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Ultrafem Gives Instead Cup Dress to Your MUM

Seldom in the fashion avant garde, your MUM will not be a wallflower at the Museum of Menstruation Spring Ball, especially if somebody has an emergency.

The good people at Ultrafem, which makes the oft-discussed-on-these-pages Instead menstrual cup, sent this museum a weighty gown (photo here) made of hundreds of cups and satin (at left, drawn by the resident fashion artist, the MUM director) and the following letter:

Enclosed please find the INSTEAD SoftCup dress that was used to generate excitement and PR [public relations] during the INSTEAD launch. We hope that you will proudly display the SoftCup dress as a meaningful part of the history of menstruation and as an alternative to traditional pads and tampons.

Tonya G. Hinch, Office of the CEO, Sr. VP, Marketing & Sales

Dori Reap, Office of the CEO, Sr. VP & CFO

Another staff member told me that Audrey Contente, the inventor of the cup, made and wore the dress on many occasions.

I will indeed display the dress with pride, and I thank you people at Ultrafem for taking the long view and allowing people in the future to enjoy it, and learn what it stands for!

Letters to Your MUM

Why Did a Man Start This Museum?

Just a word of note: you mentioned a woman had not started a museum of menstruation. No doubt it's because we LIVE IT every month, so why bother? [My thought exactly.] Just a thought. I will check it out more and let you know what I think of the rest!!

Guess somebody had to do it--why NOT a man? Maybe you would gain more of an appreciation. The comment about the idea it might have been a lesbian or a feminist would be better removed. No sense offending any women who MAY be checking out the site!! I am neither and it offended me. Just so you know.

Why Didn't They Refine Instead?

Hi! Love yer page . . .

My aunt received a trial package of Instead [menstrual cup] a few months ago and was less than intrigued. She passed the package on to me. I tried it. I don't have a problem with the insertion/withdrawal process; I feel very comfortable with my menstrual blood, and with my body parts in general.

My problem with Instead is that it didn't seem to want to stay in place. It stayed in place the first time I used it, but the second time I used it kept popping out of place. It didn't seem all that comfortable, but I'm wondering if that's because the one-size-fits-all thing just isn't true. Perhaps if it came in more sizes or something. I personally think it's a fabulous concept but maybe it needs a little more fine tuning.

I'm sad to hear about the rumors of the Ultrafem folding. [I am too. Having a choice is always better.] If wymyn would just get in touch with their bodies and their blood, the world would be a much better place [Absolutely!].

Why Don't You Visit

Dear Mr. Finley,

I first heard of MUM several years ago and found the idea fascinating. I filed it away in the back of my brain and all but forgot, as I'm in California and can't visit.

Thank you for taking the time to put so much of the information from the museum online. Now I don't feel nearly as left out on the huge amount of information in the museum.

Also, I wanted to let you know about a new page I've created called Bleed at

It has many links to MUM, one of the best sites I've seen dealing with this subject. [Thank you!] It also features my personal menstrual diary and a place for other women and men to post their experiences. It's only a few weeks old, but I've already had so much wonderful feedback and submissions. I hope you will find the time to take a look.

Thank you again for MUM and especially for MUM online.

Menstrually Yours,

Erica Jackson

"Other culture's beliefs and approaches to things like menstruation, childbirth, etc."

Dear Mr. Finley:

Thank you for having the vision (and nerve) to create and maintain this MUM and to put info about it on the web. I'm getting my Ph.D. in history, with an emphasis on material culture. I've always wondered about things like menstruation-- not just attitudes toward it, but its material culture too. The nuts and bolts of daily living rarely make it into history books or even into the primary source documents. Your collection represents a considerable achievement. [Many thanks! It's meant to be the nuts and bolts of menstruation.]

If I ever learn anything about menstruation in Guatemala, the country I work on, I'll be sure to send it to you. I would be very interested to learn about other culture's beliefs and approaches to things like menstruation, childbirth, etc. and hope you are able to continue your work along these lines. [Your MUM has only scattered information about women's health from non-European cultures, and welcomes more from any source.]

By the way, as soon as my daughters get home from school I'm going to tell them about this museum and Web site. I think it's a terrific teaching tool. I don't suppose all parents share my view, but too bad for them. Thank goodness for the First Amendment [Hear! Hear! and See! See!], and thank you!

[In a later note the writer added: "Kids are even more embarrassed about menstruation than adults are. It's interesting: I am NOT embarrassed and have never conveyed shame, but my kids seem to have learned it anyway. I guess they get it from their friends and from the media."]

Are You There, Surfers? It's Me, Judy Blume!

Judy Blume, who wrote the very popular novel Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret about a girl having her first period, has a Web site at


© 1998 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

New this week: Kotex box 1969 (U.S.A.) - Humor in advertising: Dr. White's tampons (United Kingdom) - Ads for teens: Carefree panty pads (Germany)

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