Benné Rockett invited me to help judge an exhibit of art dealing with menstruation in Austin, Texas. Benné runs Opening Closed Doors, a great organization exploring art and the lives of women and girls. She also asked me to send some things from the museum for the show, allowing Texans to see what evil Easterners have up their sleeves now that their former governor is losing his innocence in Washington, where this museum used to be (in a suburb) and where I live (in the same suburb - in the same house, as a matter of fact).
Closer to home, Megan Jenkins invited me to show and tell about this museum on V-Day: Vagina Day! at the University of Delaware. I'll have a table (with two mannequins wearing menstrual gear, if I can get them on the train) along with other like-minded folks (I really can't explain what I mean by "like-minded"), such as Planned Parenthood and National Organization for Women (NOW), for a few hours on Tuesday afternoon, the 13th. Not by coincidence, I'm sure, that's right before another V-Day: Valentine's Day! Are dots supposed to be connected here, or what?
It's a serious event - I'm a serious fellow much of the time - and the celebrations are designed to raise awareness of women's health and sexuality and to combat violence against women. The prize-winning Vagina Monologues happen on 14 February and you may help sponsor the performance and win a bronze or silver or gold or PINK v- , well, read the press release.
Let me say something. In MY day, decades ago, no one would even think of such a thing as Vagina Day! Certainly not in my circle, middle-to-upper-middle class, cultured (a term used today only in personal ads for senior citizens, I read recently) white folks (not that blacks or Asians or Native Americans or Hispanics were publicly celebrating Vagina Day then, to my knowledge, although in a certain area of Japan the citizens on a certain day every year march in a parade of huge - they're artificial - penises, I think a fertility rite dating back centuries).
Speaking of parading penises: what would the reaction be to Penis Day once a year on college campuses? I do not think campus administrations would allow it. My interpretation of their two reactions would be, Oh, those wacky women! Let 'em do outrageous stuff to let off steam about having, supposedly, been mistreated since who knows when.
But I think the administration and many of the same women who support Vagina Day would oppose Penis Day, the sense being that men have always celebrated it anyway, big time! Who needs a formal one? And most have celebrated Vagina Day from the second they hit puberty, each in his own way! A public declaration, except in Japan, seems excessive, and maybe dangerous.
Send links to academic papers about menstruation
It just occurred to me that I imagine a large number of those who visit your site or the museum itself do so in pursuit of information for academic papers. (I found the site after reading about it in Karen Houppert's book "The Curse." I am doing my M.A. thesis on the rhetoric of sanitary protection.) It might, therefore, be very useful to include a hyperlink to a list of academic papers, dissertations, and what not on the subject. This could save academics a lot of time. Just a suggestion.
Thanks for your efforts,
The Janssen Bleeding Score for menstruation
Industrious, invaluable and charming Anna Simpson, an molecular biologist in England, again finds an answer to our questions, this one from a site visitor last week:
The original reference for the Janssen Bleeding Score is:
Obstet Gynecol 1995 Jun;85(6):977-82
Janssen CA, Scholten PC, Heintz AP
"A simple visual assessment technique to discriminate between menorrhagia and normal menstrual blood loss." [Menorrhagia is too much blood loss during a menstrual period. What is "too much" is disputed.]
Part of the abstract reads as follows:
OBJECTIVE: To validate a simple, highly predictive test to discriminate between menorrhagia and normal menstrual blood loss.
METHODS: The sanitary wear of 489 menstrual bleeding episodes was collected by 288 women for objective measurement of menstrual blood loss (alkaline, hematin method); the women made a subjective assessment of the volume and, based on a pictorial chart, recorded the amount of and the degree to which their sanitary wear was soiled.
CONCLUSION: We validated and refined a new, simple, visual assessment technique and demonstrated that it is superior to a woman's subjective assessment of menstrual blood loss and the occurrence of anemia for predicting menorrhagia, even if it is performed only once.
Here's the link to the paper (you must conduct the search with the above information):
There is a surprising amount of debate over the best ways to objectively assess blood loss, which is important for establishing a diagnosis of menorrhagia. Actually, there is also a debate about what exactly constitutes normal and heavy bleeding in the first place - the standard definition is more than 80 milliliters of blood during a period, but "normal" isn't really very well established.
Help your daughter celebrate her first period with Rites of Passage and other items
Linda LaFlamme sent MUM one of the many items (at left) in her Moontime Series (see below), publications that help put a positive light on what is often a difficult time for girls, as many of you know.
Girls get advice, poetry, a calendar, interpretations and much encouragement to live positively.
Visit her Synchronicity Press at
A TV production company asks, "Did you celebrate your period?"
If you had a party or created a ritual to celebrate your first period, we would be interested in hearing your story and seeing your videos, pictures.
This would be for possible inclusion in a television documentary called
Reinventing Rituals, Coming of Age in a Modern World for Vision Television, in Canada.
Series consultant is Ron Grimes, internationally recognized expert on ritual and the author of numerous books on ritual including his most recent, Deeply Into the Bone, Reinvented Rite of Passage.
These three one hour specials, Coming of Age in the Modern World; Marriage Separation and Divorce; and Birth and Death are co-production between Northern Lights Television in Toronto and Ocean Entertainment in Halifax for Vision Television Network. They will air on Vision TV, a Canadian specialty channel whose mandate is to cover multi-faith, multicultural stories about the human spirit.
Reinventing Rituals will explore exotic cultures and ceremonies that may, on the surface, bear little resemblance to the hallmarks of our own lives. We will witness dramatic initiation ceremonies from Africa, complex funerals from New Guinea, and elaborate wedding and courtship rituals from South America. Viewers will become acquainted with traditional rites from many different cultures, contemporary and historic.
However, at the core of this series are the North Americans who are exploring new ways to mark transitions. We'll meet parents who are preparing to spend their children out in the mountains to spend grueling days and nights in initiation ceremonies; individuals who are approaching the end of life determined to design all aspects of their own funerals; and expectant couples who are redefining appropriate behaviour in the birthing room. This series is about these men and women and their quest to reinvent traditional rites of passage; but it's also about the connections that can be drawn between these modern pioneers and their counterparts in other times and places.
Program #1 The Bridge: Coming of Age in the Modern Reinventing Rites of Passage.
Reinventing Rituals is a compelling series of television documentaries that explore the dramatic resurgence in ritual and how it is being interpreted or recreated in order to give meaning to our lives.
From first menstruation ceremonies to vision quests, traditional societies have used ritual to help young people mark and make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. All but abandoned by Western culture, initiation rituals are suddenly becoming more popular.
The increasing profile of street gangs, drug wars, and teenage promiscuity in our communities have contributed to rising the popularity of the coming of age rituals. Many parents fear that if they do not provide an initiation scenario their children will initiate themselves using sex, drugs or dangerous behaviour. By enrolling their children in complex and often dramatic initiation rites, families can help young people make the difficult transition to adulthood. In this program we meet youth at the National Rites of Passage Institute in Cleveland Ohio who have spent the past year in a coming of age program. And then we'll join up with teenagers who've enrolled in a 10 day-long program outside Calgary, Alberta as they prepare to spend three World
If you are interested and/or need more information, contact
Deannie Sullivan Fraser
SNAIL MAIL: Ocean ENTERTAINMENT, SUITE 404, 1657 BARRINGTON STREET, HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA B3J 2A1
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.]
Announcing the 2nd annual University of Delaware production of
Eve Ensler's Obie award-winning play,
* THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES *
Wednesday, February 14th (Valentine's Day)
8:00 pm Mitchell Hall
All tickets $5.00 at the door as part of a 3-day VAGINA EXTRAVAGANZA on the U of D campus!
Don't miss the VaginaPALOOZA women's health/sexuality fair on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13th from 1:00-4:00pm in the Rodney Room of Perkins Student Center. The fair will feature representatives from local organizations Planned Parenthood, Wellspring, the Holistic Birth Center, the Nat'l Organization of Women, LGBSU, SAGE, campus ministries, the Newark Co-op, and even HARRY FINLEY, curator of the Museum of Menstruation in Washington, DC!!! [I love those exclamations marks!] Join the fun with body-positive videos, a book nook, happy-vagina arts and crafts, and food and refreshments.
Follow up the performance the next day, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15th, with a coffeehouse celebration at NIRVANA CAFE on Main Street, from 8-10pm. The coffeehouse will feature live local performers, with everything from music to poetry to personal body monologues written by YOU! Spend an evening in vagina-friendly fellowship with a chance to discuss VDAY, the VMs, and what your body means to you....there will be artsy things to do, free food and refreshments, and positive vibes all around. Men and women, parents and children, profs and students are all encouraged to attend.
This production is one of over 230 national collegiate productions being presented as part of the VDay 2001 College Initiative, in an effort to combat violence against women and raise awareness about women's sexuality.
All proceeds from the local production will be donated to the local domestic violence programs run by CHILD, INC (www.childinc.com). Round-the-clock info is available at the national VDay site (www.vday.org [I was having trouble connecting to it]) and the local VM site at http://copland.udel.edu/stu-org/htac/vm2001.html
Sponsored by SAGE, HTAC, LGBSU, and other various on- and off-campus organizations.
If you are interested in reserving tickets for the show, the only reserved seats will be sold as part of "sponsorship" tickets. All sponsorship levels include recognition at the performance and:
$15 Bronze V(agina): includes 1 tix, $5 cost & $10 deductible
$30 Silver V: includes 2 tix, $10 cost & $20 deductible
$60 Gold V: includes 4 tix, $20 cost & $40 deductible
$120 Pink V: includes 4 tix & preferred seating, $20 cost & $100
deductible. The only way to buy tickets ahead of time is through sponsorship. All remaining tickets will be on sale at the door starting at 7pm. Contact Laini Welde (837-1216 or email@example.com) in Newark or Jenn Guise in Wilmington (762-8301 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to purchase sponsorship tickets.
For more information, call 302-837-8590 or email email@example.com
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.