Two steps forward for women, one step back. It’s a slow and painful process of progress. Infant feeding brand, Tommee Tippee’s, new digital commercial, The Boob Life, was banned by Facebook due to its uncensored (read: real) depiction of real women breastfeeding. The uncut commercial was rejected in its original form and slapped with an M rating due to nudity by Australia’s ad review platform, ClearAds, and labelled as “adult content” by Facebook.
The aim of the commercial was to put women and mums first, front and centre in an honest portrayal of all types of feeding journeys. It stars a diverse cast of real mums to illustrate a wide variety of feeding experiences. Among them are a pumping-first mum with an arm disability, a bottle-feeding mum who has had a mastectomy, and a mum tandem-feeding newborn twins in the ultimate act of multi-tasking.
Watch the uncensored version:
Yes, it’s bold. It’s also honest. Yes, the film shows feeding moments rarely captured on screen — from breast pumping to leaking, milky, post-feed breasts and milk squirting from a nipple. These things are real. The film was made in an effort to transform how the parenting industry speaks to mothers and trigger conversation surrounding how, when, and where women choose to feed their babies. By normalising the feeding moments mums experience every day, Tommee Tippee is hoping to show that it understands mums and supports them in their feeding journeys so they can feel more confident to make the decisions that are right for them.
“The fact that it’s 2021 and advertisers are still calling breastfeeding women inappropriate is a worrying indicator of how we as a nation are treating mums,” stated Tommee Tippee marketing manager, Vanessa Gonzalez. “We know from our research that 93% of mums feel the emotional, mental and physical challenges of infant feeding are under-acknowledged by society. It’s disappointing that advertisers aren’t down to help normalise the conversation around breastfeeding.”
Despite being told that the initial ad was improper to advertise, Tommee Tippee has chosen to release the uncut version on its website as it felt the rarely captured feeding moments shouldn’t be hidden from the world. In an attempt to comply with Facebook’s strict guidelines, a 30-second shortened and censored version of the ad was created, but even this was denied. Only 15-second product focused ads have so far been approved for use on the social media platform.
“Censoring The Boob Life only reinforces outdated attitudes towards feeding that create damaging situations for mums. It sends a message that something is wrong or shameful about what they are doing when in actual fact they should feel proud and confident with how their body is changing as they enter motherhood,” Gonzalez added.
One of Australia’s most well-known midwives, Midwife Cath, has thrown her support behind the film and is advocating for media buyers to reconsider their decision. “One of the universal truths of becoming a mother is that breastfeeding is different for every mum, and breasts come in all different shapes and sizes,” she stated. “I love this ad. Boobs, breasts, nipples are all part of being a woman…it’s uplifting and shows a realistic view of women and their experiences with feeding their babies.”
Online, the brand film has already received the support of prominent parenting and celebrity figures including Olympic athlete, Sally Pearson, and former My Kitchen Rules star, Zana Pali.
“I wish a film like The Boob Life existed when I was becoming a new mum,” Pearson commented. “The more information a mother to be or a new mother can gather, greatly reduces apprehension and so it’s great to see a brand like Tommee Tippee recognising that no one mum’s journey is the same.”
By aiming to normalise the feeding moments mums experience every day, Tommee Tippee is showing that they understand mums and support them in their feeding journeys so they can feel more confident to make the decisions that are right for them.
“If just one mum walks away feeling more confident and accepted for who she is after watching The Boob Life, then we’ve done our job right,” Gonzalez concluded.