Megan Hicks smiles next to a mannequin in this museum;
it's wearing an American "Sanitary Panty-kini," panties
made with loops in the crotch to hold the large - and
not adhesive - menstrual pads of the 1960s and early
1970s. Modess, a part of Personal Products Company,
itself a part of Johnson & Johnson, sold them. A
Midwesterner gave the underpants to this museum.
(Inspect another Modess pad panty
with similar loops, shown with a pad in place.)
See more of the former museum.
Curator of medicine for Australia's largest museum visits MUM
Curator Megan Hicks, caught peeking around a mannequin in the (closed) physical Museum of Menstruation last Saturday, toured MUM on her American and European tour of medical exhibits, which included the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Smithsonian Institution (the largest museum in the world) and the National Museum of Health and Medicine here in Washington, D.C. From MUM she flew to New York to witness some surgery before zipping over to London, Berlin and Amsterdam, among other cities.
You lucky woman!
We discussed a MUM contribution to an exhibit about menstruation she's hoping to have for the Powerhouse, her museum in Sydney, and the happy possibility of the contents of this museum moving to hers in case a public home for the museum can't be found in the U.S.A.
Another Australian, Dr. Philip Thomson, Honorary Curator in Medical History at the Tasmanian Museum, visited this museum five years ago as a part of his American and European medical-museum tour as a Winston Churchill Fellow.
He told me he had almost driven off the road in shock one morning on the way to work listening to the radio tour of the Museum of Menstruation on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. (Read some words from the show's producer.)
The power of dietary supplements!
Hi, Mr. Finley,
My sister found this dietary supplement called Zyrone. It was made by the Chattanooga Medicine Co., out of Chattanooga, Tennessee (U.S.A.). [That company also made the potent patent medicine Cardui.] I have the original box, paper instructions and a full bottle that has not been opened. I would like information on this product if I could.
The main reason she bought is that my father would leave New Orleans on a river boat and travel through Tennessee on his way to St. Paul, Minnesota. On the day I was born he named me Zyrone. He always said he saw that name in Tennessee. This is why I would like to know more about this product. If you can help me I give you my thanks.
Zyrone [last name withheld]
[You are the first to mention Zyrone to me! That's a great story!]
She uses the Instead menstrual cup [read a preliminary history of menstrual cups]
I've used Instead for quite some time now and love them. They are quite comfortable since I don't feel it at all and the insertion of it is no problem. I would surely hate to see them go away. The plastic ring causes no irritation that I have noticed. I had far more irritation dragging a tampon in and out that ever experienced with the much less frequent insertion or removal of the Instead. [The Instead Web site is http://www.softcup.com]
I appreciate each "thanks"
I'm sure you receive e-mails just like this one by the hundred, maybe thousand, maybe million, but I just wanted to say thank you for doing what you are doing, with the museum and the site, and as an example to men and women everywhere that hold tightly to their anachronistic beliefs regarding the subject. [Many thanks! I'm still learning a lot about the subject and people's - and my - attitudes.]
I did some research on the history and politics of menstruation in college, and it was through my own edification that I realized the absurdity of our social institutions regarding menstruation, and can finally not hate myself and my body for it. Since then, I try to do my own small part, by talking about it, deconstructing it, discussing its vast and fascinating history, and openly questioning the beliefs of those that make known their distaste. For the most part, my female friends are somewhat willing to suspend their disbelief, but I encounter much more resistance among my male friends. Seeing your ability to rise above the common paradigm, your passion, activism, dedication and diligence, gives me much hope for change, and hope that it is possible for the men in my life, (even the ones who claim they love me, despite their disdain for a natural aspect of my body) may come around. I wish you great luck, with the museum and in life. Thank you thank you thank you
[As a man, I had typical male attitudes about menstruation, so I can sympathize with men. The cure is education and talk - not that most guys are really interested in it until they see some of the history involved. That was true of me. But keep your expectations reasonable!
[Maybe in the future museum we can have a Guys' Night, with these features:
· male guides (OK, "docents"), or beautiful female guides
· a remote control for each visitor that controls, um - nothing
· beer, potato chips, tacos on carts pushed by non-menstruating women in their twenties
· television in each room showing basketball, football, cartoons or "Seinfeld" re-runs ("Seinfeld" was a popular American show)
· couches to take naps on]
This letter is sent to you with hopes that you would help us, help women throughout this world "walk in peace" without the fear of being raped or attacked again in the future. I find women everywhere are in full support of our mission:"to train those who wish to learn" a practical self-defense they can use. Something we feel is lacking, not because of necessary knowledge, but because of "practical" training tools and availability.
(Most of these statistics are from an April 23, 1992 report from the National Victim Center in the U.S.A.)
In the United States, 1.3 women are raped every minute. That results in 78 rapes each hour, 1872 rapes each day, 56160 rapes each month and 683,280 rapes each year.
The United States has the world's highest rape rate of the countries that publish such statistics: 4 times higher than Germany, 13 times higher than England, and 20 times higher than Japan.
1 out of every 3 American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. 61 percent of all rape cases are victims less than 18 years old. 22 percent are between the ages of 18 and 24.
We ask you for your support by
1) Distributing this e-mail through your organization's e-mail list.
2) Add a link to your site with our address.
When we began this project it was with many, many helping hands and when we complete it, it shall be in the same manner. For it is everyone's God-given right to "walk in peace" without fear of (as it has been described to me) "that everyday knowledge that you have been raped, and it could happen again."
Thank you for your help and support. If you wish to contact me directly you may e-mail me at email@example.com and send me your contact name and a phone number and I will call you, since it is not efficient for me answer e-mails.
P.S. On-line free video demonstrations are available on our Web site for your convenience through Hot Links.
No more belted pads from Kotex and Modess
To Whom It May Concern:
I like your site! [Thanks!]
I don't know if you're aware, but this summer Kotex and Modess stopped manufacturing tabbed napkins and belts. [See a tabbed - belted - Kotex pad on a mannequin.]
[Here's what Kotex sent the e-mail writer:
Thank you for contacting us about KOTEX (R) feminine products. Due to a marked decline in interest, we are no longer manufacturing the product(s) you ordered. We regret that some of our loyal customers will be disappointed and apologize for any inconvenience. Unfortunately, we will not be able to fulfill future orders. We hope that we can continue to serve you with our other KOTEX products and thank you again for your interest."]
There are a number of woman, primarily those who flow heavily, that prefer this form of feminine protection to adhesive pads. Do you have any connections to those at either of these companies that you could call to determine why the decision was made and possibly reconsider? [Wish I did, but no. I e-mailed Kotex, and I got the same reply.]
Women who flow heavily during their period prefer the tabbed napkins because of the snug fit. That fit prevents accidents. A woman who uses an adhesive pad could fill the pad. As the pad increases in weight, it pull away from the body and that's when accidents occur. The fix is to change the pad more frequently. Easier said than done. If you're like me and can fill a pad in two hours, you change your pad before you leave home and are stuck on the subway for close to two hours, it's likely you'll have an accident and be embarrassed.
I can't imagine it would be too costly for those companies to provide the tabbed napkins in small supply, along with belts, via the Internet or mail-in orders. The new millennium is about choice. It may be an old-fashioned method of feminine protection, but it still works and there are those of us who would like to stick with what works. After all, women can still purchase long-line panty girdles, garters and stockings.
[This just in from Australia, late evening 22 October, Washington time):
For the woman who cannot buy belted napkins, they still sell belted napkins in Australia at supermarkets even. All she needs to do is to do is to get someone to purchase supplies here and send them to her.
[I sent the e-mail to the writer who wanted belted pads. Are there any Australians willing to make a deal with Americans who want them?]
Send this film-maker menstrual customs from around the world
My name is Rebecca Guberman. I am an artist/film-maker and I live in Portland, Oregon (U.S.A.).
I am in the process of writing a grant for a film I want to make. The topic is menstruation. I called the local library and they led me to your web sight. It is truly amazing, thank you. It is so interesting and helpful.
The focus of my documentary is the ritual of menstruation. I will be filming women from many cultures to identify their specific "rituals" regarding this amazing experience. I would like to look at how the culture itself views this process and discuss the "taboos" that exist still today (as well as why they might exist). I am very interested in finding out specific information about different cultures and what the women in those cultures do while they are on their "moon," as well as their perspective and feelings, etc. I wonder if you might be interested in helping me come across some information about this.
Thank you so much for your Web site, it is very helpful.
This museum in Canada?
I wanted to congratulate you for a wonderful idea and the fantastic Web site you have created. It is very rich in terms of history, idea, documents, etc. [Many thanks!]
For many, many years women were ashamed of their own nature and it is so unfortunate that they still are. Seeing someone like you as compassionate and understanding as you are is such a wonder.
I think the museum idea needs looking for some financing or perhaps gathering some private investors to purchase a nice property in a tourist area. Have you ever thought about other countries? Such as North America, Toronto, Ontario? Considering the possibilities of the 2008 Olympics with so many tourist and a beautiful waterfront with lots of cheap properties available at the moment. It might be a good investment for American/Canadian investors!
[Yes, I would consider other countries, certainly Canada. And see my comments at the top of the page about Australia. Any investors interested?]
Wishing you the best of the best.
Pap art exhibit starts 21 September in Delray Beach, Florida
I am writing to request your participation and assistance in an exciting and important project regarding women's health issues.
The world-renowned scientist and lover of the arts Dr. George Papanicolaou, better known as Dr. Pap, inventor of the Pap smear test, will be the subject of a special exhibition at the Cornell Museum of Art in Delray Beach, Florida, beginning September 21, 2000. The gala opening and artist's reception will be held on Thursday evening September 28, 2000. The foremost patient advocate and director of the Center For Cervical Health in the United States, Carol Ann Armenti, will be the keynote speaker.
The exhibition will run through November 12, 2000, and will feature recent works by international artist Olga Stamatiou, Dr. Papanicolaou's niece. Stamatiou's works will be available for acquisition and the profits will go toward:
1. The creation of "PAP MOBILES," vehicles that would be used to provide testing for under-served women in areas, with the highest incidence of cervical cancer.
2. The creation of a traveling multimedia art exhibition.
3. The production of a documentary film based on the life, work and scientific legacy of Dr. Papanicolaou and his wife Mary.
4. The Center for Cervical Health.
5. The Papanicolaou Woman's Corp.
Our organization "PAP" - Prevention and Protection - will have as its goal to raise awareness about women's health issues, including the importance of having regular Pap smears and the provision of information on new and existing methods for detecting cervical cancer.
The traveling exhibition, to be viewed in public spaces and museums, will be a multimedia environment drawing on and inspired by Dr. Pap's love of the arts and sciences. This environment will include permanent built-in units that will provide creative spaces for national and local women's health organizations to inform women on what is available involving health care.
The September 28th opening reception will also include international guest artists and feature a wide range of styles and media. A percentage of their work will benefit the above-mentioned projects.
Olympus Corporation of America will provide working microscopes and monitors along with technicians on opening night to demonstrate how Pap smears are 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.).
[See and read about washable pads.]
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.]
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:
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.