Lycos Rates This Site Top 5%!

In a colossal error of judgment, Lycos sent me this e-mail recently, which reads, in part:

Congratulations! Your site: has been selected as one of the best sites on the Web by Lycos TOP 5%.

Lycos TOP 5% is the oldest and most prestigious Web site directory. Since 1994, our expert reviewers have scoured the Internet to select only the finest sites. Each site in TOP 5% includes a detailed review describing its editorial and visual merits. TOP 5% was named the #1 Website review service by Internet World Magazine.

. . .

Thanks -- and again, congratulations!


Tim Riley

Senior Editor

Lycos TOP 5%

And here's the review (click the Lycos logo above if you, too, can't believe it!)

This tour of the actual museum celebrates the culture of menstruation, providing comfort, confidence and yes, convenience. The Washington, D.C. museum was founded in 1994 by Harry Finley, the wry fellow who designed the Website. The F.A.Q. and Harry's story (how does a guy decide start a museum of menstruation?) are introductions to what is mostly a history of sanitary napkin advertising history, a international look at how marketing departments deal with discreet topics. There are artifacts as well as ads, though, including antique Kotex machines and a costume made of sanitary pads. A fun history of a serious subject.

Thanks, Mr. Riley! After you get fired you can help me catalog tampons!

Tour Your MUM on Video!

You may now see part of this museum on the Web in a clever video made here a week ago!

Download first the RealVideo plugin from You need at least a Pentium 133 (or the Mac equivalent) and a 28.8 modem. Then click into (You may have to enter their archive.) Visit when Web traffic is light.

One caution: Some viewers will be delighted, others offended, by the video staffers' introductory five-minute discussion of the joys of menstrual sex; read my view, if you want. Afterwards, your MUM skips in, tap dancing the last twenty minutes; I hope you like her - tee-hee - as much as I do!

Thanks very much, Carla and crew! You are an interesting, intelligent, fun bunch of people!


This e-mail just tickled the wire:

Dear Mr. Finley,

From one guy to another, YOU'RE OUT OF CONTROL!!!

Used-Pad Flag Offends Japanese

Another reader of this site e-mailed the following to me:

OSLO (Reuters) - An advertisement in a Norwegian newspaper comparing the Japanese flag to a used sanitary napkin sparked protests Tuesday from the Japanese embassy in Oslo.

The ad, placed in the run-up to next month's Winter Olympics in Nagano, showed a white sanitary napkin with a blood-red spot in the middle.

"We wish the female participants luck in Nagano," read the caption, written in Japanese-style script.

Japan's flag, symbolizing the rising sun, is a red circle on a white background.

"We have sent a so-called protest letter to both the newspaper and the company," diplomat Keisuke Ikegami told Reuters.

"This is an unmistakable image of the Japanese flag. . . . We hope that such misuse of the Japanese national symbol won't occur again," he said. "We don't think this is creative advertising at all."

Swedish company SABA Mølynlycke, the maker of the sanitary napkin, said the company regretted any offense caused by the ad, which ran Sunday in Norway's biggest selling daily, Verdens Gang.

Read more about the Norwegian branch of Saba Mølnlycke and its menstruation exhibit, and about Japanese attitudes, which can be more prudish than American!

At times, as discussed by Patricia Crawford in "Attitudes to Menstruation in Seventeenth Century England," European society has regarded a "menstruous rag"- that's almost the same as a menstruous flag - as about the most offensive object imaginable, an attitude not conducive to having a nice day.

Pages Will List Books, Articles, News About Science and Medicine, Letters and Links

An e-mail on the News page from last week jostled me into gathering related information onto separate pages - child's play to you, but not to this unorganized Mensch.

I will be combing this site for links, scientific news about menstruation and women's health, letters, and books and articles about menstruation, and putting them on their own pages. The authors of Sweet Secrets: Stories of Menstruation, Kathleen O'Grady and Paula Wansbrough, supplied the great bulk of the articles and books, a bibliographic masterpiece.

Please e-mail your ideas for additions to these pages! I want to provide one-stop information for the world of menstruation, and I have a long way to go.

Hormones Do Cause PMS, Says Latest Study, and There is a Treatment

By blocking the natural production of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone in test subjects' bodies, and giving the women varying amounts of substitute hormones over a period of weeks, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, (U.S.A.), showed that the characteristic mood changes of premenstrual syndrome could be produced at will in women who normally have such problems.

The scientists theorize that women who get PMS have a different sensitivity to the mood-destabilizing effects of hormones than most women.

The drug used to block the natural hormones' effects in the study, leuprolide, is already widely used in PMS treatment, as are certain anti-depression medications, which affect the levels of serotonin in the body. Search here for earlier articles on these anti-depression medications.

The study appeared in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

By the way, the director of a menstrual disorders clinic on the west coast, part of a university medical school, visited MUM two years ago. She said that almost all severe cases of PMS she saw were in women who already had serious psychological problems. I don't know if this recent news affects that viewpoint.

A Great Place to Buy The Keeper Menstrual Cup!

Miki Walsh, a member of the board of this museum, also has a very good deal on The Keeper menstrual cup, which she loves. Mail her!

And Speaking of The Keeper,

as this jubilant does:


I received my Keeper in the mail a month ago and just recently got to try it!!! I'm so proud of my Keeper. The first day I used it I announced it to the whole cafeteria at breakfast in my high school. [The woman is mad!] I was/am really excited about these new innovations.

After I finished a whole cycle I told everyone in my gay pride group about The Keeper and grossed them all out. Haha... oh, well.

See, I love getting my period. I can't explain it, but thanx fer talking bout The Keeper on yer site. This is my fave Web site and I visit it often. Keep up the good work!!!

As the editor, I should have [sic] ed right and left, but you would not have enjoyed it as much!

Do You Take Me for a Fool??

This suspicious letter arrived by messenger at midnight! No, no, just kidding. I'm getting carried away.

I liked your site very much but I would have like it better if it had addressed using mind control to limit the duration of your menstruation. When I was young my mother told me that I could control it and somehow I did. I limited my cycle to three days. I felt that was long enough to stay healthy. I have since done drugs and went back to a five-day menstruation. I no longer obtain what I needed to do it again. [?] Has this area ever been explored?


2 days too long

What better reason to avoid drugs!

I'm not sure. Can anyone answer her question?

Did I Say That?


I saw your Web address in a magazine so I thought I would check out your site.

I was surprised to know that there was a museum on menstruation. Your sight is interesting and I hope I can visit the museum some day.

I do have doubts that any woman would enjoy wearing a washable pad---but of course you are a man, so I guess I could see why you might say that. Ha. Keep up the good work.

Men say stupid things all the time. But I'm your MUM - remember?

Tampactic Web Site!

This arrived from the rarefied atmosphere of Oberlin College, in Ohio (U.S.A.):

I love your Web site, and definitely plan to visit the museum in the near future. This is wonderful!

My friend Liz and I are great fans of menstruation. I made a Web site for our 'organization' called Tample Hygenica [Registrar! Their parents must be notified immediately!] a few months ago . . . suddenly, this afternoon, I was struck by the thought, "Hey - maybe there are otherTampactic Web sites out there!" So, I went to Yahoo to search. And I discovered your fabulous page. Please, do me the great favor of visiting my yet incomplete Web site. (With poetry and all...) Here is the URL:

Once again, I'd like to thank you for providing the world with a Museum of Menstruation. This is fabulous.

O Children of the Moon!! Let smiles crease your faces as your legs are slowly pulled by white-clad menstruants, singing a tune to flooded Diana, huntress of birds'-eye! Great MUM and Mack C. Padd watch, pleased, infinitely serene, seldom questioning!

You gotta see this - it's one of the funniest sites I have ever seen!!

Does the Moon Influence Menstruation?

A missive from Las Vegas:

Your site is downright weird. Well, I admire you for learning Norwegian, jeg snakker norsk ogsaa. (Self taught.)

Here's a question from a woman: can you tell me what the moon has to do with menstruation and how it could possibly affect when I start my period? I mean, isn't "moon" something to do with where the word menstruation originated from? Anyway, if you could add something like that to your site, it'd be cool.

Anyway, enjoyed it.

The word menses, which means menstruation, is derived from the Latin mensis, meaning months. Related words, like menstruation and menstrual, have similar origins. The connection between the moon and menstruation is probably because of the similarity of the length of the average menstrual period with the time the moon takes to go from one phase to that same phase again, although I know there are many people out there who will say the connection is tighter.

People have made this connection for millennia, and there are many beliefs in many cultures about the relationship; the topic seems endless.

This connection is vehemently denied, by the way, by the male author of a modern gynecology text I own.

The book Blood Magic:The Anthropology of Menstruation (edited by Thomas Buckley and Alma Gottlieb, University of California Press, 1988), cites studies that the authors say show that moonlight can indeed influence a menstrual cycle (for example, "Lunar periodicity in human reproduction: A likely unit of biological time," in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 77:905-914, 1959, by W. Menaker and A. Menaker; and "Lunar periodicity," in Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology 25:491-497, 1960, by C. Hauenschild.)

But Speaking of Blood Magic, Don't Always Believe That Article You Read

Last week I mentioned Sally Price, the Dittman Professor of American Studies at The College of William and Mary, who is that rare North American frequenter of menstrual huts; and she's written about it.

She sent me an article of hers, "The Curse's Blessing," from Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, (Volume XIV, Number 2), which treats the way we can color interpretations, and sometimes write things that just aren't true.

And she uses some items from the above-mentioned Blood Magic as examples.

She also discusses the wishful thinking - my term - that make some cultures seem to regard menstruation more favorably than the facts indicate, a situation which also occurs in Blood Magic.

Instead Likes Instead!

Someone whose return e-mail address contains the words Ultra Fem - the company that makes the Instead menstrual cup - snuck this one to me:

I LOVE it [Instead]! As a barrel-racing, horsy person, the Instead makes my long hours in the saddle more easy to bear, no soreness, no changing behind a tree on a trail ride. I tried the others, Keeper and Tassaway, too hard to insert, but INSTEAD is great!

It Smelled Like Something Good to Eat

Push that plate away first, then enjoy some history:

Hi. I read about your site in the January issue of Glamour Magazine. I just had to check it out right away! What an entertaining, informative, and FUN site to visit. I am going to put it in my "favorites" so I can show my all my friends!

I'm not old enough to have had to use the old-style methods, but I remember my mother telling stories of how all the men would know when the women had their periods because of all the "rags" hung out on the clothesline to dry. In the winter, they would have to dry them inside by the stove or they would freeze. Sometimes an animal would try to take them down from the line if they left them out overnight. I suppose it smelled like something good to eat!

Read the articles and discussion about menstrual odor!

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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