feel like I know you now. And THAT is a tribute to your exhibit.

I've had other dreams where stains have "marked" other women's territories (like beds!).

I'm interested - where do I go from here? (I wish I could come up and visit, THEN write an article - I freelance - for the travel section. Combine it with a trip to a menstrual hut. Tee hee, I could just see the editor's face . . . .)

Your fan,

PS: There's a musical duo in New Mexico called Aunt Flo. The material is minstrel, not menstrual (couldn't pass that up, sorry). Would you be interested in a cassette tape for your museum, just because? [Sure!] I could check into it, if you like.

Call for Submissions: "The 100 Best Things About Menstruation"

Looking for one-liners up to three paragraphs describing a "best thing" about menstruation: Health-related, cultural, artistic; an experience shared with an older or younger relative, or with a partner; a dream, political statement, joke, proverb, and/or something overheard at a party; scientific, sexual and/or religious . . . .

Be creative, be precise, and make it a one-liner up to three paragraphs.

The book will start out with best thing #1:


Which is a "joke" given to me by a woman in Australia - however, I think it accurately expresses the menstruphobia most people feel, and is a good starting point for the general audience the book is aimed at.

From there, the book is a journey through all stages and aspects of the lifetime menstrual cycle - and the last several "best things" will be about menopause. So hopefully the reader will be brought full circle - they will recognize their own menstruphobia in the first best thing, but by the end of the book, they may be surprised to find themselves feeling a bit . . . menstrufriendly!

Please include contact information for you and/or your group EXACTLY as you would wish it to appear in the book - I think it will save a bit of hassle down the road!

Any best things that don't make it into the book will be included in a section on the Menstrual Monday Web site entitled "More Best Things About Menstruation." I'd like the book to be a snapshot of the worldwide menstrual movement in year 2000 - so just like a group photo, there's going to be some adjusting and moving people around and asking people to tilt their head a bit to the left, etc. . . i.e., as editor of the book, I may e-mail back and ask you to expand your best thing(s), or give some specific examples . . . so I hope that's not going to put anybody off!!!

Here's another sample best thing:

#43. Cramping at the Savoy

I know it's traditional to lie in bed with a hot water bottle or heating pad when one has cramps, but I can remember working in a fast-food restaurant, and one day when I had my period, I'd worked an eight-hour shift from 6 am to 2 pm, and later that night, went dancing at 9 pm . . . I can remember being on the crowded dance floor, and shouting up to my partner, "the dancing's made my cramps go away!" and him shouting back (although I could barely hear him above the music): "GOOD!!!"

So maybe the whole purpose of having cramps is to propel us onto the dance floor!

Working deadline is October 1, 2000, for submissions.

Please feel free to e-mail me with your "best things," and any questions or comments you may have!

Geneva Kachman [who has written poetry and essays on this site and had toxic shock syndrome. She founded Menstrual Monday.]

I'm just back from vacation; a tiny New this week

I spent much of the past week researching at Archives II, visiting museums and shmoozing with my seldom-glimpsed brother.

Archives II is a branch of the Archives of the United States, in College Park, Maryland, and the largest archives building in the world (according to a sign there), half the size of the Pentagon (where I worked for seven years), and just over a decade old.

I cannot see how it could function any better for its users, and the building is beautiful, relying to a large extent on natural light. My brother recalled a study showing that natural light made students grow three inches taller than a comparison group and greatly increased their college board scores. I hope to grow taller but could I take the board scores in Euros or dollars times ten or, um, a hundred?

My brother - George to you, Sandy to me (from Alexander, his middle name) - is helping to create an exhibit about the post-war presence of American soldiers in Germany for a German museum in Schwäbisch Hall, where he and his wife - she is from that town - lived for many years. He will use bits of Archives II film to illustrate 1946 nonfraternization policy between Americans and Germans, black marketing, CARE packages, etc.

In a film from early 1945, American soldiers chatted with German officers, soldiers and patients outside a hospital that the Americans apparently had just captured (none of the films had sound or titles and seemed to be unedited footage). No weapons were aimed at anybody. The camera concentrated on a German officer, who in close-ups looked as movie starrish and representative of an "Aryan" as I had ever seen. Everybody could have been discussing where to go for coffee in this surreal - for me, anyway - clip.

Another, but "acted" film, showed American border guards forcing a "German civilian" to remove his two wooden legs, which contained watches, jewels, cigarettes and dollars.

Don't tell my bro, but for one or two minutes, at most, I researched "menstruation" in the computer but this massive film archive had nothing of the sort.

But the massive MUM archive does! Next week I'll again show items from it.

You have privacy here

What happens when you visit this site?


I get no information about you from any source when you visit, and I have no idea who you are, before, during or after your visit.

This is private - period.

Is this the new millennium or even century?

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

New this week: humor

Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Words and expressions for menstruation
What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past?

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

privacy on this site

© 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