Join 3,375 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


MUM's the word: The Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health
May 27, 2009 4:54 PM   Subscribe

"May God close your horable museum." Because I can't believe this has never been the subject of a full post here before, although it keeps popping up in comments: The Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health. The inimitable Harry Finley has assembled a dizzying and oddly comprehensive site. It may be a bit much to take in one go (dilute, dilute, OK?), but you might dip in at: menstrual slapping; patent medicines; facts of life booklets; the Little Doozee; pre-twentieth century menstrual products and practices; Lysol douching, yay and nay; or the tour of the museum inside Harry's house (now closed). Also: cats, because Harry likes cats.
posted by maudlin (27 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oo, this looks interesting, but I'm afraid we've already reached our daily limit on posts that make us think about douching with Lysol.
posted by palliser at 5:13 PM on May 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've seen this site before. A friend insisted that I find out about the history of menstrusl cups because she was into them and wanted to talk with me about them (honestly, I have no idea what she was up to). The site has a load of good and fairly interesting material, mostly the advertisements which are a real slice of history.

But what's with the design? It's barely a step up from Time Cube. I want to read about Pepsi-douches, but I feel a little uncomfortable.
posted by Sova at 5:22 PM on May 27, 2009


I think it's a bloody good design.
posted by gman at 5:32 PM on May 27, 2009


Reading this made me think that maybe men were (are) just scared of women and didn't (don't) understand them. If you didn't know what menstruation was you'd be freaked right out when your mom/sister/wife/lady friend started bleeding and cramping up. Even now it's hard to know what to do when women have their periods, because it's a pain that, as a man, I will never feel. If I'd been born 200, 500, a 1000 years ago, so much the scarier.
posted by seagull.apollo at 5:32 PM on May 27, 2009


Girls' zone.
posted by crossoverman at 5:45 PM on May 27, 2009


Hagar the Hoarable.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:09 PM on May 27, 2009


Girls' zone.

They sure do.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:16 PM on May 27, 2009


I found I had to read, with macabre fascination, the Lysol stuff. And then the efficiency expert from Cheaper by the Dozen surveyed young girls back in the day, to find the "perfect pad"*, and that was interesting reading, too.

*If you have a y chromosome, and do not have a clue what I am talking about, do not worry your pretty little head about it.**

**(NOT XY-IST)

posted by misha at 6:26 PM on May 27, 2009


Lysol douching?
posted by liza at 6:35 PM on May 27, 2009


This page from the site has a really interesting letter from an reader detailing what she knew of her family's practices in the 19th to mid-20th century rural south.
posted by frobozz at 6:37 PM on May 27, 2009 [8 favorites]


Lysol douching?

yeah, that was before DDT became commerically available.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:45 PM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, I had completely forgotten about that place. I lived in Baltimore for years and never went, although we always talked about going. I think it's because it was run by a man - I just assumed in my sexist way that he was a creep, since, you know, only a creep would have anything to do with periods. (When I was a young girl I thought that menstruation was secret knowledge, passed on only from mother to daughter. My mother mentioned that she'd told my father I'd started my period and I was horrified. Oh well. Turns out men know all about it.)

On reading through some of it, though, I take it back. He does not seem creepy at all and the site is fascinating. I've always wondered what women used before there were pads and tampons; figured it was bunches of rags; considered the whole washing them out thing and thought, eeep. This stuff is good to know and the letter at the bottom of this page is particularly worth reading - it gives a helpful recipe for poison, too.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:03 PM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn, frobozz. That's what I get for taking so long to write the comment.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:03 PM on May 27, 2009


I'm not going to be able to drink a Fresca without feeling it's somehow wrong.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:31 PM on May 27, 2009


It's clear from these comments that I probably shouldn't read anything on this site about the relevant uses of common comestibles, which means I'll almost certainly read it all.

Damn you, Metafilter.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 7:37 PM on May 27, 2009


Lysol douching? Gaaaah! Excuse me while I cross my legs. I've heard about it before, but it consistently squicks me out. There are only a few things that should go up my vagina, and Lysol ain't one of them.

Fascinating site to poke through, thank you! I'm loving all the old timey adverts.
posted by saturnine at 7:42 PM on May 27, 2009


I remember reading about this guy years ago in the Washington City Paper. The article was called "Keeper of the Kotex Codex". Couldn't forget that title.

According to this 1999 follow-up article, that was in 1994 -- unfortunately the City Paper's online archive starts in 1995.
posted by Herodios at 7:43 PM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


In New York state, condoms and hair loss remedies used by men are tax-exempt medical necessities. Menstrual products are not, meaning the 5.2 million New York women who use them are paying more than $10 million a year in sales tax to state and local governments for tampons and sanitary pads.

What the hell, NY?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:44 PM on May 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


"What the hell, NY?

As far as I know, it's the same in the UK.
posted by saturnine at 8:10 PM on May 27, 2009


menstruating is a CHOICE, not a genetic predisposition.
posted by qvantamon at 8:56 PM on May 27, 2009


I loved that site too, and made a monkeyfilter post from it. Here's to obsession, and the web's facilitation of same!
posted by goofyfoot at 10:02 PM on May 27, 2009


From perusing the NYState Department of Taxation and Finance's Guide to Sales Tax for Drugstores and Pharmacies it looks like hygiene and cosmetic products are taxable (tampons and pads, but also soap, toothpaste, lotion, etc.) and products containing a drug or medicine are not (Rogaine and other hair-loss treatments, but also dandruff shampoo, laxatives, athlete's foot treatments, etc.). All family planning products are tax exempt.*

The odd one in the list really seems to be hair-loss products. Hair loss is more a vanity and cosmetic issue than a medical one. A more sensible application of the rules would tax both Rogaine and menstrual products and the $10 mil. a year would still be going to the state.

A more radical and probably useful and interesting tax code would exempt menstrual products on the ground that sisters gotta buy that shit and brothers don't so let's do what we can to minimize the cost.

ANYWAY for some reason it felt important to get the facts on that one. Awesome site, thanks for the link.

--

* Making the phrase condoms and hair loss remedies used by men are tax-exempt medical necessities rhetorically strong but misleading. Birth control pills, female condoms, and diaphragms are as equally untaxed as condoms. Also, Rogaine ain't just for men.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:31 PM on May 27, 2009


I'll see you one menstruation museum and raise you a smegma art gallery. I am confident the link is out there but am unwilling to look for it.
posted by srboisvert at 2:42 AM on May 28, 2009


In New York state, condoms and hair loss remedies used by men are tax-exempt medical necessities. Menstrual products are not, meaning the 5.2 million New York women who use them are paying more than $10 million a year in sales tax to state and local governments for tampons and sanitary pads.

What the hell, NY?


You think that's bad? Condoms, Rogaine, and Viagra can be paid for out of my Health Savings account, and such purchases reduce my taxable discretionary income. Menstrual products, since they are for "cosmetics or hygiene", do not qualify.
posted by muddgirl at 7:26 AM on May 28, 2009


Considering that I first learned about menstruation from reading Carrie, this ain't so bad. Well, OK, except for the bit about how factory women used to just bleed out onto the floor. WTF, y'all.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:52 AM on May 28, 2009


Gräfenberg Spot (G-spot) An alleged area in the vagina and urethra that is very sexually responsive

Only a man could refer to this as "an alleged area."
posted by notashroom at 10:52 AM on May 28, 2009


I learned the other day that women have a prostate gland. Used to be called something else, but a few years back TPTB decided it was a prostate.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:39 PM on May 28, 2009


« Older On Sunday New York City closed two of the busiest ...  |  Prince Marcus Von Anhalt (pain... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments