Apple Has A Problem With Breastfeeding
Updated: Oct 29, 2018
The trials and tribulations of getting a breastfeeding sticker pack approved by the App Store.
Hello and welcome to our first blog post! For the past year our small and dedicated team has been busy at work crafting an amazing breastfeeding sticker pack for IOS. We can’t wait to share it with you! But we’ve hit a major roadblock -- Apple has a problem with breastfeeding.
Think we’re joking? We’re not. We’re totally serious. And absolutely disappointed with Apple.
For those still getting to know our product, Tit for Tot is a breastfeeding sticker pack designed to help women who breastfeed and/or pump support one another and share their experiences using emoji-like stickers. For example, instead of writing to a friend and saying: “Hey momma. I just pumped and my left breast produced way less milk than my right. Ugh!!” - a user might just use this hilarious animated sticker --->
Support Can Make the Difference
Given how difficult breastfeeding is and how few women can effectively make it work (studies show that only 40% of breastfeeding women meet their breastfeeding goals), Tit for Tot strives to normalize the act of breastfeeding and provide much-needed support.
That all sounds great, right? Who could possibly object? Well, Apple apparently. For the last month we have been dealing with multiple rejections from the App Store Review Team. We would like to share a little bit of our experience, our attempts to comply with Apple’s decency guidelines, and our ongoing efforts to navigate this process.
In late September Apple rejected our very first submission. Since that time, we’ve attempted to work closely with Apple to adhere to their established, though sometimes confusing, standards. We continue to be unsuccessful in these endeavors.
Here's What We've Learned so Far:
1. Apple is anti-nipple. Apple states that no nipples can appear in our illustrated stickers.
As nipples are essential to the act of breastfeeding, this is difficult!
2. Apple is hyper-reactive. They rejected this sticker because it shows a nipple and they thought it looked like the baby was getting hurt. We think they missed the point as inadvertent milk-sprays are a common breastfeeding-mishap.
3. Apple is cautious with stickers (even those with a 17+ rating, like ours) because they have no control over who might be the recipient of a sticker and the context in which it might be sent. To prove we're not unreasonable, we'll concede this point.
Their Reasons for Rejection
As Apple had urged us in that first rejection letter, we revised our sticker pack “so that it does not offend users or create a negative experience.” That is, we did our best not to offend Apple moving forward and modified our stickers in a way that also felt acceptable to us. Despite these changes, we got rejected two more times, on totally different points. Most recently we were told that we could not include any stickers depicting breastfeeding on our publicly-facing product page. The issue -- images of breastfeeding are inappropriate for an all-ages audience. What???!!!
We think this is ridiculous. First, the images selected for our product page are not particularly revealing (please see rejected screenshots below). We do not consider them inappropriate for a general audience and we were surprised to discover that Apple does. Second, and perhaps more important when it comes to a company as large and influential as Apple, this ruling demonstrates how out-of-touch Apple is relative to current views on breastfeeding, both legal and societal. As of the summer of 2018, public breastfeeding laws have been established in all 50 states. So, although the U.S. Government agrees that scenarios in our sticker pack are appropriate for viewing by any passerby on the street, Apple is concerned that an individual who has found his/her way to our breastfeeding sticker pack product page might be offended by illustrations of women breastfeeding babies.
So . . . we understand that Apple is a private company and can do whatever they want. We were told as much by the App Store Representative with whom we spoke. We take umbrage in this particular case because Apple has an opportunity to help further a cause about which, by the way, there is very little debate (we could write several blogposts about the myriad benefits of breastfeeding!). Instead, Apple has chosen to send a negative message. In their own words to us, they reject our images for including “objectionable content, such as nudity, pornography, and profanity”, and by so doing they put breastfeeding into a context that makes very little sense in today’s society. Apple is sending the message to women, whether inadvertently or not, that what we are doing with our bodies when we feed our babies is “inappropriate.” That it might make others “uncomfortable” so we better cover up. We cannot emphasize enough that this is exactly why we created Tit for Tot! Apple is illustrating the very reasons we felt and continue to feel the need to push forward with this sticker pack. Breastfeeding is normal! Breastfeeding is natural!
Don’t even get us started on why images of guns -- a legally protected U.S. right -- are ok on a product page (in the context of video games), but illustrated breastfeeding women -- also a legally protected U.S. right -- are not.
We believe that this is a significant misstep by Apple and we encourage them to think more progressively about this issue. If you agree with us, which we hope you do, please share our story with your audience! Apple has a history of reversing decisions when faced with a media-outcry. With your help, we hope they will reconsider.