To tap into the issues millennial women care most about, Bustle debuted its first documentary series, NSFWomen (Not Safe for Women), tackling critical issues surrounding gender inequality. Episodes focused on: menstrual hygiene and how homeless women endure due to the lack of resources; how women in Ohio are changing the abortion conversation; the struggles of transgender unemployment; and the education struggles of young black girls in American public schools. Bustle's objective was to bring attention to important topics and give a voice to these women's stories. Bustle also provided viewers with a true female perspective in front of and and behind the camera – 13 of our 14 video team members were women. After collecting 20 days worth of footage, our video team was challenged with creating five, 7-minute episodes.
In the first episode, "How Do Homeless Women Cope With Their Periods?" Bustle delved into how homeless women deal with having their periods and added a charitable component. Bustle donated a pair of THINX Period Panties (generously provided by THINX to Bustle at cost) to Distributing Dignity for each share of the video (up to 250 shares).
NSFWomen is the product of months of research, shooting, and editing. Catching genuine stories with people surrounded by cameras can be challenging. This is especially true in dangerous areas where the film crew and interviewees had to combat harassment on the streets. Bustle was able to bring its viewers where they have never gone before. For instance in the period episode, women took us into public bathrooms where they explained how they wash without shower access and create tampons out of materials like shirts, socks, and paper towels.
NSFWomen is Bustle's most successful video series. All five episodes are among Bustle's top 10 produced videos of all time. The first episode, "How Do Homeless Women Cope With Their Periods?" is Bustle's most popular produced video of all time with over 36 million views on Facebook and over 4,000 comments. The response to Bustle's donation aspect of the video series was overwhelming and resulted in over 134K shares. Many viewers were so moved they took action. They purchased 50 packages from Distributing Dignity's Amazon Wishlist, 10 organizations reached out to partner with DD, and DD's San Diego branch received many donations of tampons and pads. Additionally, an employee at Google saw the video and nominated Distributing Dignity to be part of their giving program. Employee donations, plus Google's match, totaled over $6,000 for the charity.
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