#PadManChallenge: Netizens Join Comedienne Mallika Dua in Saying it is a Wastage of Sanitary Napkins; Call it “Marketing Gimmick”
Akshay Kumar’s much-awaited film PadMan hit the screens today and has been receiving some great reviews from the audiences and critics. The film, starring Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor, has been directed by R Balki. It is based on a short story in Twinkle Khanna’s book The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad and is inspired by the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social activist from Tamil Nadu, who invented a low-cost sanitary pad-making machine. To market this film, the makers came up with a unique idea, by asking celebrities to pose with a sanitary napkin in their hand. Starting with Akshay Kumar, a number of celebrities joined in the #PadManChallenge by posing with a sanitary napkin in their hand. But slowly, a voice against this marketing strategy is getting stronger on social media.
To put things in context, the challenge was aimed at reducing the shame around the menstruation and usage of sanitary pads. In India, a lot of women still use a cloth during periods as they cannot afford or are unaware of sanitary napkins. Celebrities participating in the challenge tagged at least two other celebrities, in order to continue the cycle of the challenge. However, comedienne Mallika Dua posted on Instagram saying that she is against this marketing strategy, and not the film. She said that while she wholeheartedly supports the film and that it could “de-stigmatise menstruation for the masses”, she was against the Instagram challenge that is “masking itself as a movement” when it is just a “marketing gimmick”.
Here is Mallika Dua’s post:
After this post, a number of people voiced their displeasure at this marketing gimmick masquerading as a movement. Comedienne Supriya Joshi also took to Facebook and dissed the movement. She opined that one shouldn’t waste sanitary napkins on “stupid marketing gimmicks”.
Here is Supriya Joshi’s post:
Dua and Joshi are not the only ones who find this challenge irrelevant. People on social media have stated that instead of posting pictures on social media, celebrities should go out and provide help in the real world. Giving free sanitary napkins to rural women and creating awareness among them should be the priority, said many users. People also pointed out that women on social media are already well aware of the usage of sanitary napkins and they are not really the target audience.
Here’s what those who oppose the challenge said:
Problem I have with this stupid challenge is that it is just momentarily, just for a movie promotion.
Posing with pad is just a waste of time and hunger for some likes, go and help those women who use a single piece of cloth.
— Pranav Jaradi (@pranavizhere) February 8, 2018
Find the real target audience, said many:
Unprivileged ladies who shares cotton clothes, go help them. The people who use social media already knows what is healthy and hygienic. The people who don’t use social media are the ones who actually need those sanitary napkins and awareness.
— Pranav Jaradi (@pranavizhere) February 8, 2018
Disgusting, said some:
Showing women empowerment by posing with Sanitary Pads is disgusting!!
Go to Indian villages and distribute the Sanitary Pads for free and it will be an empowerment by all means !! #PadMan #PadManChallenge
— Meher (@OfficialMeher) February 8, 2018
To all the Bollywood celebrities who are so proudly posing with a pad in their hands, can you please speak up about the 12% GST on sanitary napkins. Over 80% of women in India can’t afford to buy them. Just posing with a pad isn’t helping anyone. #PadMan #PadManChallenge
— Amena (@Fashionopolis) February 8, 2018
I’ll be more impressed when celebrities donate sanitary products to those who can’t afford it than when they post pictures with pads that only really just gets themselves more publicity #PadManChallenge
— rani padmavati (@Saisailu97) February 7, 2018
Many were furious:
Women in villages will not have instagram/twitter accounts to see #padmanchallenge is. In stead of posing with a pad use your time&energy to create menstrual hygiene awareness among women in remote areas. That will be an achievement and not this good for nothing bloody promotion.
— Daddy’s bacha ⚫ (@ManaliK13) February 8, 2018
The #PadManChallenge has been trending on social media for the past few days. From Karan Johar and Ranveer Singh to Deepika Padukone and Anushka Sharma, all the big names of Bollywood participated in the challenge. TV personalities like Karan Patel, producer Ekta Kapoor and sports personalities like PV Sindhu also participated. The film is based on Arunachalam Muruganantham, who not only created a low-cost sanitary pad-making machine, but also generated awareness about traditional unhygienic practices around menstruation in rural India. In 2014, he was included in Time magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People in the World and in 2016, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India.