Toxic Protection / Confidence Shock /  Why Am I Sick?  /  Women’s Recipes




Despite considerable attention being given to such matters, mistakes continue to be made...



-- Denti et al., “Tampon Outer Surface Having Increasing Number of Written Identifiers To Indicate Absorbancy,” United States Patent #US 7,166,100 B2, Filed Dec. 9, 2005; Date of Patent Jan. 23, 2007











Sun Simiao’s “Essential Recipes Worth a Thousand Pieces of Gold for Every Emergency” is a 7th century Tang Dynasty collection of medical essays and recipes.  It addresses stopped and irregular menstrual flow, but not a symptom complex we would today recognize as toxic shock.


Researcher Sabine Wilms notes that the “comprehensive nature” of Sun Simiao’s work “shows that women’s medical treatment in the seventh century was performed by and contested between a large variety of practitioners, including literate male elites, professional midwives, other female members of the household or community, and religious specialists.”


Can you identify a few of the “large variety of practitioners” who were performing “women’s medical treatment” in late 20th century America, at the time of the toxic shock outbreak?





Dissertation cover (artist unknown),  from “The Female Body in Medieval Chinese Medicine:  A Translation and Interpretation of the “Women’s Recipes” in Sun Simiao’s BEIJI QIANJIN YAOFANG,”  Sabine Wilms, 2002















Although we may not be used to thinking of corporations that manufacture a variety of household items as “medical practitioners,” the tampons that some of them sell have been classified as “class II medical devices” under the Medical Device Amendments of 1976.


Thus, the advertisement to the left can be viewed as a prescription (or even, a “recipe”) for a particular medical treatment of menstruation – that is, exclusive use of the Rely superabsorbant tampon, to be left in the vagina much longer than “regular” tampons.


This advertisement / prescription / recipe also suggests to women what kind of activities they can engage in while undergoing treatment with the Rely tampon / medical device; and further, portrays one outcome of treatment as a pleasant mood.


Rely tampon magazine advertisement, artist(s) unknown, United States, circa 1980. 
















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

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