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Padman Movement – A Glimmer of Hope in the Darkness of Taboos

Bollywood superstar, Akshay Kumar, is bringing India under the spotlight by forcing the Indian population to talk about one of the biggest taboos that exist in all our societies.

His latest movie, Padman, seeks to educate the people about being vocal regarding an issue that is basically a part of entire gender and to no fault of their own. Women on their mensuration cycle have been shunned as unholy and are kept at a safe distance from any such events that they could possibly make “dirty” by their presence.

Due to this constant ignoring of such a common occurrence and providing no education on this, Pakistan and India together have managed to create extreme hygiene issues among the women of their country.

Akshay Kumar’s Padman, seeks to break that taboo and wants there to be open and healthy discussions on the importance of accepting mensuration as a natural occurrence.

The best way to do so was a challenge initiated by their PR team, known as the
Padmanchallenge, where one is required to show their unreserved support towards breaking the taboo around periods. Many celebrities including, Sonam Kapoor, Twinkle Khanna, Amir Khan, Alia Bhatt jumped on the Padman bandwagon and showed their support with their own picture on twitter.

However, is glamorizing periods with it’s celebrity appeal really solving any problems regarding the actual issue? Padman unapologetically forced people to talk about periods although the problem doesn’t end there and that is what people need to focus on. The real issue lies not with the fear of talking about periods but the massive menstrual hygiene issue that is prevalent among women of Pakistan and India.

There has been severe mismanagement of periods by women in our country and the main concern for everyone lies in the fact that there needs to be proper education along with adequate arrangements regarding hygienic practices during this time of the month.

Due to this mismanagement, girls can fall behind in a society which already provides an extra amount of hurdles for everything.

“Research shows that marginalized girls can miss up to two to four consecutive days of schools each month due to their periods which has serious implications for their education. The needs of women, particularly in regards to sanitation, must be brought to the forefront,” said Bella Evidente, Country Programme Manager for UN-Habitat during a seminar ahead of menstrual hygiene day

“Young girls bear the brunt as they lack the knowledge and services to manage menstruation which in turn affects their learning experiences,” said Angela Kearney.

Pads have been unofficial superheroes for women for a very long time. They do not look at race, skin colour, weight, class, or creed and are ready to serve and protect on call anytime. It is very encouraging to see that an all-star movement – The Padman Challenge – is finally getting people to acknowledge that a natural sign of health should not be the cause of shame and discomfort. We as a society, just like these pads can create a supportive environment that eradicates any social stigmas associated with it. This will ensure that no girl, regardless of where she comes from, gets left behind for something that occurs because she was born a certain gender.

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