o.b. ads
German (early 1950s) - German (1970s) - German nude (1970s) - French (1989)
Australian douche ad (ca. 1900) - Fresca douche (date ?) - Kotique douche 1974 ad - Liasan (1) ad - Liasan (2) ad - Lysol 1928 ad - Lysol 1948 ad - Marvel 1926 ad - Midol 1938 ad - Midol 1959 booklet - o.b. German (papyrus tampons) - Pristeen 1969 ad - o.b. German (nude) - Sterizol 1926 ad - Vionell spray 1970 ad (Germany) - the odor page

A British Tampax ad using nudity (1992) - And see other ads directed at teenagers.

See a Modess True or False? ad in The American Girl magazine, January 1947, and actress Carol Lynley in "How Shall I Tell My Daughter" booklet ad (1955) - Modess . . . . because ads (many dates).
DIRECTORY of all topics (See also the SEARCH ENGINE, bottom of page.)
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepage | LIST OF ALL TOPICS | MUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) | cats | company booklets for girls (mostly) directory | contraception and religion | costumes | menstrual cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | facts-of-life booklets for girls | famous women in menstrual hygiene ads | FAQ | founder/director biography | gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux | humor | huts | links | masturbation | media coverage of MUM | menarche booklets for girls and parents | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | olor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | shame | slapping, menstrual | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour of the former museum (video) | underpants & panties directory | videos, films directory | Words and expressions about menstruation | Would you stop menstruating if you could? | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.


Next later news

Menstruation Relates to Infibulation, Scarring and, Yes, Odor

The chairperson of the department of sociology and anthropology of a southern university visited MUM on a recent Saturday with her husband and a student, and brought along a wealth of information about lots of things:

-Did you know that infibulation, the genital mutilation practiced in parts of Africa which involves greatly narrowing the entrance to the vagina, can impede the menstrual flow to the extent of causing sterility? Just as can happen with an imperforate hymen, the menses can back up into the fallopian tubes and render them useless.

-There are doctors in towns in Africa where honeymooners often visit who specialize in widening the narrowed entrances to the vagina caused by infibulation.

-Black women in our country, and I'm sure elsewhere, form keloid scars more easily than whites, which can lead to impeding the uterus in its expelling of menstrual blood. When the backed-up blood is finally expelled, there is so much of it that it can gush unexpectedly from the vagina in huge quantities.

-The synchrony of periods women experience when they are together for extended times can have evolutionary benefits. If women menstruate at the same time, any animals attracted to the smell will be worrisome only for a short time each month, which could be important in rural groups.

-Menstrual huts sometimes had the purpose of placing the menstrual odor far away from the inhabitants of a village, thereby not attracting animals.

Your MUM curator doesn't know everything about menstruation, and I learn things every time someone visits. This is part of what makes MUM so interesting.

Japanese Student Donates Tampons and Ads to MUM

Nancy Young of New York University encouraged one of her charges, a Japanese student, to bring back with her and give to the museum some products and print ads from Japan - a great donation! The student reported that her mother in Japan had a good laugh about these wacky Americans. My thanks to Nancy and the student, and I am glad to have provided a bright moment in her mother's day, as she has me.

What? Someone Else Thinks MUM is Strange??

Read about MUM and some other interesting museums in America's Strangest Museums (Citadel Press/Carol, $12.95) by Sandra Gurvis. MUM's on pages 285-288, way in the back in a special section for some reason, between the Mike Weaver Drain Tile Museum (TRULY weird!) and The Museum of Bad Art, which makes me cringe (I'm an artist). The illustration for the MUM section is a photo of a wall exhibit showing some currently available washable pads, The Keeper menstrual cup, etc. I bought my copy of the book at a Scribner's book store near the Pentagon, where I used to work (the Pentagon, that is); the book's probably widely available. I get no cut, so you won't be supporting the museum, but Sandra Gurvis needs the money. Don't we all?

Thanks For Your Help!

In alphabetical order I want to thank

-Megan Hicks of the Powerhouse Museum, the largest museum in Australia, for the treasure trove of information about the menstrual cup Gynaeseal she sent recently and for the cartoons about menstruation;

-Judy MacInnes, Starry Night Productions in Vancouver, Canada, for her contacting the Judy Chicago organization to pave the way for MUM's future use of a picture of Ms. Chicago's in the Art of Menstruation exhibit on this site (see directory);

-Susan Rishworth of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, for her help in locating archival material for Dr. Marion Sims and the Beginnings of Modern Gynecology (a comic strip I started but couldn't continue because of time, and which I hope to do in the future), and for showing a MUM visitor what ACOG has in its resources; and

-Donna Swift, anthropologist in New Zealand, for her constant supplying of information about all kinds of things to this museum!

First Russian Contacts MUM

Part of the fun of MUM is meeting people from all over the world. Recently a Russian woman e-mailed us for information and for the MUM newsletter Catamenia, joining folks from Belgium, France, England, Italy, Israel, Norway, Canada, Finland, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.A.

The New Cup is Not That New!

A reporter for The Seattle Times called MUM and said that the press release for Instead, the new menstrual cup (see our item below from a few weeks ago, Try Out a New Menstrual This Fall), stated that it's the first new thing in menstrual hygiene in 60 years. Not true, if it means cups are new. They've been around commercially since the late 1950's, and there's another one available right now, The Keeper, a re-usable one, which is pretty cheap compared to what the reporter said the new one costs.

Tampax claimed to be a new concept in 1936, whereas commercial tampons had existed years before that (see exhibit news several items below). What was new was the applicator, truly a good idea for many women. Yes, I know about the disposal problems, something we are still grappling with, as women will with the non-degradable, non-reusable Instead.

As I said in the item below, I would be interested in hearing what people think about Instead.

Unusual Person Calls MUM

A producer from The Late Show - that's with David Letterman - called to get information about MUM recently. Nothing will probably come of it - many are called, few serve, or something like that - and if anything did, it would surely be humorous. But I think it would be a gentler humor than with Howard Stern, whose sidekick Gary (I've forgotten his last name; I never listen to the program) called twice about a year ago to discuss sending a camera crew here. I decided I did not want the beating I would have gotten. But with David, er, Mr. Letterman, maybe that wouldn't be so bad . . . . Sigh.

Very Unusual Person Calls on MUM

The California Institute of Technology, that renommierte bastion of science, sent its finest to inspect MUM just days after Mr. Letterman, um, Mr. Letterman's producer, called.
Its finest was a student brilliant enough to enter Cal Tech at 16. She has decided to study tampons and convinced her school to pay her way to Washington to check out our holdings. Next week MUM will send her behind the scenes in the Smithsonian to see its two drawers full of menstrual goodies and over to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to inspect its holdings.
This business is fun!

MUM has More Brushes With the Best

And while I'm in the mood, I must mention that The New Yorker magazine called for information when this museum first opened two years ago. Like, just the best magazine that ever was!!!
Not only The New Yorker, but in the past year feelers were extended by writers from Harper's, Newsday, British Elle magazine and the Sunday Telegraph in Great Britain, Biba and Colors in France and the wild and new Amica magazine in Germany, among others. And producers from The Today Show and Lifetime TV network called for information.
And dozens and dozens of radio stations have rung MUM, including from Australia and Canada.
But many of the best media have already discussed MUM. Read their names in What the Media Say About MUM.

Thanks Again to Generous French and American Donors!

Again a donor in France has given the museum many French and German ads for menstrual products, and an American has donated German tampons. Included in the French gift was a terrific study in German of menstruation and its hygiene from 1860-1985. Thank you both very much!

Try Out a New Menstrual Cup This Fall

Women in the Seattle (U.S.A.) area this fall will be able to test a new item in the menstrual arsenal besides pads and tampons, a menstrual collection cup called Instead. It's the first product of the company UltraFem.

Menstrual cups are not new. The current cup (now with the potential competitor Instead) is The Keeper (see also MenstrualCentral), a rubber cup which succeeded Tassaway and Tassette, cups sold in the U.S.A. in the 1950's - 1970's. The commercial idea seems to have been developed about 60 years ago in the United States.

(Does anyone know of any non-American cups? I know of only two, the first an Australian cup which doubled as a contraceptive in the 1980's called Gynaeseal. But it failed for lack of interest in spite of having an insertion applicator. And a Canadian hospital is testing a Chinese cup for possible commercial introduction into the West.)

The user inserts the flexible cup into her vagina, where it collects menstrual fluid. The user then withdraws and empties it, reinserting it if it is the reusable kind. As I understand it, women must insert the new cup a bit farther in than The Keeper, as Instead sits near or touching the cervix.

The medical reports I have read on menstrual cups are very positive, showing them safer than tampons and pads.

The Keeper people say their cup will last at least ten years, which makes it far cheaper than tampons or pads or even sponges. The Keeper costs $35 and comes with a pouch carrier. And of course ecologically speaking, reusable cups are unbeatable!

The objections I have heard from users are basically four:
- Cups leak. The Keeper folks say that it will not leak if inserted properly. They say insertion takes a little practice, just as inserting tampons does.
- EEEEYOUUUUU! I could never put that in ME! The Keeper folks point out that you must FOLD it first, then insert. It's actually pretty small when you use as directed.
- Cups must hurt. Again, The Keeper people say that if it's in the right place, you won't feel it, just as with tampons.
- And they're messy! They are potentially just a little messier than tampons, but maybe not if you're clever.

I would be interested to hear from you people who try the new cup to see how you like it.

See THE Film on Menstruation This Fall on Television!

How do we perceive menstruation in popular culture? The only Canadian film - and maybe the only one anywhere - examining this appears on three Canadian television networks this fall.

The 57-minute"Under Wraps" dropped its wraps first at the Vancouver International Film Festival in October. TVOntario, The Knowledge Network and SCN will show it a bit later.

Starry Night Productions of Vancouver made the documentary, and spent parts of two days filming at MUM and at The Johns Hopkins University (the MUM founder - this writer - majored in philosophy at Hopkins many moons ago) for the section on the historical aspect of the subject.

Late last year the British Broadcasting Corporation shot an item in this museum for the Sunday Morning Show in the UK, and earlier this year a German TV crew visited MUM for a shoot, broadcast last spring on the Pro-7 channel for the program Liebe Sünde (Dear Sin!!). Menstruation as sin, na ja. Many radio stations around the world have interviewed the MUM founder, the latest being Sveriges Radio, Swedish National Radio, a few weeks ago.

In the Canadian production you'll also see interviews with artist Judy Chicago, MacArthur Fellow Margie Profet, Judy Blume, Tamara Slayton, Karen Houppert, Wenda Gu, Lori Katz and Barb Meyer, Liz Armstrong and Adrienne Scott, Bernadette Vallely, Sophie Laws, Jacqueline van Laar and others, each in some way involved "professionally" with menstruation.

Those of us unfortunate enough not to be in Canada at the right time can possibly buy a video or see the film at a later date in another country. Check here later for details.

Starry Night sparkles in this film through producers Teresa MacInnes (who also directs) and Penny Wheelwright, cinematographer Kent Nason, picture editor Janice Brown, sound designer Gael MacLean and Link-to-the-World Judy MacInnes Jr.

Telefilm Canada also participated in the production in association with the National Film Board of Canada, British Columbia Film, The Knowledge Network, TV Ontario, Vision TV, VanCity, Life Network, SCN and Great North Releasing.

I'll provide further information here as I get it, but if you want to call Penny Wheelwright directly, her number is (604) 684-2919 (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada). Starry Night has e-mail at starryn@direct.ca

MUM Gets Videos!

One of the country's largest advertising agencies has donated several years of TV videos of menstrual protection advertising to the museum, filling a gap in our holdings. Thank you very much! Researchers can view these by making a weekend appointment to visit the museum. We hope to have these running continuously for visitors sometime in the future.

Young? Not So Young? Read These Books!

Volcano Press in - where else? - Volcano, California publishes two great books for people just beginning and just finishing their menstrual careers: Period for menarcheal folks ($9.95), and Menopause, Naturally for those many periods later ($14.95). I think it's great to have clear, sensible books about a subject which embarrasses so many people of both sexes.

Donors Give Tampons and Ads to MUM

An American donor has just contributed many items to MUM, this time the rarer of the major "protection" products in Japan, tampons. MUM will show these with other tampons from around the world. Many thanks!

And a French discoverer of the MUM Web site has sent us a dozen older French ads for menstrual hygiene, with the promise of more to come. Merci beaucoup!

Can Anyone Give MUM This Information?

1. What is the Japanese "pony" used in menstruation?
2. Does anyone know when fax tampons were developed and first sold? Were there earlier commercial tampons?

So What Do Astronauts, Er, Do in Orbit?

Dr. Barbara Czerwinski gives an illustrated talk about the sanitary arrangements in space capsules while they're spinning around the earth, and we hope she will do this sometime soon at MUM. She promises you will give up any aspirations you may have had about pursuing an orbiting career. Are you interested in attending or reading about it?

Museum Exhibits in Australia and San Francisco

Lisa Carter faxes from Sydney, Australia, that her museum, the Australian Museum, plans to have an exhibit on sex and reproduction later this year. MUM will contribute some items about menstruation.

And Megan Hicks, Curator of Health and Medicine at the Powerhouse Museum, also in Sydney, writes that her current exhibit Taking Precautions: the Story of Contraception at the museum is so successful that it will continue through at least mid-1997 and possibly go on tour.
Ms. Hicks wrote MUM last year that visitors to the Hyde Park Barracks Historic House in Sydney can see remains of cloth menstrual rags found under the floorboards of the house. It was an asylum for women in the early 19th century.

The Exploratorium museum in San Francisco is considering having a display on menstruation this fall in a larger exhibit about the cycles of nature, and has asked MUM for information.

Who Asks What of Whom?

This museum supplies information - that's part of its mission. Some recent requests:
-three of the largest adverteasing agencies in the world (in New York and London) called for information to use for product development and new ad campaigns
-a company in the Philippines which publishes medical information wanted facts about menstrual education
-writers from Germany, Canada and the USA called for information about MUM
-students from Belgium, England, Canada, New Zealand and the USA found ads, articles and much else in MUM
-an Australian radio station interviewed the MUM director (one of scores of interviews concerning MUM. The question is always, Why did you do it?)
-a member of the U.S. House of Representatives sought information about dioxin and tampons

MUM Gets Kotex and Modess Dispensers!
An anonymous donor who has already given the museum hundreds of items has struck again with two old and possibly serviceable dispensers for Kotex and Modess sanitary napkins (above)! Anyone know how old they are? Many thanks, Anon! That's how a museum is built! (See also Donors Add to the Collection below.)







Menstruation Inhibits Reports of Sexual Abuse

This is one conclusion drawn by Donna Swift, a Canadian Commonwealth Scholar who intensively interviewed a group of women in New Zealand over 2 1/2 years, and who recently reported her findings in a lecture at MUM. Not only are women less likely - because of shame - to report sexual abuse when it occurs when they are menstruating, but neither therapists nor the police are likely to mention menstruation in this connection. And nothing has been written about this link.
Swift said that some victims were reminded of the abuse with each subsequent period, and that PMS - premenstrual syndrome - seemed to be intensified as a result.
Of all reported sexual abuse, 65% occurred before menarche. One person interviewed believed as a girl that the abuse had brought on her menarche; another believed that her menarche would bring an end to the abuse.

In any case, the connection existed in silence.

Norwegians Visit History of Menstrual Protection Display

Lucky visitors can see the exhibit Women's Secret: from Papyrus to Modern Pad Technology at the Vestfold People's Museum in Norway, which started last year on the 50th anniversary of the founding of Saba Moelnlyke, the menstrual protection company.

English PhD Candidate Researches at MUM

Utilizing the museum's unique collection of adverteasing for her dissertation, a visitor on a grant from the Southampton Institute in the United Kingdom photographed and photocopied for a day at MUM. The director of MUM arranged for a visit to the menstrual products collection of the Smithsonian Institution as well as a visit to the collection of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Washington.
Many candidates for advanced degrees as well as undergraduates, writers, advertising agencies and others have explored the collection at MUM.
Casual visitors are welcome to see the museum displays on weekends by appointment - and hundreds already have! There is no charge. Please call ahead for arrangements.

Donors Add to the Collections

Dozens of wonderful people have donated hundreds of items to the museum. Recently two readers of the Norwegian travel magazine Vagabond, which had an article about this museum, sent Norwegian magazine adverteasements and items relating to European tampons and pads.

And in early April a reader of last year's Chicago Tribune article about MUM sent some possessions of her recently deceased mother, who had been married to an adverteasing man for Kotex. These include pristine boxes of Wix, possibly the first commercial tampon (early 1930's, before even Tampax!); unopened boxes of Fax, a tampon of the same period, which adverteased itself as "The Internal Sanitary Napkin" (!) and "Modern Woman's Best Friend" (left); and unopened boxes of Fibs (clever name, huh?), the first Kotex tampon (1930's). Included also are rare dealer displays, a promotional sheet for Fax entitled "Introducing Profit in Sanitary Napkins" aimed at dealers (the illustration above is from this sheet), the first instructional sheet for Tampax (1936) and a 1937 newspaper ad for Tampax.

MUM is deeply thankful to these donors. It is through such generosity that MUM becomes ever more useful to researchers and the public!

MUM Looks for Additions

Do you have or know of items which belong in the Museum of Menstruation? These can be articles, books, ads, actual products (but unused!), packaging, pictures or silly, kitschy things - and anecdotes or reports from any culture. Actually ANYTHING concerning menstruation in any culture, however humble, is a welcome addition to the museum and archive.
Scholars and the public from around the world look to the museum as a source for cultural information about menstruation, and you can help them!
The museum is expanding its collection, and is seeking a completely public place for its exhibits and archive - and future cafe, shop and meeting and lecture halls.
Being considered also is a unique display of the history of women's health, an expansion of the concept of the museum.

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© 1996 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 hfinley@mum.org