An October 28, 2008 New York Times article, "Move Over My Pretty, Ugly Is Here", reported that ugliness has recently emerged as a serious subject of study and academic interest, in some small part because of the success of television's "Ugly Betty", which ABC promoted with a "Be Ugly" campaign stressing self-esteem for girls and young women. Sociologists, writers, lawyers, and economists have begun to examine ugliness, suggesting that the subject has been marginalized in history and that discrimination against the unattractive, while difficult to document or prevent, is a quiet but widespread injustice. The article continued to report that researchers who have tried to measure appearance discrimination, or "uglyism" and "looksism", and the impact of what they call the "beauty premium" and the "plainness penalty" on income, say that the time has come for ugly to peek out from beauty's shadow.
While it hasn't been politically correct to talk about uglyism, Toni Raiten-D'Antonio has decided to fearlessly take the reigns on championing a discussion, movement, and total self-esteem program for self-proclaimed ugly people, such as herself. Matters of ugliness have only been looked on from the outside in, in terms of how society reacts to ugly people, etc., but Ugly as Sin is the first book to openly discuss admitting, accepting, and actually working ugliness for the betterment of one's life, from the introspective position of the ugly person. To accomplish this, Raiten-D'Antonio calls upon her own life experience of being the least attractive person ("I'm ugly," she says. "Don't feel bad for me.") in the room and marries it with the solid self-esteem program she has developed through her work as a clinical psychologist. As our culture will have it, we have a perverse fear of ugliness and Ugly as Sin provokes a conversation about this profound and universal fear, expresses how devastating it is, and finally, it inspires hope, peace, and self acceptance.
As an activist determined to help liberate women and men from a culture of appearance-based bigotry that fills us all with anxiety, fear, and disgust, Raiten-D'Antonio's message is for everyone, from the author's ninety-five year-old friend who frets over how she looks going to dinner at her nursing home, to her psychotherapy patients who apologize for their appearance before they start their sessions. This is not just a women's issue. Men fear they are ugly because of their height, weight, musculature, hair, facial features, and so on. The question of ugliness tortures all of us to one degree or another, limiting our lives, and worst of all, depriving us of the peace and happiness we deserve. But no more. In Ugly as Sin, Raiten-D'Antonio turns ugly on its head and teaches readers to fight the bigotry and ugliphobia they receive from others as well as inflict on themselves.