Apple rejects pending relaunch of a breast health app created by breast cancer nonprofit days before Breast Cancer Awareness Month, thereby denying crucial breast health education to young people.
Apple has rejected the release of The Keep A Breast Foundation’s Check Yourself! App. The Check Yourself! App helps people establish a regular routine and approach to the breast self-check. It teaches women the most optimal way to check their boobies! and also schedule an automatic monthly reminder.
Apple’s Faulty Reasoning for Denial
Through Apple’s automatic screening system, the app was originally denied due to a donation issue (which Keep A Breast quickly remedied) and more importantly, for nudity. One should note that the “nudity” is a black and white illustration. The Keep A Breast team and app developers quickly reached out to Apple about the issue. Their case was reviewed, but the outcome was equally disappointing. While the app is technically being released, it will be categorized with a 17+ rating. It should also be noted that Google Play has yet to have a problem with the app, it has been released and is rated “E for everyone”.
Why this is a Problem
There is a multitude of reasons why this censorship is ridiculous. First, the app already exists – and with a 4+ rating – in the Apple store. The Check Yourself! app has been running in the iTunes app store since 2010, nipples and all.
The 17+ rating of the app is where the true issue lies. Keep A Breast’s mission is to empower young people around the world with breast health education and support. Their most engaged community is young women ages 13-25. By making the app 17+, Apple is blocking access to a huge portion of Keep A Breast’s audience who deserve this educational tool. Keep A Breast’s entire platform is situated in educating people around the world on breast health and breast cancer prevention as early as possible, in order to empower them to be their own health advocates and adopt preventative lifestyles at an early age. Much of what they stand for is erasing the stigma and shame associated with breasts and breast health.
The Keep A Breast Foundation is no stranger to censorship. Their i love boobies! bracelets have caused countless controversies in high schools, with students and the ACLU taking cases all the way to the Supreme Court. However, the rating poses a much deeper issue than censorship or limiting access!
Society needs to stop hyper-sexualizing women’s bodies. Groups like Free the Nipple and @Genderless_Nipples openly address this issue, especially when it comes to the double-standard of censoring women’s bodies. Everyone has nipples and all nipples are created equal. Establishing a stigma around young women’s breasts creates a layer of shame that inhibits them from forming a long-term, positive relationship with their body. This mindset threatens their confidence and most importantly, their health.
The app features drawings of a topless woman–not an actual topless woman. But importantly, these drawings and animated gifs are an essential step-by-step guide for teaching people how to self-check in the most effective and user-friendly manner. Yet the hyper-sexualization of women’s bodies explains how an informative illustration is labeled as too obscene for people below age 17. Keep A Breast believes that showing young women a reflection of their own bodies for this purpose is in no way obscene or pornographic, but rather empowering and beautiful. It is those in their teens and 20s that need this information the most.
Shaney jo Darden, the founder of Keep A Breast, was inspired to start a youth-focused nonprofit after a close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer at just 27 years old. People are often shocked by such stories, as doctors rarely educate young women on their breast cancer risks. Generally, women do not start getting mammograms until the age of 40, creating the illusion that breast cancer only affects women 40 and older.
Why Our App is Crucial
The team at Keep A Breast is a proud advocate of the self-check, as they so commonly come in contact with young women who have found their own lumps (both benign and malignant) “by accident.” With 40% of diagnosed breast cancers being self-detected, according to the John Hopkins Medical Center, so establishing what is “normal” for you is an important step to knowing your body. Over 300,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the US each year. Approximately 12,000 of those diagnosed are below age 40. When breast cancer is detected early (in the localized stage) the 5-year survival rate is 98%, according to the National Cancer Institute. The Keep A Breast Foundation believes that via a monthly routine of self-checks, more people are likely to detect changes in their bodies fast; and will seek medical advice and potentially detect cancer early! Knowledge is Power–and all women deserve access to this power.