Akshay Kumar starrer PadMan started out as a Bollywood film with a social message but now it has gone beyond just being a film. As a movement to break the stigma around sanitary pads gathers by celebrities posing with it, one can only wonder if such social media frenzy of our stars will really add up to an awakening at the grassroots or will it just quantify as money for Kumar’s exchequer. While most stars joined the tirade of the PadMan challenge, one celebrity, Mallika Dua felt left out and thought it best to take a dig at Kumar’s challenge, to leave a mark or a stain.
Her message shared on Instagram read, “Always remember, each time you feel weak, each time you feel lesser than your equals, each time you feel you've been made to feel lesser for no reason and that the fight has just begun...When you feel society and the govt have not given you your due, hold up a sanitary pad and post a picture of it on instagram. You will feel empowered. So empowered. Bye” suggesting that very little foot movement happens by posting pseudo-inspirational pictures on social media. She may not be wholly wrong.
Several critics of the PadMan challenge say that the sanitary napkins being waved around by our celebrities could have been put to better use by donating them to those in need. Computationally, if twenty pads have been flashed by twenty celebrities then it adds up to two and a half packets of napkins. On an average, a woman ideally uses three pads a day which means, at least six or more women could have benefitted in a single day from the ones our stars posed with and later trashed.
If you thought the PadMan challenge was a revolutionary idea to break the taboo, you will be surprised to know that it was first started in Jamia Millia Islamia College in New Delhi in March 2015. Students posted messages on the napkins and stuck them anonymously in public places. Instead of being rejoiced for their movement, they were issued notice by the college authorities.
The movement was later taken up by colleges of Delhi University and even Jadavpur University in Kolkata. But the voices of celebrities always beats anonymous voice of students who ventured enough to smear the pads with red colour to break the taboo. Would Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan posing without an upcoming film release have helped then?
Akshay Kumar may have been posing pretty with the good intention of breaking resistance against sanitary napkins but wouldn’t it have been better if he asked stars to donate to help India’s 88% women who live without using it.