Thursday, May 24, 2018 | Last Update : 12:12 AM IST
As an offshoot, the campaign has also highlighted alternatives for disposable menstrual products.
Akshay Kumar's #PadManChallenge brings to fore the issues around the popular sanitary napkin. As an offshoot, the campaign has also highlighted alternatives for
disposable menstrual products.
Akshay Kumar’s film Pad Man has the country talking about menstrual hygiene. The film talks about breaking one of the oldest taboos we have living in India — the social stigma around the menstrual cycle. The brains behind Pad Man started the #PadManChallenge which “challenges” people to open a sanitary napkin, pose with it and share the picture, nominating three other people to take it up.
Ever since the challenge went on floors early this week, several A-listers have taken the challenge up and nominated others to do the same. From those closely associated with the film including Akshay, Radhika Apte, R Balki and Sonam Kapoor to those wishing the film well such as Anushka Sharma, Varun Dhawan, and Aamir Khan — actors and actresses haven’t stopped at anything from taking up the online dare.
However, praise is not all that the campaign has received. A lot of people have accused the #PadManChallenge to lead to wastage of sanitary napkins since it cannot be used in the future.
While writer and comedian Supriya Joshi believes that the campaign has helped in starting a conversation, she thinks it is wasteful. “I feel like one could do the campaign even with an unopened pad,” she says, unimpressed.
This was the very same reason that copywriter Nishant Pratap didn’t pose with a sanitary napkin. “The #PadManChallenge intrigued me enough for me to share a post on that doing my bit to create awareness,” he recalls. However, a chance conversation with his wife shed light on how a napkin becomes unusable once opened. “So I just drew a pad on my tablet and shared it. Mission still accomplished!” he chimes.
Even as Bollywood’s biggest stars take to their social media accounts to partake in this challenge and spread awareness about sanitary napkins and menstrual hygiene, the challenge has grown different branches. Others chose not to share pictures with a sanitary napkin. Instead, they want to create awareness about sustainable, environment-friendly and reusable menstrual hygiene products such as cloth pads and menstrual cups. Dia Mirza, an advocate of the same, being one of them.
Shaili Chopra from SheThePeople, a platform for women and by women, stresses on the importance of creating awareness about sustainable menstrual products. “If we were to look into the options available for women for the monthly menses, it goes undoubted that the most common, and popular, option is the sanitary pads. However, are they the best option available? I don’t think so,” she begins. She quotes several issues from the items used in making a napkin to the price they are marketed at as
hampering the movement.
At the same time, she explains why cups make for a better option. “Reusable menstrual cups, since made from silicone, are hygienic and monetarily frugal in the long run,” she says.
Supriya thinks it is a crucial time to promote more sustainable means. “I think that a lot of women (like myself) don’t turn to such products because they don’t even know of their existence. How they can prove to be a better alternative to the sanitary napkins we are so used to,” she laments.
Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee shares this perspective. “I am all in support for sustainable alternatives, but I question their availability — do women from all strata of society have access to these?” she questions, adding that at these are widely only available in metropolitan cities at most.
Nishant believes an entire new challenge will be required to make these alternatives mainstream. “I think the idea of de-stigmatising a woman’s period is priority. For sustainable alternative to go mainstream will take another #PadManChallenge,” he concludes.