New this week: Letter
to a customer from Procter & Gamble assuring her that the Rely tampon
is safe (April 1980)
Letters to your MUM
Douche with Lysol?!
Dear Mr. Finley,
I just happened upon your Web site, and it is terrific! [Thanks!] I'm
learning things about society's approach to menstruation that I probably
never would have otherwise learned.
My question is this: On your Web site, you have two ads - one from
the 1920's and one from the 1940's
- for Lysol brand disinfectant douche. Please tell
me that this isn't the same solution I use to clean my bathroom!
[Same brand, but I'm not sure if it's exactly the same formula.] And if
is, do you know how it was used? [Probably with the familiar douche apparatus
- here's an Australian one from about 1900 -
which was sold at least since the 1900s and probably way before that in
America. The Sears, Roebuck and similar catalogs were full of different
kinds, especially in the first half of the 20th century. Douching was a
popular birth control method when other kinds
were banned - which may explain Lysol. Douching has been around undoubtedly
for hundreds, maybe thousands of years.] Was it used full strength, or
diluted? [I don't know. If the museum ever gets an old container of it,
I'll put it on the site with instructions.]
I find douching to be a particularly horrifying practice, and I'm sure
this will be giving me nightmares tonight.
As my grandmother told me when I came of age, " No douching! Leave
it alone - that thing is like a self-cleaning oven!" [Read an essay about the dangers.]
The gymnast got her first period when she was 17
I found your site through an article on Cybergrrl.com
and I am having a fun time reading through all of the articles and old
ads and things. I saw the section on Cathy Rigby
and Mary Lou Retton. It's funny, I used to LOVE
gymnastics but I never actually did much, myself. I was just a big fan
and wanted to be a coach. When my mother and I watched the competitions
on TV she used to say, "Gosh it must be hard for them when they have
their periods." I used to wonder about that, myself. Imagine being
in a leotard all day (do they let them go to the
bathroom? who knows!) and worrying about your period and all.
A few years later I got the chance to talk to a gymnast who had been
on the world championship and Olympic teams and I HAD to ask her about
it. I was SHOCKED to find that she didn't get her
period at ALL until AFTER she retired from the sport. Like your
article states, these women don't eat enough AND they do so much exercise
that they just don't get their periods. This gymnast
did not get her first period until she was 17.
I truly believe that there is just NO WAY Cathy Rigby OR Mary Lou ever
needed pads or tampons. I guess that makes them . . . liars. Well, I understand.
Gymnasts couldn't make any money and the USGF is so corrupt they still
can't make much money.
I never did become a coach. After hearing all of the bad things that
happen in that sport, I wanted nothing to do with it.
Thanks for the site, it's a great read.
Washable-pad company for sale
Gayle Adams, owner of Feminine Options, wants
to sell the company to someone willing to put time and energy into it.
The Food and Drug Administration has already approved its products.
Call Gayle at (715) 455-1652 (Wisconsin, U.S.A.).
Call for Submissions: "The 100 Best Things
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
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.]
Money and this site
I, Harry Finley, creator of the museum and site and the "I"
of the narrative here, receive no money for any products or services on
this site. Sometimes people donate items to the museum.
All expenses for the site come out of my pocket, where my salary from
my job as a graphic designer is deposited.
You have privacy
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:
A comprehensive site from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich will put right any doubts:
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?
Eventually I would also like to entice people experienced in the law,
finances and fund raising to the board.
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!
New this week:
Letter to a customer from Procter & Gamble assuring her that the
Rely tampon is safe (April 1980)
© 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