The advertising industry gathered in Cannes this week to hand out the inaugural “Glass Lion” awards recognizing any ad “that implicitly or explicitly addresses issues of gender inequality or prejudice.” Among the 8 honorees was a commercial by Whisper, a brand of sanitary pad owned by Procter&Gamble, that challenged an age-old period taboo in India. It won the Grand Prix, the overall top prize, for its viral and myth-busting qualities. According to Indian tradition, girls or women who are menstruating are forbidden from touching the pickles kept in jars in the kitchens of millions of Indian families because, the superstition goes, if they do touch the pickles, the pickles will rot. The commercial goes on to shatter the ridiculous myth by showing a menstruating girl touching a pickle and then rejoicing that nothing bad happened. The video went viral and ignited national conversation in India about the cultural taboos surrounding menstruation. The silly tradition was roundly ridiculed. “Just imagine the power,” one comedian deadpanned, “of an army of menstruating women,” in mock amazement of what such a group might be able to accomplish. The issue also surfaced at a TEDX talk as speakers called for an end to the stigma surrounding women’s periods.
Read the full story and see the other seven commercials at BuzzFeed.