Do Bears Like the Odor of Menstruation?

Yesterday a geologist visited this museum. She got wind of MUM, so to speak, when she was searching the 'Net to see if she should worry about attracting bears when she roamed the wilds of Canada on a field trip, a time she would be menstruating. She had minored in women's studies, and decided to drive down to MUM with another, male geologist.

She discovered, as have I, that there is little evidence that animals are attracted to the odor - even sharks. It's way down, it seems, on most animals' list of things to linger by.

Hm, this probably only emphasizes most women's fears about the odor, which advertising has preyed upon since who knows when. "Not feeling fresh?"

There really are more important things to worry about, such as black bears chasing you, so now you can relax. But watch out for polar bears!

Read about black bears, polar bears, sharks and other creatures, including humans, in menstrual odor and animals. If you know of other, especially contradictory information, please send it to me! Women friends have told me that dogs seem awfully interested in you-know-where when they - my friends, that is; dogs don't menstruate, although certain other mammals do - are menstruating. But dogs zero in on men, too, so it may just be a generic genital odor. Is there such a thing?

Don't Stop Writing NOW!

Ahem:This e-mail speaks for itself:

Mr. Finley,

As I finish my ten-page research paper, I decided I had best drop you a line and thank you for informing and inspiring me. First, an introduction: I am a college student who stumbled upon your Web site by accident. I was intrigued right from the very start. I gushed (no pun intended) about it to my friends, some of them male. Much to my surprise, only one responded with "I don't want to hear about it." Quite a few of my friends found your Web site to be interesting and informative and we all learned something new.

I was fascinated at how advertising reflects our taboos regarding menstruation and how the growing popularity of tampons also is reflective of our hush-hush nature. If it were socially acceptable to menstruate, women probably wouldn't worry so much about people finding out and wouldn't expose themselves to the risks. Also, if tampons prove to be a health risk, why isn't something being done about it? My research paper for English explores the connection between present-day attitudes towards menstruation and the FDA's laxity in regulating the production of tampons. It's not great but it's been interesting to research and discuss, although my family has become afraid that I'll start talking about tampons whenever I open my mouth.

I am actually thrilled that a man is running the show here - sad to say that if it were curated by a woman, she'd be accused of being some feminist weirdo. [I guess I'm just a regular wierdo.] The message I got from your museum is that menstruation isn't gross or shameful but natural and actually fascinating.

On a more personal note, my eyes have been opened - for years I have been using tampons and have been exposing myself to chemicals I definitely don't want to insert into myself 5 times a day, 60 days a year, for about 30 more years. I think it's great that you give some support to lesser-known but safer and less expensive alternative methods so that women know they aren't stuck with what's on the supermarket shelf.

Again, thank you. By the way, I love your Web page design!

There's always room on the News page for undiluted, effusive praise.

Did the Egyptians Invent a Menstrual Cup?

Another reader has found the secret to getting a letter printed on this page!

I am so impressed by the Web page and the idea behind the museum! I wish I could actually visit. I am just writing to ask if you are exhibiting any of the other types of menstration products, such as "Instead," the most recent addition to the market. [Yes! See Comments About Menstrual Cups and a history of the menstrual cup. I'll talk about sponges and other devices later.]

I was describing this contraption to my mother, saying how new it was, and she shocked me by telling me the ancient Egyptians also used an item like this and Jewish women saved and used their menses to remove salt deposits on boats.

Now, I have no idea if what my mother says is true, but I found it interesting and thought perhaps you would either like to hear it or would know more about these things. Thanks!

Does anyone know anything about this? According to Hippocrates (see the bottom of the page), ancient Egyptian women did use tampons - but cups?

Speaking of Menstrual Cups . . .

Can someone tell me where to get the menstrual cup apparently made and used in China? I'm told it has a drain emptying out of the vagina, which would probably kill it as an item used by American women, as well as in many other places.

Calling All Menstrual Painters, I!

A recent visitor to the museum left this request:

I am creating a show on menstruation and menopause, and looking for work in all media. It can be from a spiritual, cultural, personal, or historical perspective.

The show runs 9 - 19 April 1998 at the Pentucket Arts Center, Haverhill, Massachusetts (U.S.A.).

As soon as you can, contact Amy Shutt, Bradford College, Box 511, Bradford, MA 01835 (U.S.A.). Phone: (978) 469-1323, or e-mail:

I need your work or proposals as soon as possible!

Calling All Menstrual Painters, II!

And here's another request:

Hi, I'm a student from Australia trying to contact some feminist artists who use menstrual blood as a medium - are you able to help me out? It would be much appreciated.

laura :


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