Populating Our Problems Elsewhere

A while back I posted a request for feminine hygiene product manufacturers to take their packaging’s design to the next level. In general, I was hoping that MSLK could inspire consumers by creating an emotional connection to the staple products we use everyday. It seems that someone else out there is clued into this idea, as well. At least one team at Procter & Gamble recognizes the sheer purchasing power behind feminine hygiene products, and can sense the tremendous vacancy of “feel-good about yourself, be sexy, be happy, we care, vibes out there.”P&G’s brand “Always” recently launched this ad campaign featuring a new initiative, Protecting Futures, which is dedicated to helping African girls stay in school. The commercial and the P&G website cite that, “1 in 10 school-age African girls do not attend school during menstruation or drop out at puberty because of the lack of clean and private sanitation facilities in schools.”They go on to state that the reason they cannot attend school is because they do not have access to the proper protective materials and that this can cause these girls to miss up to 4 days of school a month and thus fall behind in their studies. This program is dedicated to providing these girls with feminine products, clean water, and better school facilities.

The program sounds great, and it is certainly off to a good start— a refreshing change from the typical ad emulating a clinical test by showing us the results with clear blue liquid. We are given a to rally behind.However, after a bit of research into the program, I am a bit skeptical about the real needs behind this cause. It turns out I’m not the only one, people online are wondering…if only 1 in 10 are suffering, what do the other 9 girls do? Are their methods more sustainable than introducing a manufactured product (that needs to be imported) into a new environment? Are these villages equipped to deal with the waste that such an introduction might bring? Will this introduction sway the other 9 girls that they, too, need to manage their “messes” more efficiently? It’s just a thought, but at at time when I’m not so sure that our current “systems” are on track from an environmental standpoint, I’m feeling a bit more reserved about wanting to promote our practices around the globe. I’m not so certain anymore that we are the ones who should be showing anyone how things are done.I know we are the “world leaders” and all that, but if what we have right now is the best solution we can come up with, perhaps we could keep it to ourselves until we figure out a better plan.