Originally Published in ABC News on August 13, 2013
Jennifer Tress’ marriage and life was forever changed when her ex-husband muttered the four ugly words, “You’re not pretty enough,” as his reason for cheating on her.
Now she is on a crusade to help women build their self-esteem with her empowering book entitled, “You’re Not Pretty Enough,” as she tackles issues most women, and even some men, deal with on a daily basis of not liking what they see on the other side of the mirror.
“Those words really pierce a woman’s heart,” Tress told ABC News. “The pretty thing is more of an entry into the self-esteem issues, because it’s the easiest and laziest way that we assess ourselves.”
She’s bringing multimedia sessions, or what she calls “salons,” to 100 college campuses around the country, where students come to discuss everything from insecurities to self-acceptance.
Tress asks them to take a pledge: Give yourself a valued mantra and help spread the word about tips and tools we can all use to develop a healthy self-image when it comes to beauty norms.
Victoria Rocha, 26, says before attending Tress’ sessions she made a lot of poor, and sometimes detrimental, decisions.
“Ultimately, I didn’t boost my self-esteem and it took the time and energy to work on myself,” said Rocha.
Tress’ movement also solicits people to “Create your own video to contribute to the conversation and help someone else realize they’re not alone.”
Some of the confessions heard in her online movement’s videos include, “You’d be pretty with longer hair,” “There was taunting, there was bullying,” and “There were times when I didn’t feel good in my own skin.”
Experts say this is a real social issue.
“We are far more worried about our own appearances than other people are,” explained Art Markman, a Ph.D. in behavioral psychology.
Thanks to the never-ending and very permanent forms of social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, today’s generation has way too many platforms to feel less than pretty.
“While I do think people are more worried about these issues, they are things that they can overcome,” said Markman. “You have to focus on your strengths.”
Today, Tress is remarried to a man who not only thinks she is pretty enough, but is also playing an active role in her crusade.