KARACHI: The Punjab Film Censor Board has banned the Bollywood movie, Padman, solely on the basis of it portraying a subject that they think is a ‘taboo’ — menstrual hygiene. As absurd as this claim by the censor board is, it is even surprising to learn that the men from the board ‘were hesitant’ to even watch the movie to see if it even fits the set code of conduct because it deals with a women’s issue. This is as if little boys have been hired to do the job, the ones who consider menstruation as a ‘tacky’ issue.

It is ironic to realise that the same censor board passed a movie that not only glorifies honour killing but is also blatantly Islamophobic. The movie, Padmaavat, was received by house-full cinema halls because it was approved for screening in the country. Yet Padman, a movie about menstrual health and the importance of using sanitary napkins, has been banned because it deals with a so-called taboo topic. This is not to say that issues related to women’s reproductive health are openly discussed in Pakistan because they are not, but banning an important movie like Padman only shows that we are bent on reinforcing the patriarchy instead of fighting it.

So, according to the men in the board, Pakistanis can watch a movie that glorifies honour killing but God forbid they are made to see a movie that tackles the issue of menstrual hygiene.

Ramsha Jahangir

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2018.

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