Regardless of how you feel about PadMan or the film's sanitary pad challenge that has sent social media in a tizzy of photographs, debates, opinions, counter-opinions and hastily cobbled-together blogs about the true reality of menstrual hygiene of women in rural India, it's reach has now transcended India's borders and gone international.
Yesterday, Russian supermodel, philanthropist and actress Natalia Vodianova joined the list of celebrities posting photographs on social media with a sanitary pad in hand, in an attempt to destigmatise menstruation. And, in the process, promoting PadMan, of course.
With a shoutout to Twinkle Khanna for the initiative, Natalia nominated fellow Dutch model, activist and philanthropist, Doutzen Kroes and American models Alexina Graham and Emily Ratajkowski.
Yes, that’s a Pad in my hand & there's nothing to be ashamed about. It's natural! Period. ❤ I nominate @emrata @doutzen @alexinagraham 💗👍🏻 big shoutout to @twinklerkhanna for this initiative ❤️@Flotracker #LetsTalkAboutPeriods #UNFPA #PadManChallenge 🇷🇺 Да, вы не ошиблись, у меня в руке обычная гигиеническая прокладка. Месячные - это естественная часть жизни любой женщины, и мне бы хотелось чтобы тема женского здоровья могла свободно обсуждаться в любой стране мира. ❤ Давайте поговорим об этом @alexinagraham @emrata @doutzen 💗👍🏻@Flotracker #LetsTalkAboutPeriods #UNFPA #PadManChallenge
While Emily, Doutzen and Alexina are still to respond with their own pictures and nominations, it's safe to say that the 'PadMan challenge' is well on its way to becoming a global campaign. And considering PadMan is the first Indian film to release in Russia on the same day that it released at home, support from an internationally renowned public figure like Natalia is sure to give it a boost in the country. In less than a day since it was posted, Natalia's Instagram photo has already garnered over 50,000 likes and 3,000 comments.
Natalia might be using the 'PadMan challenge' to raise awareness about menstruation in her own country, but some of Bollywood's leading ladies aren't too far behind either.
Jacqueline Fernandez, for one, decided to post a picture of herself with a pad on which she wrote, in bright scarlet 'Promote The Pad', along with a couple of statistics about menstrual hygiene in the country.
While we can't say for certain whether the red writing was a conscious choice to make a statement about not being ashamed of period blood, nonetheless, it was a welcome surprise. There were, of course, some unwarranted comments questioning her choice of colour, but well, it's not really social media until jerks and trolls take it upon themselves to police women on their freedom of expression.
Kalki Koechlin, too, had a less than conventional way of participating in the challenge. While the rest of Bollywood posed with disposable sanitary napkins, Kalki's photo had her holding up an eco-friendly and reusable cotton sanitary pad from EcoFemme, tagging it with #sustainablemenstruation.
For all the criticism that the challenge has elicited, with several women commenting and making jokes about the number of pads that must have gone waste in the pursuit of this challenge, Kalki's take on it is definitely beyond reproach, even by the most stringent standards.
We wonder how much longer the life of the 'PadMan challenge' is going to be, considering that the movie is well into its first week of release already.