On P&G’s Always sponsoring “Girl Rising”
This from journalist Tom Roston, one of “Menstrual Man”‘s biggest champions and (currently) my biggest critic:
I see what he’s getting at. It’s safe to assume that all nine countries featured in the film rank poorly for menstrual hygiene. There can’t be many menstruating women in Ethiopia who can afford sanitary pads, let alone those from Always. About nine out of ten in India can’t, and that’s why what Muruganantham is doing is so crucial, so inspiring.
Beyond India, Muru has received enquiries from organisations in three of the countries featured: Nepal, Cambodia and Afghanistan. Those are just the ones I know of. (Actually, make that three and a half. He was approached by someone from Bolivia, which, I imagine, shares some economic, demographic and health accessibility realities with Peru.)
Still, I applaud P&G. Proper menstrual hygiene isn’t the only challenge women face in developing nations. It’s important to help raise awareness for other issues. And educating girls — the primary call of the film — arguably ranks highest because it’s the first step to combatting poverty.
I’m not saying P&G acted out of altruism. They went in because it makes marketing sense. But a Kardashian show or some such would have too, at least in terms of number of eyeballs. Another round of applause then, this time for siphoning away ad spend from some of the dumbfuckery on TV.
The irony that many girls rising can’t afford sanitary pads? You’d have the same problem if the main sponsor were (any brand that can afford to sponsor CNN programming).
Also, once you get past the fact that you’re watching stories on TV about people who probably don’t have TVs, all other ironies become somewhat acceptable.