Remember when Malala took a picture with a pad and everyone started freaking out? (Should ring a bell, only happened last month.)
Now, a bunch of Bollywood celebrities are taking pictures with sanitary pads now. Why? Well, it’s all part of the PadMan Challenge. The stars have taken to either Twitter or Instagram to be a part of this challenge.
Akshay Kumar and Sonam Kapoor hopped on board. I mean, they are a part of Pad Man, the movie, after all.
However, like a snowball effect, many other stars soon became a part of this. Like Twinkle Khanna, for example.
Anil Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao were photographed holding pads as well.
As were Alia Bhatt…
…and Shabana Azmi.
India’s favorite Naagin, Mouni Roy, also shared a picture of her holding a pad…
…as did Arjun Kapoor.
Many others, like Aditi Rao Hydari…
…and Dia Mirza shared similar pictures.
And Aamir Khan, too, participated in the challenge.
We did a little digging into this PadMan Challenge to figure out what it was all about.
It all began with entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham. Arunachalam, a social entrepreneur from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, India, initially made headlines after news spread about his venture to make low-cost sanitary pads for the women of his village.
He began the #PadManchallenge on social media, which led to numerous stars being involved.
On the surface, it seems like a PR move by the crew involved in the production of Pad Man. However, it’s much more than that.
As sister nations, India and Pakistan have always struggled to hold a constructive conversation around menstruation. It’s still considered a taboo topic by many. While we debate over how “behaya” the topic is, we forget that there are countless young girls and women who can’t afford basic necessities like sanitary pads. They end up resorting to unhygienic methods to curb the blood flow.
A movie like Pad Man and a widespread social media challenge backed by prominent idols can only help the conversation around menstruation move further along.
We can’t all be Arunachalam Muruganantham.
But we can give brilliant minds like his the appreciation and push they deserve in the right direction. We can help facilitate change. And the first step is always constructive, beneficial dialogue. Bollywood’s doing its bit. Let’s hope the rest of India and Pakistan can follow suit.