President Dan Visits MUM

Your MUM welcomed last Sunday the president of The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, Professor Alice Dan, of the University of Illinois, and friends. It was a pleasure to show her the exhibits that she had only heard about or seen on this Web site. Dr. Dan was the founding president of the society twenty years ago, and is the only person to serve twice in that capacity. The director of MUM is a member of the society.

Dr. Dan said she would send some menstrual jokes to MUM for MUMmification - no, no, that's not the right word - for the museum's archives and as picker-uppers (my word) for the tour guide (me, the director).

Keeping Up with The Keeper

And I had a long talk with Lou Crawford recently, the developer and maker of The Keeper menstrual cup.

Did you know that a close second to The Keeper as a possibility for the name for the cup was Liberty Bell, both because of its shape as well as the liberating qualities of the cup itself? Liberation from debt, for example, because over its ten-year life span it figures out to about $3.50 a year.

Lou passionately collects old photographs as a hobby. She started out with postcards; now she's looking for tintypes, daguerreotypes, stereoscopic cards, and the like.

Now I can progress in my history of the menstrual cup. Look for more on The Keeper next week in that section.

Padette Changes to Miniform

Last year I wrote about the Padette, a tiny chunk of rayon (left) placed between the lips of the vulva - not outside them, and not inserted into the vagina - to absorb light urine leakage, light menstruation, or other discharge.

Recently Sarah Van Dyck, director of marketing and sales for A-Fem, which makes Miniform, in Portland, Oregon (U.S.A.), sent me a new package of information about the Miniform, which is what they now call the Padette.

(To me, the former name Padette was more descriptive, but probably a new marketing campaign, which is what this is, needs a new name to sell.)

By the way, A-Fem sent me an item about Miniform printed in the October 1997 issue of Teen magazine. In it we read, "They [Miniforms] stay outside the vagina and are held by your private's skin fold . . . ." Good luck finding a private these days, what with the cutback in the armed forces! And you'll need to know some hand-to-hand combat to get it into that skin fold; these people are trained killers and mighty touchy!

Howl at the Moon, Lunatics!

Wait! Stay in your seats! Let me explain!

Emily Simpson called me six months ago, saying she's developing something that realistically deals with the form of women's bodies.

Last week I got her pamphlet and letter, and her development is bodywise, which she says means dynamic self-acceptance, caring for the environment of your body, mind and spirit. And she's expressed this in a line of underwear, including what you see hanging on the clothesline above, which is a neat postcard she's made for the company.

Here's part of what she just wrote me:

Well, we finally did it - the "lunatic pants" [with a red crotch for menstrual days] are born . . . to howl at the moon in style.

Emily said they are cotton Lycra, with no waistband, so they expand comfortably as you expand during your cycle. The underpants have a wide crotch to hold the pad better, and the back part is cut on a curve for comfort.

She's in Australia, incidentally, but that shouldn't stop you from calling her at 02 9361 6052. Her address is Full Bloom PTY Limited, 29 Cambridge St., Paddington, NSW 2021, Australia. The fax is 02 9331 5784.

By the way, the company has one of the most graceful logos around (the black circle), and employs a clever marketer.

Sweet, But Sometimes Sour

Four years ago, the year before MUM opened, when I started the now-defunct newsletter Catamenia, Kathleen O'Grady was about the first to subscribe. Now she writes that she is at Cambridge University, working on her PhD, and has just published a book. Here's her press release:


Kathleen O'Grady and Paula Wansbrough. Toronto: Second Story Press, 1997. ISBN: 0-929005-33-3

Adolescent Health/Parenting

Short Stories and factual information about menstruation.

The ideal resource for

*adolescent girls anticipating their first period

*all young women who want to learn more about the changes that a woman's body goes through during this time in her life.

"What's going on with my body" "What does menstruation feel like?" "How will my friends react?" Unlike the standard "just-the-facts" approach, this book of short stories and factual information provides the reader with her very own confidantes, others who share a common experience.

Sweet Secrets dispels the myths with current, up-to-date health information about menstruation. A unique and reassuring collection, it empowers young women to celebrate this rite of passage with informed confidence.


Sweet Secrets is an approachable, invigorating resource for young women and an ideal health information tool. I particularly love how the authors integrate ecological concerns throughout the book. How unique to hear young women's stories too!

-- Debbie Honickman, MD

If you have female children, this book is for you and for them.

-- Sue Johanson, RN, Sex Therapist, Television and Radio Host

About the authors:

Kathleen O'Grady is currently completing her PhD at Cambridge University,England. She has published several journal and book articles in the area of philosophy, religious studies and feminist theory. Reach her at

Paula Wansbrough is a youth and community worker in downtown Toronto. She teaches sex education, computer and Internet skills and is the former supervising editor of Venus: A Young Women's Health Newsletter. She has her MA in Religion and Cultural Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. Her e-mail is

Available at women's bookstores, other independent bookstores, and most Chapters bookstores for approximately $10.99. It is also available directly from Second Story Press or from Amazon Books Online

The Funniest Stuff You Run Into on the Web

A male professor of political science at a university in upstate New York was looking for a Sears snowblower a few weeks ago and ran into one of the MUM pages, because there was an ad from a Sears catalog on the page.

He e-mailed me that it's an amazing idea for a museum, and suggested to the Wall Street Journal they do a story.

You never know who you're going to meet!

Stay Healthy On the Web!

This just in:

Because of your response to healthfinder (tm), we know that you and your organization have an interest in health promotion and disease prevention. So we'd like to let you know about our new Healthy People 2010 website at and to ask those who have not heard about Healthy People 2010 to consider promoting the new site to their constituencies on the Internet.

Healthy People 2010 is the continuation of the national prevention initiative Healthy People 2000. Development of Healthy People 2010 has begun with members of the Healthy People Consortium, an alliance of over 600 national membership organizations. Overall development is guided by the Secretary's Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2010.

We're inviting you to comment on the new proposed framework for Healthy People 2010. The public comment period will end on December 15,1997, so take a look at the site and let us know what you think. We also hope that you'll link to the site so your users will have an opportunity to participate in the development of the Healthy People 2010 program.

For more information on the Healthy People 2010 process, send e-mail to

For those of you who wrote to us, or linked to us, traffic on the healthfinder (tm) web site, the one-stop gateway to consumer health and human services information launched by Secretary Shalala on April 15,1997, increased by 20 percent in September and another 15 percent in October thus far. Total hits for the first 6 months of operation--through October 15--were 14.1 million; total user sessions in the same period were 724,265.

The Keeper v. Instead, etc.

Some recent e-mail in the ongoing discussion of cups (there's more here):

I tried everything, pads, tampons, Instead & currently own a Keeper which I'm delighted with. When I used Instead I could feel it, no matter how I adjusted it and worst of all, I had more leakage problems with Instead. Plus I found Instead to be extremely messy, more so then The Keeper.The Keeper is great! No leakage at night! For me this is a blessing. No matter what I wore I normally had leakage problems at night. Not with The Keeper! No more maxi's with panties! With The Keeper I appreciate the fact that it is extremely inexpensive, when the cost is averaged over 10 years. I am not putting dioxins or toxins into my body, it's super convenient, your wear it, you don't need to bring extra things. Women need to get over their own personal biases against menstrual blood.

Hello, I like your site. A few comments about The Keeper and other "suction" devices like the cervical cap, etc.

I am a student of Chinese Medicine and over the years of training have discovered that stagnation is a key factor in many diseases relating to women's cycles. I used to use a cervical cap and after a visit to the doctor for a Pap test she commented on how the cervix appeared as thought it had a bruise or hickey on it. We agreed it was from the use of the cap. After later thinking about it, I began to realize that healthy tissue needs oxygen and blood to flow freely around it and that the use of these products may have its pros, its also has strong cons. These may not show up immediately but on the long term use of these products I predict stagnation (Chinese term) problems occurring in women using these products. Stagnation causes pain, cramps, clots, bloating, etc., during the cycle. Just another view point to consider.

You may like to visit my home page - I sell a RED tonic to help with the moon time problems of women.

Compassion and Awareness to all.

Vera Zyla China Tonics (604)538-9682 E-mail:

Pms, Arthritis, Hay fever and Menopause tonics available at:

I've been using Instead now for my second period. As I used O.B. tampons, the insertion didn't bother me. However, I did have one night of leakage, but as the flow was heavier the third night and no leakage, I must not have had it positioned correctly. I do have a problem with having leakage or having to empty and re-insert Instead after a bowl movement . . . any one else have this problem?

I don't think I'd want a Keeper because one couldn't use it during intercourse, and as I spot for days and days past day six, (and I dislike washing bedding) this is a real advantage for me and my husband. Can't The Keeper be made more like Instead, reusable and without the tail? Then I'd probably buy one.

Thanks for all the info.

Sonny, You Make Your MUMmy Proud . . .

This e-mail just crackled through my wire:

I'm a 20-year old male student. I'm from Portugal and I'm studying design. The reason I'm sending this e-mail is because your site helped me and my work group in a work project, the subject of which was tampons. The work was about the appearance and evolution of the tampon.

You're probably wondering what that has to do with design - so am I - but in a group you don't just do what you want!!

Anyway I had no idea that it would be so interesting . . . . Thank you and the best of luck!!

. . . and More Great Mail!

Hey! I just wanted to say that I think this page is absolutely fabulous. I visit it every time you update it. Anyhow, I'm 16 and am very interested in the menstrual cups section as I am a ballerina and a swimmer. I am interested in The Keeper but I don't know if it would fit me. I'd be interested in seeing any comments by people under 20 on using The Keeper. I don't have an e-mail address so maybe you could post any responses you get.

By the way, I think that lady who said a woman should answer questions [in the letter "A subconscious feeling of being impure" on an earlier news page] doesn't get it about your museum. It's not a doctor's office. There's plenty of places on the Web for questions if they're personal, and if they're not, why not ask you?

Again, thanks so much for your page!!

I heard about your museum through BUST magazine and today I saw the Web site for the first time . . . . In high school, friends of mine would say that we were "rafting through the rivers of red" after a line in a Slayer song.

WOW! I just saw your menstrual museum site! Great! I don't think it's weird, but then my dissertation title is: "Celebrating Menarche: A New Paradigm for Menstrual Education." Perhaps your friend on the board who is studying menarche would be interested.

I also wrote five short stories for young women: "Passages to Womanhood: Stories of Celebration for Young Women." One story is soon to be published.

Thanks for having the guts, creativity, and sense of humor for creating MUM! I also think your artwork is excellent.


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