New this month (in addition to the letters, etc., below):
The Art of Menstruation: Fanni Fazekas and Ana Elena Pena - Poems by April A. Severin - "Gynecologist vs. obstetrician: what lies behind the fusion?" by Dr. Nelson Soucasaux, Brazilian gynecologist - Humor

Would you stop menstruating if you could? (New contributions)
Words and expressions about menstruation: New contributions: new category: Japan: gekkei, keisui; U.S.A.: [The] bloody mess, Flying Baker (more information), I can't churn the butter today, I'm on auto-drip, Little Suzy rotton crotch, My pussy cat is puking up blood, Offering the sacrifice, Riding the crimson towel, Rocket, Satan's little cotton fingers, [The] storm is coming (has arrived), Surfboard, That time, White undies are out this time of month, You'll be swimming up red river

What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past?


first page | LIST OF ALL TOPICS | MUM address | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books (and reviews) | cats | company booklets directory | contraception and religion | costumes | cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | famous people | FAQ | humor | huts | links | media coverage of MUM | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | religion | menstrual products safety | science | shame | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour (video) | underpants directory | videos, films directory | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads

Did menstruation force women to exchange sex for meat?

An interesting book just out suggests just that: Sex, Time and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution, by Leonard Shlain (Viking). As Meredith F. Small writes in a review in the New York Times (27 August 2002),

Women need high stores of iron, Dr. Shlain says, because they menstruate every month, become pregnant and nurse. In our evolutionary past the best way to restore depleted iron was to eat meat. But women were probably not hunters, and so they must have manipulated men with sexual favors to bringing home a blood-soaked dinner. This manipulative move, Dr. Shlain suggests, then set into motion just about every aspect of human behavior.

Something to think about, although the reviewer, a woman, was not enthusiatic about the book. Read it!

Early sexual harassment: they teased women about menstruation and read dirty books in American colonial times

Another recent book, Jonathan Edwards: A Life, by George M. Marsden (Yale), recounts a distressing and important incident in the mid-1700s in the life of the great American theologian - and in women's lives:

[Edwards] learned that a number of young men of his congregation, all aged twenty-one to twenty-nine, had been passing around books on popular medicine and midwifery, quoting from them to each other in a lewd joking manner and using the information in them to taunt young women about their menstruation. . . . All but three were church members. . . .

Edwards abhorred sexual indulgence as especially distracting from the vastly higher beauty of spiritual things . . . .

Even by today's standards the behavior might have been a public concern. Men were taunting women about sexual matters. Joanna Clark testified, for instance, that about a year before, Oliver Warner had jeered at her and others, "When does the moon change girls? Come, I'll look in your [face] and see whether there be a blue circle 'round your eyes." [my emphasis] This was the sort of lore that one could get from any one of a number of well-known handbooks written by pseudo-Aristotles. . . . Another book was a more straightforward midwife's manual, The Midwife Rightly Instructed, which Elizabeth Pomeroy, from a prominent Northampton family, testified she found hidden - not by her mother - in the chimney of her house. Mary Downing testified that two years earlier Oliver Warner and others had been reading from a book: "They all did so. What they laughed and made sport about was about girls, things concerning girls that is unclean to speak of. They seemed to boast as if they knew about girls, knew what belonged to girls as well as girls themselves. . . ."

Other [Bible] verses, [Edwards] pointed out explicitly condemned sexual sins, such as looking on a woman's nakedness, even in imagination. . . .

The most striking feature of the "young folks' Bible" fiasco was that the offenders were not fourteen-year-old boys, but young men in their twenties acting like fourteen-year-old boys. Their degree of titillation over basic information about female physiology suggest a remarkable degree of sexual immaturity. That such subjects could be the source of perennial mirth suggests, in turn, a notable suppression of above-ground sources for that information [my emphasis]. [Excerpts from pp. 293-300]

Jobs, conferences, prizes, announcements, etc., in the lower half of this page

Letters to your MUM

Association of male housekeepers in Italy prints article about MUM

Dear Mr Finley,

I'm writing from Milan, Italy, to inform you that there's an association called "Movimento Uomini Casalinghi" (it is an Italian association of male housekeepers) and we print (few copies, usually!) a magazine called "Donne e Ragazzi Casalinghi" (Women & Housekeeper Guys) that is about women, pre-patriarchal societies, sexuality, philosophy, feminism, etc. We have just printed an issue about menstruation, its symbolism, etc., etc. We have read about your museum in "Alias" (a supplement to the paper "Il Manifesto," 28 June; read a letter from the journalist who wrote the Alias article), and we have been much interested. I write you just to let you know that we exist. If you are interested, we can send you the copy of the magazine about menstruation (in which we have added the article about Mum, of course!).

Many Greetings!!


Invitation to exhibit in Italy

Don't accept, because it's over. No, wait! See part of it here! Fanni Fazekas, who studies at the University of Bolzano, in Meran, Italy (halfway between Venice and Munich - sounds great, doesn't it?) sent it, announcing her exhibit.

By the way, the Web site of the Women's Museum in the invitation, Museo Della Donna, is here.

Mooncup menstrual cup competition

[Read more about menstrual cups on this MUM site and in a New York Times article]


More than 100 billion tampons have been sold since 1936, and if you're not concerned about the environment, you might be worried about your budget.

British women spend more than £215 million pounds a year on tampons, sanitary towels and pantyliners. The average UK woman spends £455 on tampons in 10 years! Fed up with buying tampons or towels? The Mooncup is a reusable alternative and it isn't associated with toxic shock syndrome. has teamed up with, which kindly donated two Mooncups for our members to win.

The two lucky winners will be the ones who come up with one of the best "101 Uses For A Mooncup." Eggcups? Waterproof ear muffs?

Enter the competition here:

Menstruation, religion and taxes in Canada

What an interesting Web site. My daughter had it bookmarked. :)

Re: the minister who thought it was unclean [in Would you stop menstruating if you could?], in the Old Testament it does say that the woman is considered unclean while she's menstruating in regards to going to the Temple [read the verses here], so I can see why he might have that opinion. Glad to see he's changed his mind, because we (Christians) are no longer bound by the laws of Moses, but are under the New Testament of Jesus Christ.

It was just great after my daughter was born, and I was nursing, to have no period for months! What a relief! And I don't even suffer that badly - not like some do (my own daughter included). However, right now I'm at the other end of the spectrum - menopause! So I'm nearly done, thank God. :)

As far as buying "feminine products" (ha, ha, love that term), up in Canada we not only have to pay Federal Tax (7%) on them, but also in Ontario, Provincial Tax (8%)! I think those things should be TAX FREE.

Your mum must have been a wonderful woman. May she rest in peace. [Thanks; yes, don't get me started. Read a bit about her here.]

God bless,


The Curse was the pain of menstruation, not menstruation


Please don't use my name, but I just wanted to make a quick comment on "the curse" mentioned in Scripture, specifically on this page:

Quoting this:

"Nowhere in the passages concerning menstruation in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the New Testament, or the Koran does it state that Eve was being punished by God with menstruation. This viewpoint was a much later development by Christian theologians and rabbinic scholars (I am not certain about Islam). The Christian Church Fathers maintained this view without doubt, hence the "curse of Eve" (Genesis 3: 13) becomes "the curse" (i.e. menstruation) for all women (God's curse was childbearing, not menstruation)."

Actually, God's curse was the PAIN (travail) of childbirth, not childbearing or menses. It was designed to be a reminder of the consequences of disobedience, just as Adam's "curse" or reminder was in the form of having to "till the soil" (fighting against thorns, etc., which compared to the previous availability of food when he wanted it was a curse indeed).

Many thanks,


Doctor starts contraception museum in Vienna, needs artifacts

Dear Harry Finley,

I would like to congratulate you on your museum. I came across your Web site while putting together a museum of contraception and abortion in Vienna, Austria [its Web site is at, in German].

It is a pity you could not find a place for your museum [not yet, anyway], as it is important for people to actually see the objects. And being a doctor myself, I would certainly not give your museum to a medical institution as you explain on the Web site [here]. Curiously, I will get some objects for the contraceptive museum from a medical museum in Vienna, because nobody is visiting these items there. I fully agree with you that these items should be easily accessible to the public. Therefore I have rented four rooms very centrally located in Vienna. I planned to dedicate one room for contraception, one for abortion and one for different subjects.

I would kindly ask you whether you have any historic objects on contraception and abortion which you would be able to give us for a certain period of time. [Unfortunately I have only a couple of copies of old ads from Australia, which I offered.]

Also, I would like to include a link to your museum on the Web site, if you agree.

With best regards,

Christian Fiala, MD

PS: Please allow me to introduce myself. I am a medical doctor, general practitioner and specialist in obstetrics and gynecology. Since medical school I've been engaged in family planning and reproductive health. I wrote a contraceptive guide during medical school and continued my engagement since that time. Still, there is a lot to do to prevent unwanted pregnancies, have abortions done under correct circumstances and improve the reproductive health of women.

Last year I worked in Kampala, Uganda, and experienced the terrible consequences of a lack of contraception and illegal abortion. (It has been interesting, by the way, to see how the women there handle menstruation.)

I am an active member of the Austrian Family Planning Association [site in English and German] and a non-profit organisation of professionals working in the field of abortion and contraception, called FIAPAC, [site in English, German, Italian, French, and Spanish]

I introduced medical abortion to Austria ( [site in English, Italian, French and German] is a site aimed at women with an unwanted pregnancy and informing them about abortion) and am currently engaged to further improve the method and give the women more autonomy. Please find the last publication at:

The goal of the museum is to show how desperately people tried to control fertility in the past and how women suffered from the consequences of dangerous contraceptives and unsafe abortion. Contraceptive history is not just one part of our culture. The advances in contraception and abortion had a tremendous impact on women's health. Currently this aspect is being ignored. The plan is to show also this part of history.

[A frequent site visitor sent this story on Yahoo about a contraceptive museum in Toronto, Canada: "Toronto museum explores the inventive history of contraceptives"]

Flying Baker: red Navy flag could mean you-know-what

Hi, Harry!

I was referred to your site by an article in the current (Sept. 2003) issue of the British magazine Prospect. The article is by Shereen El Feki, healthcare correspondent for The Economist, and is titled "A Quarterly Curse?" It's about menstruation, all on one page, and if you'd like, I'll fax it to you or send it as an e-mail attachment.

Just for curiosity, I looked for one of the terms [here] I was familiar with, "Flying Baker" and thought I'd give you a little extra information. When I was in the U.S. Navy during World War II, the spoken names for the first four letters of the alphabet were ABLE, BAKER, CHARLIE, DOG. (they're now ALFA, BRAVO, CHARLIE, DELTA). The signal flag for the letter "B" was, and still is, all red.

When a sailor returned from visiting his wife or girl friend on liberty or shore leave, and was asked whether he got laid [had sexual intercourse], he might have replied, "No, she was flying Baker." He wasn't referring to the signal "Keep Off" (I'm not familiar with the flag being used in that context), but to the color of menstrual blood, the same color as the "B" signal flag.

I wonder whether U.S. Navy sailors nowadays reply to the same question, "No, she was flying Bravo." It might be of interest to inquire. [Yes, they do, at least in the Coast Guard. See the entry right below Flying Baker.]


****, ex-Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy

Period Pieces: Stories for Girls, a book for readers 8 to 108


I happily stumbled upon your site - WOW! - and wanted to let you know about my book, PERIOD PIECES: STORIES FOR GIRLS, that came out from HarperCollins this year.

What you've done and your future hopes for the museum are terrific. Congratulations on the concept and your splendidly multi-layered site.

Erzsi Deak

PERIOD PIECES: Stories for Girls (2003 HarperCollins, ISBN 0066237963, for readers 8 to 108).

Have you fallen off the wall? Seen George lately? Had the painters in? Does Auntie pay you a visit? No matter what you call it, or what you say about it, getting your period is a big deal. And while it's easy enough to diagram our interior plumbing, it is a lot more difficult to diagram feelings. Editors Erzsi Deàk and Kristin Embry Litchman have put together a collection of stories that share the life-changing experience common to all of us girls. Includes stories by award-winning authors: April Halprin Wayland, Bobbi Katz, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Dian Curtis Regan, Erzsi Deak, Jane Kurtz, Johanna Hurwitz, Kristin Embry Litchman, Linda Sue Park, Rita Williams-Garcia, Uma Krishnaswami. PERIOD PIECES is available from on-line bookstores such as or your local bookstore.  

Erzsi Deàk has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has covered fashion and children's features from Alaska to San Francisco to Paris. She is on the board of advisors of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Her story "Envelope Thief" is featured in the book, THEY ONLY LAUGHED LATER: Tales of Women on the Move. Most recently, her story, "Wild Strawberries" appeared in the anthology, LINES IN THE SAND: New Writing on War & Peace (Frances Lincoln, UK, June 2003 & The Disinformation Company, US, November 2003). She lives in Paris, France. Visit her at

Kristin Embry Litchman's books for young people include SECRETS! (OF A LOS ALAMOS KID, 1946-1953), ALL IS WELL, and THE WRONG SIDE OF THE PATTERN. She lives in New Mexico with her husband, with whom she teaches old-time square and folk dances at workshops and dance camps around the country and in Europe.

Free documents from Women's Health Initiative to celebrate its one-year anniversary

To mark the one-year anniversary of the Women's Health Initiative Study, which highlighted possible health risks associated with long-term hormone therapy use for menopausal women, the Canadian Women's Health Network has now made the following documents available online and free of charge:

Frequently Asked Questions, answered in plain language:

What is Menopause?

What is Hormone Therapy (HT)?

What are the Alternatives to Hormone Therapy?

Menopause and Heart Disease; What are my Risks?

How do I Stop Taking Hormone Therapy?

In-depth articles:

*The Pros and Cons of Hormone Therapy: Making An Informed Decision

*Health Protection Measures from the Women's Health Initiative

*The Medicalization of Menopause

*HRT in the News: The Women's Health Initiative

*Challenges of Change: Midlife, Menopause and Disability

*Natural Hormones - Are They a Safe Alternative?

*Perimenopause Naturally: An Integrative Medicine Approach

*Thinking Straight: Oestrogen and Cognitive Function at Midlife

*The Truth About Hormone Replacement Therapy

*Menopause Home Test: Save Your $$$

*Recent Studies on Menopause and Pain

*What The Experts are Saying Now: A Round-Up of International Opinion

*Women and Healthy Aging

... and many more!

Check us out at
The Canadian Women's Health Network
Women's Health Information You Can Trust

Many thanks to the Women's Health Clinic, Winnipeg, and A Friend Indeed newsletter, for making many of these documents available to the general public.


Kathleen O'Grady, Director of Communications
Canadian Women's Health Network/Le Réseau canadien pour la santé des femmes
Suite 203, 419 Graham Ave.
Winnipeg MB R3C 0M3
Tel (204) 942-5500, ext. 20


Jobs, conferences, prizes, etc.

Sixteenth International Transpersonal Conference:

Mythic Imagination in Modern Society.

Riviera Resort in Palm Springs, CA, June 11-18, 2004.

Program Coordinators: Stanislav and Christina Grof

Conference Coordinator: Bob Duchmann

This conference will focus on the importance of myth in modern society. We will explore how the new understanding of the nature and function of myth revealed by the work of C. G. Jung, Joseph Campbell, James Hillman, Mircea Eliade, and their followers has revolutionized the thinking in many areas of modern life. Like previous ITA events, the format of this meeting will combine lectures, experiential sessions, rituals, music, dance, and visual arts. The conference coincides with the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Joseph Campbell, the greatest mythologist of the twentieth century.

Some Ideas for Themes to be Explored at the Conference:

Re-Visioning of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Psychotherapy
Mythic Imagination in Science
Visionary Anthropology
Shamanism and the Re-Enchantment of Nature
Archetypal Dynamics, Healing, and Transformation
The Gaia Theory and Deep Ecology
Feminism and Return of the Great Mother
Mythic Elements in Business and Economy
Archetypal Forces in the World of Politics
Art and the Imaginal World
Myth and New Perspectives in Entertainment
The Imaginal and Its Relation to Spirituality and Religion
Archetypal Psychology and Astrology
Ancient and Native Prophecies
Cosmology and the Creation Stories
Global Crisis and the Search for A New Myth

Organizing Committee: Duncan Campbell, Cathy Coleman, Bob Duchmann, Christina Grof, Stanislav Grof, Sandra Harner, Bokara Legendre, Cary Sparks, Tav Sparks, Richard Tarnas (others to be added).

Cooperating Institutions:

The Joseph Campbell Foundation
California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS)
Association for Transpersonal Psychology (ATP) (unconfirmed)
Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP)
Institute for Noetic Sciences (IONS)
The John Fetzer Institute (unconfirmed)
Pacifica Graduate Institute
Green Earth Foundation
Spirit Rock Center
Esalen Institute
Foundation for Shamanic Studies
Kepler College of Astrological Arts and Sciences (KC)
C. G. Jung Institute in San Francisco (unconfirmed)

Ideas for Cultural Programs (some unconfirmed):

Al Huang and Lorin Hollander
Multivocal Chanting of Tibetan Gyuto Monks
Wes Nisker's transpersonal stand-up
Ecstatic Chanting with Jai Uttal and Geoff Gordon
Lama Dances
Buffy St. Marie and Native American drummers and singers


Steve Aizenstat, Angeles Arrien, Chris Bache, John Buchanan, Cathy Coleman, orge Ferrer, Christina Grof, Paul Grof, Stanislav Grof, Michael Grosso, Michael Harner, Sandra Harner, Martina Hofmann (whose art is on this MUM site), Lorin Hollander, Chungliang Al Huang, Rashna Imhasly, Sean Kelly, Jack Kornfield, Stanley Krippner, Robin Larsen, Stephen Larsen, Ervin Laszl, Bokara Legendre, Bernard Lietaer (unconfirmed), Albrecht Mahr, Vladimir Maikov, Robert McDermott, Ralph Metzner, Jane Middelton-Moz, Michael Murphy, Wes Nisker, Jill Purce, Ram Dass, Peter Russell, Rupert Sheldrake, Karan Singh, Brother David Steindl-Rast (unconfirmed), Richard Tarnas, Charles Tart, Robert Venosa, Frances Vaughan, Roger Walsh, Terra Wise

Book about periods needs your input, MEN!

Kaylee Powers-Monteros is writing a book about women's periods called "Bloody Rites."

"I consider a woman's period her rite of passage. . . . My book is focusing on the language we use about periods and how that impacts our perceptions of it," she writes.

She has a chapter about men's first learning about menstruation and would like to hear from men in response to the question, "When was the first time you ever heard anything about a period and what was it?" I already sent her mine: when I was in sixth grade the kid next door said his sister had started bleeding from you-know-where. I didn't know anything about you-know-where, actually, having grown up in a prudish military household with two bothers, no sisters and a mother who must have felt very alone.

E-mail her at

Migrane study at Emory University needs online participants

Researchers at the Emory University School of Nursing are conducting an Internet-based study looking at the experience of migraines in women between the ages of 40 and 55. The study includes completion of online questionnaires and participation in an online discussion group with other women who also have headaches. For more information, please visit the study Web site at, or call the research phone line at 404-712-8558.

Thanks so much.

Peggy Moloney

Call for Papers

Diagnosing Women's Health in Popular Culture

Seeking paper proposals that explore women's health in popular culture for possible presentation at the Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture/American Culture Association Conference in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A., November 7 to 9, 2003.

Popular culture offers a multitude of representations of women's health, women's relationship to healthcare products and to the healthcare industry, as well as of women's care of others, both formally and informally. What meanings are attached to print advertising, Internet ads, television commercials, television dramas, situation comedies, film, poetry, short stories, novels, or photography on the linkage between women's health and popular culture? Papers that explore the U.S. healthcare industry, women as medical professionals, and the medicalization of women's bodies in terms of race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality are particularly encouraged.

Send an email submission (NO ATTACHMENTS) with paper title, 250 word abstract, short CV, full address and audiovisual needs by June 15 to Dr. Katie Hogan, Area Chair, Women's Studies Panel, MAPACA, EMAIL:

Contribute to fund in honor of Jill Wolhandler and help The Women's Community Health Center in Massachusetts (U.S.A.)

Dear Women [oh, let's add "men," too],

Here is an opportunity to honor two significant contributions to the women's health movement - The Women's Community Health Center in Massachusetts, and Jill Wolhandler, a member of the health center and a strong women's health advocate, who died in December 2002.

For the many of you who worked with Jill, I am including the remembrance from her memorial service.

Jill has many friends throughout the country.

In honor of Jill's vision and commitment to women's health, a fund in Jill's name has been established and we are asking for donations in order to catalogue and process the Women's Community Health Center files. There is a high level of interest in material from this period of the women's health movement, and your contribution would assure that information from that time is preserved. Donations are tax deductible.

Checks can be made to the Schlesinger Library - on the memo section of the check, please write "Processing WCHC."

Send checks to:

Paula Garbarino

Jill Wolhandler Fund

16 Ivaloo St.

Somerville, MA 02143

Thank you,

Catherine DeLorey

Women's Community Health Center Files Reside at the Schlesinger Library

At the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Women's Community Health Center [WCHC] in 1999, a group of former collective members announced that materials from the health center years had been donated to the archives at Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library. This material consisted of a variety of documents such as meeting minutes, articles written about or by WCHC members, clinic schedules, surveys and feedback forms, as well as other "herstorical" items.

Several boxes of documents were reviewed to ensure that no confidential material containing names or identifying information about women using the services would be shared with the Schlesinger.

Despite the fact that the material has not yet been organized or catalogued, there have been numerous requests from women's health scholars to review the material. It has become a rich trove of information and offers a unique perspective into the women's health movement of the 1970's and early 1980's.

In order to make the material widely available, the boxes of documents need to be "processed" or catalogued. To do this, personnel at the library will fully review the contents of the collection. Generally this involves preserving the original order of the material as it was donated according to either chronological or topical categories. If no original order exists, they will determine how to best logically sort and present it so that scholars can use the contents. The material will be subdivided into folders with guides to contents and clippings will be photocopied. An overall guide to the organization and listing of summaries will be generated. This guide will be available on the internet with worldwide circulation. Folders will be photocopied and sent out upon request for personal research purposes only. Publication permission usually rests with the library and the original authors of the material.

Other legal arrangements were made at the time the gift of the material was made to the Schlesinger; Cookie Avrin generously offered legal assistance in this process.

About 5 linear feet of material (the library's standard of measurement) was donated. Processing is expected to cost $600 per foot. The total estimated cost is approximately $3000.

On a related note, the library has about 40 feet of material from Our Bodies Ourselves and recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to process that collection.

A Remembrance of Jill

Written by Diane Willow for Jill's memorial service

Jill Wolhandler was born on January 22, 1949 in Scarsdale, New York. She died on December 6, 2002 in the home that she shared with her beloved partner, Janet Connors.

Jill moved to Dorchester to be with Janet and her children David, Shana and Joel, shortly after meeting Janet fifteen years ago. Jill felt great joy and pride in her chosen family.

Together they made a nurturing home that always welcomed their extended family of friends. Seth and Terrance remained dear members of Jill's extended family.

And, over the years Charlotte and Christopher came into her life at 26 Bearse Avenue.

Jill was the first child of her beloved mother Jean and her father Joe, and the older sister of Peter, Laurie and Steven. She later found enduring pleasure as Aunt Jill to Sara, Gina and Jacob. After excelling in the Scarsdale schools, she went to the International School in Geneva to complete high school. She continued her education at the University of Chicago before beginning graduate studies at Johns Perkins University. She utilized her deep knowledge of human physiology in teaching, writing and political work. Later in life she completed graduate studies in occupational therapy at Tufts University. She attributed her most significant learning to her ongoing work as a social activist.

After moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the mid nineteen-seventies, she became involved in the work of the local and national women's health movement. She contributed to an early publication of Our Bodies Ourselves (1976) as a freelance editor and co-authored a chapter in the New Our Bodies Ourselves (1984). She joined the Women's Community Health Center (1975), working first as a member of the collective and later as one of the four women on the guiding committee.

During her time as the most enduring member of the health center, Jill dedicated herself to the self-help philosophy with particular focus on the Pelvic Teaching program (the first of its kind in the nation) in collaboration with Harvard Medical School as well as the Fertility Consciousness project. Toxic shock syndrome and the related Tampon legislation was also a focal point for Jill's research and advocacy. She was also an early supporter on research related to daughters born to mothers who had used DES during their pregnancies.

Jill's political activism for women's health issues brought her to the Vermont Women's Health Center where she was able to learn abortion procedures legally. She spent a year in Vermont, developing these skills, believing that she would then be able to pass them on if abortions were to become illegal again.

Meanwhile, she did ongoing work as a bookkeeper. Her former clients included Red Sun Press and other activist organizations. Her most recent work was as the Business Manager of the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy. Although deadlines were often a cause for worry with Jill, she was meticulous in her accounting and her co-workers valued her conscientious approach.

A cello player in her youth, Jill revived her passion for music through her annual participation in the Early Music Week at Pinewoods, as a player of the bass viol in the Brandeis Early Music Ensemble, and as a member and the Treasurer of the New England Regional Chapter of the Viola de Gamba Society. She found peace in music and pleasure in sharing it with others.

Many of Jill's friends and acquaintances have often heard Jill express her love of words with her unique sense of humor. She was known to make up her own vocabulary, whether as terms of endearment for loved ones, alternative names for common places and landmarks or just her quirky way of describing things. Her love of nature and the natural world was a sustaining force in her life. She was especially fond of the ocean and felt at home walking the beaches of the Cape or staying in Provincetown.

She loved animals, was an avid bird watcher and lived for many years with cats and turtles. She raised small red-eared sliders. When these turtles came to her they were the size of a quarter. After decades of thriving, they now require two hands to hold and continue their lives in a plexi-pond at The Children's Museum in Boston.

A playful spirit at heart, Jill took delight in the mini-firework displays bursting from sparklers and the swirling rainbow colors in drifting soap bubbles.

Her pleasure in play and her curious mind made her an engaged companion of the children in her life and others who remain young at heart. A rather old soul who had her share of challenges, Jill found her joy in friendships and in the ways that she was able to contribute to a better quality of life through social activism.

Women's Universal Health Initiative

Women's Universal Health Initiative

Women's Universal Health Initiative is by women for women - if you have ideas, events, information, or comments to share, send them to

In these difficult times, all advocacy groups are struggling financially. WUHI is no exception. Please consider becoming a member to support the continuation of the web site and our work on universal health care.

You become a member of WUHI with a tax-deductible donation of any amount. Go to the WUHI website to join online, or send your donation to WUHI, Box 623, Boston, MA 02120.

Health Care Reform: a Women's Issue

Anne Kasper

Anne Kasper, a long time women's health activist, discusses why health care reform is a women's issue. Anne is an editor, with Susan J. Ferguson of Breast Cancer: Society Shapes an Epidemic, a powerful and informative book on the politics of breast cancer.

To read the complete article: <>

Health care reform has long been a women's issue. Since the beginnings of the Women's Health Movement in the late 1960s, women have known that the health care system does not work in the best interests of women's health. When we think of the health care system and its component parts ­ doctors, hospitals, clinics, and prescription drugs, for instance ­ we are increasingly aware that the current system is not designed to promote and maintain our personal health or the health of others. Instead, we are aware of a medical system that delivers sporadic, interventionist, hi-tech, and curative care when what we need most often is continuous, primary, low-tech, and preventive care. Women are the majority of the uninsured and the under insured as well as the majority of health care providers. We are experts on our health, the health of our families, and the health of our communities. We know that we need a health care system that must be a part of changes in other social spheres -- such as wage work, housing, poverty, inequality, and education -- since good health care results from more than access to medical services.

Featured Site

UHCAN - Universal Health Care Action Network

UHCAN is a nationwide network of individuals and organizations, committed to achieving health care for all. It provides a national resource center, facilitates information sharing and the development of strategies for health care justice. UHCAN was formed to bring together diverse groups and activists working for comprehensive health care in state and national campaigns across the country.

Their annual conference, planned for October 24-26, 2003 in Baltimore, MD, is one of the best grass-roots action conferences available. They consider universal health care justice from many perspectives.

Visit UHCAN's website for resources, analyses of health reform issues, and more information on their campaigns for health care justice.

Proposals, Policies, Pending Legislation

Health Care Access Campaign - the Health Care Access Resolution

Health care in America is unjust and inefficient. It costs too much, covers too little, and excludes too many. As the economy deteriorates, it is rapidly getting worse.

One in seven Americans, 80% of whom are from working families, lack health insurance and consequently suffer unnecessary illness and premature death. Tens of millions more are under insured, unable to afford needed services, particularly medications. Health care costs are a leading cause of personal bankruptcy. Communities of color endure major disparities in access and treatment. Double-digit medical inflation undermines employment-based insurance, as employers drop coverage or ask their employees to pay more for less. State budgets are in their worst shape in half a century. Medicare and Medicaid are caught between increases in need and a financial restraints.

In the 108th Congress, the Congressional Universal Health Care Task Force will introduce the Health Care Access Resolution, directing Congress to enact legislation by 2005 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. Legislators, reacting to the urgency for health care reform, will likely introduce several proposals in this Congress.

Check out the link to learn more about the resolution and how you can contribute to it.

Proposed Health Insurance Tax Credits Could Shortchange Women

Commonwealth Fund report, reviews federal policies designed to help low-income adults buy health insurance, which have focused on tax credits for purchasing coverage in the individual insurance market. This analysis of premium and benefit quotes for individual health plans offered in 25 cities finds that tax credits at the level of those in recent proposals would not be enough to make health insurance affordable to women with low incomes.

Time for Change: the Hidden Cost of a Fragmented Health Insurance System

An excellent overview by Karen Davis, President of The Commonwealth Fund, of factors in the US health care system that lead to it being the most expensive health system in the world.

A Place at the Table: Women's Needs and Medicare Reform

By Marilyn Moon and Pamela Herd

This book, published by the Century Foundation, shows that women have different retirement needs as a group than men. Women are more likely to require long-term care services because they live longer and are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases. Suggests guidelines that would make Medicare reforms work for women, including how to deal with comprehensiveness, affordability, access to quality care, and the availability of information.

Women in the Health Care System: Health Status, Insurance, and Access to Care

Report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) focuses on women in the United States in 1996. Health insurance status is examined in terms of whether women are publicly insured, privately insured, or uninsured, and whether insured women are policyholders or dependents.

Health Insurance Coverage in America: 2001 Data Update

Although not specific to women, this resource contains valuable information about women and health insurance coverage and provides valuable information and facts for general presentations on universal health care. The chart book provides year 2001 data on health insurance coverage, with special attention to the uninsured. It includes trends and major shifts in coverage and a profile of the uninsured population.


Health Care Links

Links to state, national and international organizations working for single payer health care and universal health care. A resource of Physicians for a National Health Program - check out the site for many other resources and excellent factual information on a single payer health care system [ <> ].

Universal Health Care Organizations in Your State

A list of state organizations working for universal health care. Resource of Everybody In, Nobody Out [EINO: ]. Not all states represented.

Families USA New Online Service .

Families USA online service to provide registered users with the following benefits:

Free bimonthly newsletters with articles on health policy issue.

Announcements about organization events.

Discounts on publications

Kaiser Network for Health Policy - Publications and Reports <;hc=806&amp;linkcat=61>

Reports and publications on health policy, access, uninsured and insurance. Supported by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Good source of information.


May 8 - 9 2003

Health Policy and the Underserved

Sponsored by the Joint Center for Poverty Research, looks a social, economic, and outcomes of policies for the underserved.

May 14-16, 2003

2003 Managed Care Law Conference

Colorado Springs, CO

Co-sponsored by American Health Lawyers Association and American Association of Health Plans. Presents legal issues facing health plans and providers.

October 24-26, 2003

National Universal Health Care Action Network [UHCAN] Conference

Baltimore, MD

One of the best grass-roots action conferences available. Considers universal health care from all its perspectives. Check out their website for an overview of their orientation.

November 15, 2003

Physicians for a National Health Program Fall Meeting

San Francisco, CA

November 15 - 19, 2003

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting

San Francisco, CA

Meeting of professionals in public health. Has many sessions on health care reform and women's health, including universal health care.

January 22-23, 2004

National Health Policy Conference

Washington, DC

Wide-ranging discussions of health policy, including health care reform and universal health care.

Women's Universal Health Initiative

PO Box 623

Boston, MA 02120-2822

617-739-2923 Ext 3 <>


Canadian TV film about menstruation Under Wraps now called Menstruation: Breaking the Silence and for sale

Read more about it - it includes this museum (when it was in my house) and many interesting people associated publically with menstruation. Individual Americans can buy the video by contacting

Films for the Humanities
P.O. Box 2053
Princeton, NJ 08543-2053

Tel: 609-275-1400
Fax: 609-275-3767
Toll free order line: 1-800-257-5126

Canadians purchase it through the National Film Board of Canada.

Did your mother slap you when you had your first period?

If so, Lana Thompson wants to hear from you.

The approximately 4000 items of this museum will go to Australia's largest museum . . .

if I die before establishing the Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health as a permanent public display in the United States (read more of my plans here). I have had coronary angioplasty; I have heart disease related to that which killed all six of my parents and grandparents (some when young), according to the foremost Johns Hopkins lipids specialist. The professor told me I would be a "very sick person" if I were not a vegetarian since I cannot tolerate any of the medications available. Almost two years ago I debated the concept of the museum on American national television ("Moral Court," Fox Network) and MUM board member Miki Walsh (see the board), who was in the audience at Warner Brothers studios in Hollywood, said I looked like a zombie - it was the insomnia-inducing effect of the cholesterol medication.

And almost two years ago Megan Hicks, curator of medicine at Australia's Powerhouse Museum, the country's largest, in Sydney, visited MUM (see her and read about the visit). She described her creation of an exhibit about the history of contraception that traveled Australia; because of the subject many people had objected to it before it started and predicted its failure. But it was a great success!

The museum would have a good home.

I'm trying to establish myself as a painter (see some of my paintings) in order to retire from my present job to give myself the time to get this museum into a public place and on display permanently (at least much of it); it's impossible to do now because of the time my present job requires.

An Australian e-mailed me about this:

Wow, the response to the museum, if it were set up in Australia, would be so varied. You'd have some people rejoicing about it and others totally opposing it (we have some yobbos here who think menstruation is "dirty" and all that other rubbish). I reckon it would be great to have it here. Imagine all the school projects! It might make a lot of younger women happier about menstruating, too. I'd go check it out (and take my boyfriend too) :)

Hey, are you related to Karen Finley, the performance artist?? [Not that I know of, and she hasn't claimed me!]

Don't eliminate the ten Regional Offices of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor

The Bush Administration is planning to propose, in next year's budget, to eliminate the ten Regional Offices of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor. This decision signals the Administration's intent to dismantle the only federal agency specifically mandated to represent the needs of women in the paid work force.

Established in 1920, the Women's Bureau plays a critical function in helping women become aware of their legal rights in the workplace and guiding them to appropriate enforcement agencies for help. The Regional Offices take the lead on the issues that working women care about the most - training for higher paying jobs and non-traditional employment, enforcing laws against pay discrimination, and helping businesses create successful child-care and other family-friendly policies, to name only a few initiatives.

The Regional Offices have achieved real results for wage-earning women for eighty-one years, especially for those who have low incomes or language barriers. The one-on-one assistance provided at the Regional Offices cannot be replaced by a Web site or an electronic voice mail system maintained in Washington.

You can take action on this issue today! Go to to write to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and tell her you care about keeping the Regional Offices of the Women's Bureau in operation. You can also let E. Mitchell Daniels, Jr., Director of the Office of Management and Budget, know how you feel about this. You can write a letter of your own or use one we've prepared for you.

If you find this information useful, be sure to forward this alert to your friends and colleagues and encourage them to sign up to receive Email Action Alerts from the National Women's Law Center at

Thank you!

I'm decreasing the frequency of the updates to make time for figuring out how to earn an income

I can retire from my graphics job in July, 2002, and I must if I want to continue developing the site and museum, because of the time involved. But I can't live on the retirement income, so I must find a way to earn enough to support myself. I'm working on some ideas now, and I need the only spare time I have, the time I do these updates on weekends. So, starting December 2001, I will update this site once a month rather than weekly.

Book about menstruation published in Spain

The Spanish journalist who contributed some words for menstruation to this site last year and wrote about this museum (MUM) in the Madrid newspaper "El País" just co-authored with her daughter a book about menstruation (cover at left).

She writes, in part,

Dear Harry Finley,

As I told you, my daughter (Clara de Cominges) and I have written a book (called "El tabú") about menstruation, which is the first one to be published in Spain about that subject. The book - it talks about the MUM - is coming out at the end of March and I just said to the publisher, Editorial Planeta, to contact you and send you some pages from it and the cover as well. I'm sure that it will be interesting to you to have some information about the book that I hope has enough sense of humour to be understood anywhere. Thank you for your interest and help.

If you need anything else, please let me know.

Best wishes,

Margarita Rivière

Belen Lopez, the editor of nonfiction at Planeta, adds that "Margarita, more than 50 years old, and Clara, 20, expose their own experiences about menstruation with a sensational sense of humour." (publisher's site)

My guess is that Spaniards will regard the cover as risqué, as many Americans would. And the book, too. But, let's celebrate!

I earlier mentioned that Procter & Gamble was trying to change attitudes in the Spanish-speaking Americas to get more women to use tampons, specifically Tampax - a hard sell.

Compare this cover with the box cover for the Canadian television video about menstruation, Under Wraps, and the second The Curse.

An American network is now developing a program about menstruation for a popular cable channel; some folks from the network visited me recently to borrow material.

And this museum lent historical tampons and ads for a television program in Spain last year.

Now, if I could only read Spanish! (I'm a former German teacher.)

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.


What happens when you visit this site?

For now, a search engine service will tell me who visits this site, although I don't know in what detail yet. I am not taking names - it's something that comes with the service, which I'm testing to see if it makes it easier for you to locate information on this large site.

In any case, I'm not giving away or selling names of visitors and you won't receive anything from me; you won't get a "cookie." I feel the same way most of you do when you visit a site: I want to be anonymous! Leave me alone!

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?

Read about my ideas for the museum. What are yours?

Eventually I would also like to entice people experienced in the law, finances and fund raising to the board.

Any suggestions?

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!

See more medical and scientific information about menstruation.

New this month (in addition to the letters, etc., below):
The Art of Menstruation: Fanni Fazekas and Ana Elena Pena - Poems by April A. Severin - "Gynecologist vs. obstetrician: what lies behind the fusion?" by Dr. Nelson Soucasaux, Brazilian gynecologist - Humor

Would you stop menstruating if you could? (New contributions)
Words and expressions about menstruation: New contributions: new category: Japan: gekkei, keisui; U.S.A.: [The] bloody mess, Flying Baker (more information), I can't churn the butter today, I'm on auto-drip, Little Suzy rotton crotch, My pussy cat is puking up blood, Offering the sacrifice, Riding the crimson towel, Rocket, Satan's little cotton fingers, [The] storm is coming (has arrived), Surfboard, That time, White undies are out this time of month, You'll be swimming up red river


first page | LIST OF ALL TOPICS | MUM address | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books (and reviews) | cats | company booklets directory | contraception and religion | costumes | cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | famous people | FAQ | humor | huts | links | media coverage of MUM | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | religion | menstrual products safety | science | shame | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour (video) | underpants directory | videos, films directory | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads

privacy on this site

© 2003 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 to