#BREAKFREE: Our Campaign Catch Up

Incase you have missed any of our #BREAKFREE campaign, here is everything that you need to know...

shame quotes 2

Incase you have missed any of our #BREAKFREE campaign, here is everything that you need to know...

The New Year marked the launch of our #BREAKFREE Campaign, encouraging women to let go of what’s holding them back. Whether it is a disability, your race, judgment or the fear of failure that is stopping you, we say enough is enough. It is time to take a stand. It is time to #BREAKFREE.

Our #BREAKFREE campaign aims to empower women, reassuring them that they are not alone and inspiring them to challenge society.

Over the past eight weeks we have been spreading positivity, assigning a specific barrier to each week and posting daily articles and interviews with courageous women who are working independently and together towards breaking it down.

We've interviewed inspirational women from bloggers to business women, researched a series of fascinating, groundbreaking features, sourced endlessly inspiring stories and hunted out a few motivational celebrity quotes for good measure!

In case you have missed anything, here’s a complete run down of the past eight weeks…

Week one: #BREAKFREE from Shame We dedicated the first seven days of our #BREAKFREE campaign to shame: the discussion of violence against women, in particular sexual assault and blame. Shame is what stops 85 per cent of UK women who’ve experienced sexual violence from going to the police and that cannot continue. We have examined the truth about what happens when you report rape and looked deeper into the science of shame - and how you can stop feeling it, talking to abuse psychologist Dr Nina Burrowes. We also spoke to victims of post-assault shame and gave them the platform to make their stories heard. Elizabeth Renfrey opened up about her university sex assault and how she came to realise that it wasn’t her fault, whilst Hannah Camilleri spoke out about being unashamed of her sexual assault, going on to found Girls Against: a campaign to stop sexual assault at gigs. Inspired by Amber Amour turning to social media for support after her rape, we also sourced some amazing women using social media to fight shame and inspiring celebrity quotes on the subject.

Whilst analysing 10 amazing charities that help women to break free from shame, we also looked into how individuals coped with rape, with naked photos restoring one woman’s love in her body whilst another woman confesses to blaming herself for not being there to stop her friend from being raped.

Parvan, our #BREAKFREE from shame campaign ambassador shared her story among some other inspirational and strong women… Pavan’s Story Phoebe’s Story Ione’s Story Kubra’s Story

Week two: #BREAKFREE from Likes The second week of our #BREAKFREE campaign focussed on likes and the need for others’ approval, both online and off. Being 'liked' by others shouldn't be our driving force. Liking ourselves should be.

Over the week we explored what it means to be liked, without compromising yourself, learning the harsh truths on quitting people pleasing. We examined the impact of social media on our self worth and the effects of growing up on the internet, with Anna Mansell opening up about her desperate want for her daughter to #breakfree from likes and Ellen Manning confessing her child-like insecurities.

We then went on to investigate how to stop taking criticism personally, finding retreats and workshops to help you #breakfree from likes , writers who have spoken about the issue and celebrities who are promoting self-confidence. We're now going to put our own happiness first for a change and #breakfree from likes.

Zoe, our #BREAKFREE from Likes campaign ambassador shared her story among some other inspirational and strong women… Zoe’s Story Josie’s Story Thea’s Story Laura’s Story Charlie’s Story

Week three: #BREAKFREE from Ageism The third week of our #BREAKFREE campaign tackled ageism and the unfortunate loss of female power with age. There is a misogyny that underlines ageism in our society and women are constantly judged for their age, while men often aren’t.

From the grandparents you reluctantly call on birthdays, to the 70-something who you mentally berate for standing on the 'wrong' side of the escalator, we are all guilty of it but we need to reassess our approach to ageing.

We gave you a guide to how the world treats their elderly, including new ways to deal with ageism in the workplace, and featuring women who insist that their age doesn’t define who they are. The Wrinkle Diaries and An Ode To My Grandma are just two of the emotive pieces that will stop to make you think, and there is even a list of recommended documentaries to make you rethink ageing.

Suzi, our #BREAKFREE from Ageism campaign ambassador shared her story among some other inspirational and strong women…

Suzi’s story Laurie’s story Dorrie’s story Alyson’s story Week four: #BREAKFREE from Guilt The fourth week of our #BREAKFREE campaign focused on ‘mum guilt’ and the struggles of juggling motherhood and careers. 16 per cent of women who don’t have kids feel like they’re made to feel bad for prioritising something other than reproduction compared to zero per cent of men. And mothers feel guilty for not spending enough time at home, we say enough is enough. It’s time to accept that we’re doing the right thing, regardless of whether we have children, a career, or both.

Over the week we explored the reasons why women are made to feel guilty about children, whether we have them or not and how it feels impossible to achieve balance when you have a family. We'll be speaking to women who have broken free from guilt (including our own Features Director: Andrea Thompson, in order to find out how they stopped letting guilt hold them back. We examined the ways in which pressure is placed upon women - and only women - to achieve everything at work and at home. And we provided practical, expert advice on how to live guilt-free, regardless of your reproductive choices from the UK’s leading mumpreneurs and Anna Mansell explaining to us why she doesn’t feel guilty going back to work six weeks after giving birth.

Caroline, our #BREAKFREE from Guilt campaign ambassador shared her story among some other inspirational and strong women… Caroline’s story Emily’s story Pamela’s story Lucy’s story Week five: #BREAKFREE from Racism Our fifth week of the #BREAKFREE campaign focused on combatting racism and Islamophobia. Racial discrimination is rife and women are taking the brunt of it , with Muslim women experiencing nearly twice as much hate on the street as Muslim men. We need to talk about this and there must be change.

This week we explored personal accounts of discrimination from Layla Haidrani’s fascinating piece on Islamophobia ‘God forbid that Muslim girls also want lacy knickers’ to looking into what discrimination feels like when you’re a Buddhist. We also explored cultural appropriation and the dangers of misogynoir with Isabel Adomakoh Young insisting ‘don’t assume that I come from a ‘disadvantaged background’, or know anything at all about Kanye West’ Featuring pieces on the Oscar race row and racism in the music industry, and taking a comprehensive look at the celebrities speaking out against racism, we question what racism has got to do with you, shedding light on all forms of racial discrimination. Whatever your background or ethnicity, it's time to #BREAKFREE from racism.

Tehmina, our #BREAKFREE from Racism campaign ambassador shared her story among some other inspirational and strong women… Tehmina’s story Sash’s story Laila’s story Karen’s story Week six: #BREAKFREE from Body Hate

In week six of our #BREAKFREE campaign we fought against body hate. As a society, we're obsessed with women's bodies. We sexualise, fetishise and criticise them, reducing our worth and other women's worth too. 97 per cent of us are unhappy with our bodies and feel that changing our appearance will help us to progress. That needs to change. We need to stop body shaming ourselves and each other and start practicing self-love. We all know that what really matters is beauty is on the inside so why are we torturing ourselves?

We examined why women are still defined by what they look like, rather than what they do, looking into why 'society tells us we need to improve and get better'. Tamara McCleary’s powerful piece ‘Why I Needed To Book A Boob Job In Order To #BREAKFREE' focuses on an individual’s personal struggle with body hate and we additionally got two poets to write truthfully about their bodies, the results of which were empowering. We went on to explore the reasons why we continue to do ourselves down, with one mother: Anna Mansell, writing an open letter to her daughter praying for her not to inherit her body hate and insecurities.

We investigated the ways in which you can learn to love yourselves that don't involve changing your body, with Bella Jolly explaining why she'll never embrace #cleaneating. We also looked into the #3EChallenge and learnt how to feel good about your body on a bad day.

Inspired by body confident instagrammers and celebrities who are standing up to body hate, it is clear that we need to change our views and challenge society. Hopefully this week has given you the ultimate guide to becoming a #BoPo Warrior, proving that how you look does not define what you can achieve.

Hannah, our #BREAKFREE from Body Hate campaign ambassador shared her story among some other inspirational and strong women…

Hannah’s story

Leanne’s story

Izzy’s story

Jennifer’s story

Iris’ story

Week seven: #BREAKFREE from Labels

In our seventh week of the #BREAKFREE campaign we fought against labelling and the ways that we judge other people.

Negative stereotypes are dangerous and can create barriers, holding us back. Everyone is different but this is the 21st Century – it is time to open your eyes, look beyond those differences and get to know those people for who they are, rather than what they look like.

This week we met the inspiring women fighting stereotypes and documented some inspirational quotes on labelling from some of our favourite celebrities. We need to branch out, and talk to people who we've written off as having nothing in common with, and to stop making assumptions about strangers based on their appearance. ‘Gabrielle Prosser explains that ‘You Can’t Label People – It’s Just Not Possible’ whilst Kemi Alemoru defends her views ‘I’m not judgemental – I’m just honest, and that takes guts.’

All women should have opportunities and equality, regardless of their physical abilities, personal style or mental health. In order to stop being judged and labelled ourselves, we need to stop judging and labelling each other.

Becky, our #BREAKFREE from Labels campaign ambassador shared her story among some other inspirational and strong women…

Becky’s story

Juliette’s story

Susanna’s story

Praxie’s story Week eight: #BREAKFREE from Fear

In our eighth week of #BREAKFREE we fought back against fear, examining the fear of failure and looking into the true meaning of bravery.

The fear of failure affects everyone, often preventing us from accomplishing what we really want to do and are capable of. Whether it's about putting ourselves forward for an opportunity or standing up for what we believe in, fear often holds us back and makes us doubt our abilities. We say that it is time for change.

We're asking you to believe in yourselves and each other and we have even compiled for you 5 inspiring books to make you brave. We looked into how women found strength with Naomi Burrow explaining how perfect life was changed by her mother’s death and Laura Jane Williams looking into how losing her job was the best thing to ever happen to her.

Being a woman can feel like a constant audition and many of us struggle with fear on a daily basis. It is time to stop seeking reassurance from others and to stop relying on their praise to validate your success. We look into the concept that the more extreme the fear, the more likely it is to change your life and Anna Mansell writes another open letter to her daughter, this one entitled ‘Why I struggle to feel the fear and do it anyway’. It is time to overcome fear and to stand out from the crowd and make your voice heard.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.