All thanks to social media, we have started believing that our world only exists online, in the midst of hashtags and social media trends. Recently I found the #PadManChallenge featuring on my news feed, an idea which is perhaps as revolutionary as it is absurd. On the one hand, it directly addresses the shame that women are often subjected to during their periods. But, in a country where only 12% women have access to sanitary napkins, using clean pads just to promote a movie feels like a complete waste of resources. If the celebrities wanted to drive home a powerful message, they could have held up their used pads, or menstrual cups of cotton pads which are reusable and doesn’t cause harm to the environment.
To what extent will superstars go for the sake of money? Why engage in a pointless activity instead of letting a film’s content speak for itself?
We live in a society where even a women’s bra is of a problem to many. Shopkeepers pack pads in endless newspapers and black plastic bags that makes the silence around the topic of menstruation even more deafening. Scores of young girls drop out of their schools on getting their periods simply because they don’t have access to clean and hygienic bathrooms. Anganwadi works are not equipped with enough resources or information to address the cause in the villages.
While I understand a film can only do so much, actors have a lot of influence on how common people form opinions and live their lives. As a country, we can’t afford to waste pads for the sake of promoting a movie. The intelligent and creative minds behind “Padman” should have come up with something better. We are a society which still utters the word ‘period’ in hushed tones and pads are taxed as luxury items.
Thanks to team Padman, people are talking about the stigma surrounding menstruation. But the conversation should continue well after the movie release and possible success.