Ugly as Sin: The Truth About How We Look and Finding Freedom From Self-Hatred

Ugly as Sin: The Truth About How We Look and Finding Freedom From Self-Hatred

by Toni Raiten-D'Antonio


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'I'm Ugly. You're Ugly. So What?'

In Ugly as Sin Toni Raiten-D'Antonio, MSW, breaks the ultimate social taboo by insisting that she is ugly in the eyes of the world. More shocking still, she calls on the rest of us to own our ugliness too. But don't be insulted. There's a liberating purpose to her message, one that could finally set you free from the obsessing, self-doubt, and self-criticism that all of us participate in when we think about how we look.

In this unprecedented examination of ugliness, its pervasiveness in our society, and the havoc it wreaks on our psyches, spirits, and bodies, Raiten-D'Antonio bravely confronts the problem of ugliness (including her own) and opens a dialogue that is provocative and inspiring. She reveals the roots of our perceptions of ugliness and beauty, tracing them through biology, art, religion, and culture and shows how we have been led to fear being defined as ugly ('ugliphobia'), and how this dread has become a universal problem. Comparing ourselves to impossible and ever-changing ideals of beauty, we endlessly cycle between efforts at self improvement and hopelessness.

What you will learn from Ugly as Sin is that overcoming ugliphobia begins with understanding the origins of the problem and learning that what we call ugly is not frightening or alien but part of being human. With searing honesty and empathy, Raiten-D'Antonio gives us the courage to redefine ugliness according to our own standards, while providing tools for finding self-acceptance and living in a world in which ugliness seems to be the ultimate sin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780757314650
Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/01/2010
Pages: 255
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Toni Raiten-D'Antonio, LCSW, has been addressing self-esteem issues in men and women through her private practice, speaking engagements, and previous books, which include The Velveteen Principles and The Velveteen Principles for Women. She has a thriving private psychotherapy practice on Long Island, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. The Velveteen Principles combined have sold more than 100,000 copies in the United States and has been published in translation in Europe and Asia. Visit the author at

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 Origins

1 Survival of the Liked 17

2 Beyond the Body We're Given 29

3 Ugliness and the Purpose of Disgust 39

Part 2 Ugliness and Culture

4 Medusa 49

5 Ugly As Sin 57

6 The Modern Medusa 65

7 You Have to Be Carefully Taught 73

8 Difference as Deviance 83

Part 3 The Ugly Effects

9 Codependence and Ugliphobia 95

10 Bigotry becomes an Inside Job 107

11 The Weight Problem 121

12 Acts of Desperation 129

13 Hatred in Action 143

Part 4 Overcoming Ugliphobia

14 Facing the Truth 157

15 Your Ugly Biography 167

16 Self-Care 181

17 Embracing Medusa 189

Epilogue: Pass It On 197

Appendix: Speak Out 207

Sources 229

Acknowledgments 237

Index 239

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Ugly as Sin: The Truth About How We Look and Finding Freedom From Self-Hatred 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
knittingmomof3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From My Book Review Blog, Rundpinne:"If anyone has ever thought ¿if only I was taller, shorter, thinner, bustier, curvier, less curvy, had a different nose, hair, smile¿, and yes, the list could go on endlessly, then Ugly As Sin by Toni Raiten-D¿Antonio is a book for you. D¿Antonio takes a deep look at the terms ugly and beautiful, and how these terms have evolved throughout time and how women¿s perceptions and self-esteems have changed with these perceptions. D¿Antonio begins the book by informing the reader that everyone is ugly in the hopes of shattering the myth of pretty verses not pretty to help liberate women who torture themselves because they do not look like one person or another, and that we are all ugly insofar as we cannot possibly live up to the ideal set up by today¿s media. D¿Antonio shares her earliest memories and awareness of beauty and how it affected her thoughts throughout her childhood. She proceeds to write three subsections: Origins; Ugliness and Culture; The Ugly Effects; Overcoming Ugliphobia and sums up with how we can help spread the word and help our children to grow up strong and confident. D¿Antonio follows up her book with a detailed appendix showcasing how women of all ages have felt about themselves, a wonderful list of sources, and a detailed index. Ugly As Sin is a book to empower women and help women of all ages to realize that their potential does not lie in their appearance or body size. I would, without a doubt, recommend Ugly As Sin to every girl, teen, and woman."
roses7184 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I feel like I should premise this review with a quite note. I'm extremely intrigued by the notion of body image and how it affects people. After working around and directly with children for the last 14 years, I've seen the age at which children are struck by negative body image slide lower and lower. Due to this fact, I tend to devour any article that I find on the matter. Not until TLC Book Tours offered me a chance to review Ugly As Sin did I find a book that compiles it all so neatly and beautifully.Toni Raiten-D'Antonio is both a psychotherapist and professor, and it shows in her work. The chapters are thoughtfully separated into sections that discuss the origins of "ugliphobia", how it relates to culture, what effects it creates, and how to overcome it. Her book is beautifully written, which I honestly find rare among non-fiction works. The accounts that she shares, the meaningful quotes that she puts in, it all comes together to create an extremely meaningful and fascinating account of how the concept of ugliness has evolved.What I enjoyed most about reading Ugly As Sin was how much of herself Raiten-D'Antonio puts into her book. There are multiple accounts of her own personal experience with the body image battle, and she even goes so far as to share candid stories from her childhood. A book like this is sometimes hard to read because it tackles the truth so well. I found myself nodding at times, teary-eyed at others, and fuming over the whole issue at others. It is hard to face the fact that we built this world for ourselves, and trapped ourselves in our own individual prisons.Ugly As Sin is, without a doubt, a book that I recommend to all women of all ages. Like I mentioned above, the age at which body image affects us as a society is slowly sliding lower and lower. I feel that if more women read this book, felt the empowerment, and took the steps to make themselves feel comfortable in their own skin, society as a whole would benefit from it! (Yes, that is my soapbox and I'm sticking to it.) I leave you with a quote from the book itself that I think will resonate with you, and I hope will encourage you to read this book.
Althea2 More than 1 year ago
What a relief it was, after reading this book, to finally accept that I can relax in my imperfections and accept myself and the ugly parts of me! Toni Raiten-D'Antonio has written an incredibly important book that should be read by everyone, and translated for other cultures so that we can all understand how the fear of ugliness plagues us all, and touches at the core of being human. Next to questions about mortality, the fear of ugliness is probably the most basic of all human experiences. In "Ugly As Sin" Raiten-D'Antonio discusses this topic from a historic perspective, documenting how "ugliphobia" has been used as a form of oppression for centuries. With honesty and frankness, she discusses how this fear affected her own life, and with great compassion, includes the stories of men and women all over the world who responded to her question of "When do you feel ugly?". "Ugly As Sin" is riveting, touching, unifying, and inspiring. It asks us to take a hard look at how we are manipulated by media, controlled by those who set the standards of "beauty" and "correctness", and defeated by our own families and peers who hold to these false standards. When we can embrace our ugly parts, we can finally be freed by this artificial separation and begin to appreciate the true uniqueness and beauty that is in each and every one of us. A must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As someone who has often felt less than supermodel-gorgeous, this is a book that cuts through all of the issues that we struggle with as women and gets right to the real truth about ugliness. Toni's words truly spoke to me: she does a great job writing about this intense and personal topic in a way that will make you smile and laugh as you turn the pages. This book exposes the sneaky ways in which we are encouraged to feel bad about how we look and gives us tools to fight the battle head on.