New this week: The Art of
Menstruation: Paula Speakman - Confidets:
the first contoured pads? The first with disposal bags? - humor
Letters to your MUM
"YEEE-HAW!" she writes in the subject
I'm a college student in New York and I'm just writing to tell you
that your Web site rocks my world!!!!!!!! It is so freak'n cool!! I am
doing research for a workshop I'm doing about menstrual politics/ environmental
alternatives. etc., and I came across your site. Whoopie! It's so cool!
Do you really have no place for your museum? Tragedy! I want to see all
the good loot you've got! I have no suggestions for locations but I hope
you find some place soon. Thanks for having such a cool site!!!
About the Moral Court
television show, 17 November 20000
[Geneva Kachman - she started Menstrual Monday; read her essays
and poetry - and I appeared on the American television
show Moral Court (Warner Brothers Network) to debate this museum. We had
hardly started when Geneva objected to some of the judge's comments and
walked out of the studio. WB broadcast it anyway. Read some of the e-mail
Dear Mr. Finley,
I saw you today on Moral Court and just wanted to say congratulations
on the victory.
My girlfriend and I found MUM Web site to be very interesting and entertaining
and not at all exploitive or harmful to anyone.
Keep up the good work.
I decided to visit your virtual museum after seeing you on Moral Court
today, and just wanted to let you know my opinion on your museum. All I
can say is "Bravo!". . . As a woman, I applaud your efforts in
trying to keep even a little of this important history alive for future
generations of women. After all, we all need to know from where we've come,
and just how far we've come. Thank you once again.
I will be bookmarking your sight, as I have a daughter who will soon
be menstruating, and I will want to be sharing this with her. After all,
she will never have to put up with the things like sanitary
napkin belts like I had to, but it is just as much a part of her heritage
as a woman.
I am a 31-year-old athletic mother of two human and about 10 non-human
loves. I have fish, dogs, cats, hermit crabs, tarantulas, and I love the
active life. I saw Moral Court today. I'm sure that you have a bunch of
inputs, but I would like to say that the one thing that I, an athlete,
have hated about women's lib and Gloria Steinem [read one
of her essays] is that once women discriminate because of sex, then
they are as guilty. I not only have enjoyed being a mom twice, but also
have enjoyed having a 141 IQ, and I enjoy just seeing people for what they
I do not understand why you do what you do. However, I have learned
a lot from your site, and the funny thing is, my mom used to tell me about
the first diaper thingies she had to endure. I saw them on your Web site.
If you are happy, then cool. . . . You're not hurting anyone, and it's
actually quite informative.
"You go girl," heheheheeh.,
Most genuinely sincere,
I just saw you on Moral Court and checked out your site.
I think every facet of human experience can be as valid and relevant
to one human being as it is to another, regardless of gender, culture,
geography, race, etc.
That is to say, if one invests and bestows enough attention and love.
Thank you for giving the subject such loving attention. :)
I saw the program - you were great, Harry. . . . . Keep up your good
You need any more poems? Just let me know; I'm on my seventh volume.
Here is one for you:
BLOOD AND GUTS
I can't watch television,
As I used to like to do before,
Because all I see is blood and guts,
And if I change the station,
All I seem to see is more.
Children missing dead or dying,
Mothers terrified and crying,
Storms and fires and floods,
Saturday night specials,
And rampant stories of crips and bloods.
What is this world coming to?
The more prosperous that we become,
The more we fight and kill,
And it seems that those around us,
Just cannot get their fill.
And with all this newfound wealth,
We still can,t find the roads downhill,
Nor can we seem to pass some,
Simple humanitarian bill.
We do nothing more than as a nation bungle,
Within what seems to be an open jungle,
No trees to stop the flying bullets,
And now we cannot halt them,
And when we have a chance,
I've even tried the radio,
To see if things might change,
But the programs that I wish to hear,
Must be out of range - how strange.
I thought I might just listen,
Without seeing as I did before,
But I was deadly wrong,
For all I heard were shots,
Heading toward the Bushes,
And more of blood and guts,
Did ancient Egyptians practice genital mutilation, and did this prevent
the use of tampons?
[The English writer originally wrote to ask the identity of the hieroglyphics
describing tampons for contraception among ancient Egyptians. It was Papyrus Ebers, Pl. 93, 6-8.]
Thank you, yes. Ebers is a medical papyrus; a copy isn't available
in the UK [United Kingdom] but I see I shall have to try and get one via
[She then discusses genital mutilation among ancient Egyptian women
and whether it could have prevented tampon use.]
Joyce Tyldesley mentions it in her book "Daughters of Isis."
It was the Greek writer Strabo who said Egyptian boys were circumcised
and that girls were "excised." But it is impossible to know whether
he is quoting rumour or fact. No female mummy has
been found with signs of any form of circumcision, but they are all upper
class; it is possible it was a peasant habit.
However, there are two points to consider.
Firstly, the very long length of Egyptian civilisation
- we are talking nearly 2,500 years before they were taken over by the
Assyrians, followed by the Greeks and then the Romans. Yet all their conquerors
seem to have "gone native" in many ways. As I understand it,
female circumcision is African in origin and it is possible it spread up
into Upper Egypt (the bottom part) from Nubia at some point. There were
some Nubian pharaohs quite late on. But as there is no written reference
to it so far identified and no wall painting (there are plenty showing
"male" circumcision) I would suggest that if it existed at all,
it is a late manifestation.
Secondly, the Egyptians had a robust attitude
to sex. Masturbation, for example, was acceptable. There is one
hieroglyph which is either a man "coming" [ejaculating] or urinating,
but given one creation myth concerns a god masturbating to bring forth
life, I suspect the former! Also, women were seen as individual and had
full civil rights (such as they were) to the same degree as men, even when
married. Those two things would seem to mitigate against an act which might
curtail women's sexual fulfillment. Their love poetry is quite similar
to the Song of Solomon in tone. However, I am not an Egyptologist, merely
a student. So don't take my word for it!
A Slovenian correspondent recalls an incident (read her earlier
"Ever been caught heading for the toilet with a tampon tucked
in your sleeve? How embarrassing! . . . " [She refers to an ad on
What is there to be embarrassed about?!
Something similar happened once to me when a male class- mate at high
school wanted to know what was in the box I was holding at the time. I
showed it to him, but he had no clue what was in there. He opened the box,
held one tampon up and noticed the instructions on how to insert the tampon.
He read it and ran screaming. I laughed for a week!
The adds are advertising the "tampons and pads in new outrageous
colors." The purpose is for people not to recognize them as tampons
and pads. [You're right; see an example.]
Did companies give up trying to make pad and tampon disposal better?
I have spent a considerable amount of time on your history-of-menstruation
Web site. I am doing some research on female sanitary products and have
a number of questions that I am having trouble finding answers to. I was
hoping you might be able to help me.
About 20 years ago a number of companies (mostly in the U.S.A.) began
developing products to assist women in the disposal of soiled sanitary
products. They looked at a variety of bags and sheets to place or wrap
soiled products in before placing them in the bin. It appears that this
work stopped, and as far as I can ascertain, there is nothing on the market
to help women with this issue. Those of us who choose not to flush soiled
products are left to wrap them in toilet paper and dispose of them in a
bin (I am interested in domestic disposal and therefore
am not referring to public sanitary bins [see some bags
provided in public toilets; see bags included in pad boxes]).
I find this form of disposal both unhygienic and offensive.
Do you know:
1. Why this research appeared to have come to an end in the mid 1980s?
Was it because the sales of pads decreased with an increase in the use
tampons, and was it because tampons are considered to be flushable?
2. Was it because the environmental issue was not considered to the
same degree as it is today?
3. To what degree are manufacturers of these products developing products
that truly are flushable? I know the brand Trutona considers its products
to be truly flushable. Are these unique in their ability to break down
in water and are you aware of any research or development that is happening
in companies such as Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, Johnson &
Johnson and Sancella to develop products that have similar capabilities?
[I can't answer any of these questions! If anyone can, please e-mail her.]
I don't believe the current products (Carefree, Libra, etc.) are truly
flushable and my research indicates that water and plumbing authorities
agree with me, they recommend that women shouldn't flush soiled products
because they do block toilets and cause problems in sewerage works. I am interested in whether or not the major manufacturers
are developing disposal bags or similar products to help women with this
issue. If you have any information that may help me, I would be
very grateful if you could pass it on.
Thanks very much.
"All of us modern ladies should consider ourselves lucky."
Dear Mr. Finley,
I looked at your museum and I can say that as a woman I was fascinated
to find out so much about what women in the past had to do as a result
of their cycles - wow.
I can only thank my lucky stars that now with everything high tech
I can have a period without having to revolve my life around containing
a little blood flow. I will admit that the subject is something a bit uncomfortable
for most people to discuss; it was none the less interesting and informative.
Next period I have I will not complain but be excited that I don't have
to carry a huge supply of cloth and aprons around as well as a small furnace
to burn the waste with. All of us modern ladies should consider ourselves
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: The Art of
Menstruation: Paula Speakman - Confidets:
the first contoured pads? The first with disposal bags? - 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