Toxic Protection / Confidence Shock /  Forgembering /  MUMbering



Forgember:  Verb (combination ‘forget’ + ‘remember’) Definition: 


1. To publicly go through the motions of remembering, in such a way as to encourage others to forget


2. To encourage others to remember, but in such a way that they assign responsibility for past events to the wrong parties


(see also: blaming the victim)


3.  To inadvertently bring about remembrance of past events, without having had any intention of doing so 


Forgembering, forgembrance. Examples:  Forgembered history; solemn forgembrance; forgembering is easier than remembering


(see also: forgery, forge)









At the Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health (MUM), a number of web pages are devoted to tampon-related toxic shock syndrome (TR-TSS), all curated by Harry Finley. 


Regarding the disastrous Rely tampon, Finley tells the museum visitor:


“You’ll appreciate the irony of its name.”


However, Harry Finley’s own treatment of toxic shock is often ironic – so ironic, in fact, MUM has its own special version of forgembering – MUMbering.




 “Harry Finley, founder and former director of MUM, and creator of [MUM] Web site.”










MUM, topmost page banner, November 2006


Based on the childlike features and the ratio of head size to neck circumference, the portrait to the far right is probably of a prepubescent girl.


Thus at MUM, the image of someone who has not yet begun to menstruate is being used to represent tampon-related toxic shock victims.









Banner ads also accompany MUM toxic shock “exhibits.”  Below left, September 2006 banner ad.  Below right, for comparison purposes, medical artwork offered by, “Toxic Shock Syndrome / Etiology and Pathogenesis,” price:  $255 for one-year website license.






Look Great Naked
Who Else Wants to Look Sexy Naked? Ancient Slimming Secret Revealed!

Ads by Google - Advertise on this site












Directly below, November 2006 banner ad accompanying MUM toxic shock “exhibits.”  Further below, left, women with an interest in soul mates; right, women with an interest in something else.





Who's your Soul Mate?
Predict exactly, down to the name, who your Love Soul Mate is. Try it!







Romance Writers Convention

2005 St. Louis











2005 Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Conference Boulder, Colorado











MUM has received numerous endorsements, which are listed on the left-hand side of the MUM index page.  One of them is to the right [Font colors MUM]. 


Below is the page banner from the Planned Parenthood website.



"It's fabulous that somebody out there is

willing to . . . pull back the curtain."

Mona Miller, national media relations

director of the Planned Parenthood

Federation of America, discussing the

museum in The Prince George's

Journal, Maryland, U.S.A.








However, MUM’s analysis of why the toxic shock outbreak occurred has more in common with a gambler’s well-worn excuse, than a curator’s well-researched explanation:



“Very bad luck killed Procter & Gamble's tampon business in 1980. That luck came from the even worse luck of many women who used its very absorbent Rely tampon and either died or suffered other consequences from toxic shock syndrome, an illness that starts not only in the vagina but elsewhere and in men. (See and read more about Rely. And read the letter P&G sent to stop distribution of the tampon, and some 1970s articles criticizing the tampon.)”






The above hardly constitutes a “pulling back of the curtain,” or to put it another way, demystification, of the causal factors involved in the 1980s toxic shock outbreak in the United States.


To the right, a toxic shock curtain from – another example of the mystification, or “curtaining” of toxic shock syndrome.  What does the red dot mean?  The two fire extinguishers?  “Bad luck,” when curator Finley uses it to explain toxic shock?












Later in the same MUM toxic shock web page, curator Finley states:



“[P&G] re-entered [the tampon market] when it bought the premier name in tampons, in 1997, Tampax. It couldn't go wrong with a tampon tested since the early 1930s. Not that toxic shock cannot occur in any tampon, although it's very unlikely. And some women are more susceptible than others, which a test can determine.”











Below is a description of a 1993 legal case involving Tampax from  What went wrong:  Plaintiff not heeding warning insert; plaintiff suing based on “inadequate failure to warn” rather than “defective design”; plaintiff not receiving adequate medical care soon enough; plaintiff lulled into false sense of security by Tampax advertising; defective product design; plaintiff taught since early childhood to disregard feelings of discomfort or sickness because those feelings were inconvenient to others; or?



“For example, in Sloman v. Tambrands, Inc., 841 F. Supp. 699 (D. Md. 1993), the plaintiff contracted TSS resulting in the amputation of both of her legs. In her complaint against Tambrands, the manufacturer of Tambrands tampons, the plaintiff alleged that she developed TSS as a "direct and proximate result of using Defendant's 'Tampax' tampons and that Tambrands 'failed to adequately, properly, and fully warn her of the dangers of TSS and thus caused her to contract TSS.' " Id. at 700. The court granted summary judgment for Tambrands with respect to the warnings issue, holding that the defendant successfully demonstrated that it had complied with each of FDA's requirements. Id. at 702. "As mandated by 21C.F.R. § 801.430 (c), the tampon package included an alert statement worded precisely as required by the regulation, and Tampax's insert provided all the information about TSS required by 21 C.F.R. § 801.430(d)." Id.








But perhaps MOLT is being too hard on MUM; after all, how can we expect an unpaid and untrained museum curator to demystify TR-TSS, when Melanie P. Healey, President of Proctor & Gamble’s global feminine care division, even though “determined,” can’t demystify the menstrual cycle.






From the University of Richmond Alumni Profiles, Winter 2006:


“As president of Procter & Gamble’s global feminine care division, Melanie P. Healey is determined to demystify the menstrual cycle.


“There’s so much taboo about feminine care products globally,” says Healey, B’83. “Many women have negative attitudes about their bodies and getting their period. It’s a starting point for their teen years—how women perceive themselves. It can be positive or negative. We need to get the period out of the closet. We need to have this category be as positive a step toward womanhood as shaving is toward manhood.”








Kroger coupon receipt, November 11, 2006, picked up by happenstance in the midst of curating this exhibit.  Note the “white pearl” theme, leading to the conclusion that P&G President Healey’s actual strategy is to take menstruation “out of the closet...and into the jewelry box.”


Note that the only red on the receipt is the border of the Kroger’s logo...which brings us full circle, back to the Ritz Craker Tin at the beginning of this MOLTXIBIT.




Forgetting, remembering...or forgembering?











Mission Statement / Critique of the Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health:
Why do we need another museum of this kind?



Art, Poetry and Music

of the Menovulatory Lifetime

From Protection to Expression: The Future of Menstrual Advertising

Menstrual Monday

Broken Tampon Memorial Fountain


Menovulography:  the years from puberty to menopause, told as a story with pictures


Toxic Protection / Confidence Shock



Menstrual Synchrony, Suppression and Globalization

Contact MOLT




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