Can you still buy belted pads in the U.S.A.?
In response to Kotex's discontinuing its belted pads - and probably
Modess has stopped its line, too - a student in Arizona writes that she
can buy a generic brand of belted pads in Walgreen's
drugstores, which are found in many cities in America.
Several Americans wrote this site
looking for the pads.
Letters to your MUM
Where to put the museum?
How about a university setting? Perhaps with an anthropology department.
Perhaps with a women's studies department.
Good luck in finding a location.
[Five years ago, just after I started the museum, I contacted six universities
in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area, asking if they would be interested
in housing all or part of the museum. None were interested - actually,
only one replied - although the secretary of the women's studies department
of the one that did reply said that tourists had called the department
to ask where the Museum of Menstruation was. Someone from the Maryland
state department of tourism also said it received inquiries about the museum,
and a group from that department wanted to visit about six months ago,
but the museum had been closed almost two years by then.
Any departments out there interested? Here are some thoughts about
the future museum.]
An Englishwoman has her grandmother's washable
pad and writes about what she saw in France
Dear Mr Finley,
I'm very excited to see your great pages. [Thanks!]
Sitting in one of my drawers is a hemmed piece
of cotton cloth, diaper woven, one of my grandmother's 'towels.'
She was born 1884, so it dates back to 1900 or later. My mother, born 1918,
remembers carrying such towels to school, and the ritual of soaking them
in a special salt and water filled bucket before washing. Starting work
in London, UK, in the mid 1930's, she soon discovered that her co-workers
at the office did not bring cotton towels with them, and her supervisor
advised her to become modern and use bought ones. [See an old Italian washable pad, one from Norway
and see here for even more.]
My other gran told me of spending time, before the birth of her two
children, sewing torn up strips of newspaper into
cloth wrappers to use as pads, cheap, hygienic, and very disposable.
I also understand that sphagnum moss was used, during World War I, as an
absorbent filler for wound dressings, and that later this was used by resourceful
women to make their own pads - shades of Inuit mothers padding their infants
carry-boards with moss instead of using diapers, and of the napkins produced
a few years back that contained moss fibres as an absorbent filler.
[name withheld], aka "fivecats," but only two now left at
home with me, two taken by their "mother"/my daughter, when she
left home, and one dead of old age. [Read more about cats.]
As a teenager visiting rural France in the early 1960s, my host family's
mother had a clothes line at the end of the large garden, flanked by what
appeared to be a thick hedge, in reality a double hedge with just a narrow
opening to enter the centre aisle; she hung her towels there on the hedge
in complete privacy.
A professional translates the identification plate of this museum's
Siège means "seat."
Bté. SGDG means "patented."
Breveté Sans Garantie du Gouvernement means "Patented without
Name of the street in Paris is wrong (probably difficult to read).
Diplôme d'Honneur means that the inventor has received some distinction,
for instance, at the occasion of a World Fair or Inventors' Fairs (the
most famous French Inventors Fair is called "Concours Lépine"
- Lépine was in the last century a prefecture of Paris).
F. Reisner, Bad Homburg (Germany)
Publisher of "The German Plumbing &
Sanitaryware Suppliers Guide"
Muslim menstrual rules and etiquette
First let me congratulate you on an interesting and informative site.
[Thank you!] I stumbled across it by accident and have enjoyed surfing
through it and learning all sorts of things about menstruation that I never
As with so many cultures, there are rules and etiquettes surrounding
menstruation in various Muslim cultures. Religiously, there are certain
rites that women are required to suspend (including a type of formal prayer
known as salat, and also sexual intercourse) during the time that they
are menstruating, which they resume after fully immersing and washing themselves
in water (known as ghusl) once the bleeding has stopped. At the time of
the Prophet Muhammad, the women in the Muslim community used to approach
the wives of the Prophet, asking them to inspect their cotton wads they
used as pads, to check whether or not they had 'finished' their periods.
(Emission of non-menstrual blood and other bodily fluids do not require
suspension of religious rites, but do require a minor ablution to be performed
The Prophet himself was asked about what method a (particular) woman
should use to stem the flow of severe menstrual blood. He advised her that
she should use cotton or a cloth. Although another report indicates that
for one wife of the Prophet who had extra bleeding (non-menstrual blood)
to place a tray underneath to catch any blood while she prayed.
Another hadith (tradition) reports that: "The woman who has a
prolonged flow of blood should wash herself every day when her menstrual
period is over and take a woolen cloth greased with fat or oil (to tie
over the private parts)." (Sahih Bukhari 1:0302).
At any rate, this is just a brief summary.
[Read more about menstruation and religion.]
No such thing as premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
I have seen your site about menstruation. It contains a lot of useful
information and humorous things. But what is it with PMS and cramps?!!
Not to mention all the recipes for home-made medicine.
There is no such thing as PMS and painful menstruation.
You should not mislead the young girls in Western cultures like that.
[The writer is from Slovenia, a country lying near Austria, Italy and
Yugoslavia. An awful lot of women must be faking!]
MUM a great resource
Thanks for creating a great resource! [You're welcome!]
I am a student at Middle Tennessee State University and I am using
your site as a springboard for a presentation on menstruation for a social
science symposium. I am finding your site very informative and thought
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!
© 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