New this week: German
menstrual education vs. American - humor
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(No money goes to the museum or Harry Finley.)
Letters to your MUM
How do menstrual taboos relate to food?
Dear Mr. Finley,
I am currently doing undergraduate work at Fort Lewis College in Colorado.
I am currently working in my anthropology class and am composing an article
on menstrual taboos related to food. It is my hypothesis that food taboos
can be put into categories and are related to the transference of symbolic
properties (either from the woman to the food or vice versa). If
I can pull off this paper my prof [professor] will be fairly impressed
and I will be excited. [Some things never
change.] I am writing because I came to your Web site (I was very
impressed) [thanks!] and thought that you may be the person to mail.
So, in all your research wanderings have you come across data on menstrual
taboos and food? [Almost nothing, but that doesn't mean there aren't any].
I have some things (Blood Magic: the Anthropology of Menstruation, from
the University of California Press, and a few other anthro books) but I was hoping you could suggest some other things.
And speaking of food, visit an eating disorders
We would love to be listed on your site as a resource for eating disorder
issues, is this possible? Here is some information on our organization.
The Eating Disorder Referral and Information
Center is dedicated to the prevention and
treatment of eating disorders. We provide information and treatment resources
for all forms of eating disorders. The Eating Disorder Referral
and Information Center was created to fill an important community need,
that of providing prompt information to individuals needing assistance
in finding eating disorder treatment in their area. We provide referrals
to eating disorder practitioners, treatment facilities, and support groups.
Referrals to eating disorder specialists are offered at no charge as
a community service. In addition, we offer general information to the public
about the treatment and prevention of eating disorders and we hope to promote
social attitudes that enhance a healthy body image and self-esteem.
Those who would like eating disorder information or need a referral
can contact The Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center by telephone,
"snail" mail or by e-mail. The Eating Disorder Referral and Information
Center is able to link those needing treatment resources with eating disorder
professionals who provide individual, family, and group treatment. If an
agency or treatment center can fit a client's needs better than a private
practitioner, then the service will refer to that organization.
Christine A. Hartline, M.A.
Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center
fax: 858-481-5143 (U.S.A.)
phone: 858-792-7463 (U.S.A.)
She loves the Keeper menstrual cup [read
a short history and visit its Web
site; read women's comments about cups]
What an amazing site you have. [Thanks!] It is great to be able to
see some historical examples of how women (and men) handle this monthly
I wanted to say that I've been using my Keeper regularly for almost
5 years. It has never let me down! I bought it at a co-op in Vermont rather
skeptically (my husband was really concerned that it looked so big and
medieval - but I told him that if I could handle him . . . ;) . . . he
was OK after that) but it turned out to be a great thing. I
use it about half the time and sea sponges the other half. You can't beat it for traveling. No buying
supplies, no bulk in the luggage. With a little attention, it is easy to
keep clean and odor-free.
Other women say they have a hard time finding places to rinse it in
public, but I've found that I can manage quite well in the stall with a
couple of wet paper towels if I have to.
The other great thing is that I have no waste. Except for the occasional
pad, my contribution to the landfills has been almost non-existent for
all this time.
Though I've recommended it to friends and family members, no one else
seems to be able to handle trying it. They just don't realize how beneficial
it can be if you get over a little squeamishness. But at least talking
to them enables me able to warn them about dioxin and at least recommend
the safer cotton tampons or other natural and/or reusable
To any woman thinking about whether to try it, I give a resounding
"go for it!" At the very least,
try it and use the money back guarantee if you hate it. We could save a
lot of trees and landfill if more women knew of all their options! And
I do think that if you use it responsibly (use anti-bacterial soap and
don't leave the thing in more than 6-8 hours without cleaning it), any
concerns about toxic shock syndrome and other infections are negligible.
Thanks for your dedication to this information! I'm sure it benefits
many, many people. [I hope so!]
Reusable pads company Gaia Pads
My name is Michelle and I am the owner/maker of "Gaia Pads,"
a range of cloth menstrual pads here in Australia. Would it be possible
please to include a link on your links page to my Web site.
MUM opens eyes
I found the site will looking for women's health issue links for a
women's health class that I'm taking as an elective towards an MHSA degree.
Our topics for discussion for next week focus on reproductive rights,
controls and other issues and I found myself encouraging my classmates
to visit the site. The message board about Seasonale
was eye-opening, as were a number of the product ads and patents that I
found while browsing. I hope, following the end of the semester, to have
some time to more fully explore your site . . . again, I found it enlightening.
[Thanks. That's its whole purpose!]
Kotex and Modess stop making belted pads, Part 2 (Part
"No more belted pads from Kotex and Modess" [Read last week's news.]
When I read this I started to think about what it was like to be a
teenager (and bleed quite a lot). This was before pads with wings (which
are very good at preventing "accidents", btw!).
I developed some "tricks." One was to wear black clothes.
A red spot on a black background doesn't show, and since it doesn't show,
it doesn't exist. Jeans are good because they are relatively thick and
it takes quite a lot to get through to the outside. Double underpants can
help, tighter underpants can help (and of course, they are black). For
extreme situations (e.g., long bus rides) one can use both tampon and pad
at the same time. Black underpants in combination with pads with wings
(that came along when I was about 16) turned out to be so efficient that
my mother Got Worried and took me aside for a Serious Conversation!!!
[The writer, a Swede, writes from Sweden.]
Can someone supply her with belted pads?
I am in search of Modess super napkins to buy. I can't find them anywhere!
Please help me in my quest!
[Below is a possible solution.]
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.
[Are there any Australians willing to make
a deal with Americans who want them?]
A man writes that women who menstruate are more
I have just read through some of the letters posted on your "Would you stop menstruating?" page. I was taken
by the one left there by the Chilean archaeology student. Her comments
fit well with my views on the subject: a woman's period is a beautiful
part of her femininity.
I can well believe this girl when she says that she has suffered much
discomfort on field trips. But still she does not want to loose her femininity:
Bravo. [I just re-read her mail. She actually doesn't say that. Read it.]
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
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
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.).
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: German
menstrual education vs. American - humor
© 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