In this week’s Wednesday 5: the “You’re Not Pretty Enough” Movement; haiku on Mars?; one woman’s choice to have no sex life; rebooting retirement after 40; and the must-see new film The Patience Stone.



The ‘You’re Not Pretty Enough’ Movement

You're Not Pretty EnoughForty-two-year-old Jennifer Tress’s husband cheated on her because, according to him, she wasn’t “pretty enough.” Years later, she’s traveling around the country taking her “self-esteem salons,” aka the YNPE Movement (You’re Not Pretty Enough Movement), to colleges and universities. Thanks, Ex-Husband, for helping one woman find her calling. Emily Wax, who writes about Tress’s story in The Washington Post, tell us:

“Years after [Tress’s] divorce, [her ex-husband’s] painful words led her to become what she calls “an accidental body-image activist”. . . . Fluffy anthems of self-acceptance are useful but not as powerful as confronting your shortcomings with honesty. That’s what she offers in her meetings with college students—a chance to talk about societal expectations of beauty, why they’re hurtful and also tough to ignore, and what to focus on instead.”

Tress has a new book that shares her stories about overcoming YNPE. Read more about her story here.



Haiku Written Just for Mars

If you read our weekly Poetry Sundays, and we know you do, you know that we had to share with you the (coolest!) news that poetry written by earthlings—in particular, haikus—will be making their way to planet Mars. In November, NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) spacecraft will carry more than 1,100 personal haikus from around the world. The poetry-in-space project is sponsored by the University of Colorado, which received more than 12,530 haikus between May 1 and July 1. Because of the overwhelming response from the public who voted online for their favorites, the university decided to save all haiku receiving 2 votes or more  to a DVD that will accompany MAVEN on its journey to and around the Red Planet. Of the winning submissions, here are two of our favorites from  women writers:

Mars, your secret is
unknown for humanity
we want to know you.

Fanni Redenczki

Rusted, dusty, fruit.
Pitted, marred, mysterious.
Milky Way’s Apple

Maria Masington
Delaware, USA



A Choice to Have No Sex Life

cvr9781451696271_9781451696271_lgWhen we are told/sold constantly on the need for/value of a “healthy” sex life, Sophie Fontanel shares this:

“For a long while, and I really don’t wish to say when it was or how many years it lasted, I chose to live in what was perhaps the worst insubordination of our times: I had no sex life. . . . I realize now what that life was made of: a life in no way insignificant; on the contrary, it was rich, a perfect match for my body and myself.”

Fontanel, a journalist and editor at Elle France, chronicles her journey in her new memoir, The Art of Sleeping Alone. In an excerpt published in The Atlantic, she unpacks the curiosity, criticism, pity, and resentment her so-called “convalescence” unearthed among both her most cherished friends and strangers. Her take on “sleeping alone” is a refreshing one in which she oft-times calls out the hypocrisy within the pressure to couple up:

“If there was a party, everyone in turn would come sit next to me to regale me with how he or she thought I should live and what I deserved to have. What it boiled down to was that I should live like them. . . Not one of them could stand my singleness, because it could have been theirs.”



Fixing Finances After 40

In her twenties, advertising executive Jenine Holmes tells us, her priorities were paying New York City rent and for vodka martinis. Then she got laid off, and her thirties soon became the decade of hard lessons learned and a culture of saving. “In the long run, I realized, advertising would not be there for me, so I’d better start looking out for myself . . .” writes Holmes. “At 38 years old, saving for retirement seemed more real and necessary.” In her article written for LearnVest, Holmes shares with us an honest and painful, but brave, look at her finances throughout her 20s, 30s, 40s, and the decisions that both cost her and saved her. By her forties, life was no longer about her as a single woman; she was now a single mother. “I considered myself good with money, but it wouldn’t take Alan Greenspan to figure out that this would mean trying to fund a retirement account and my child’s college fund at the same time.” Read more on how Holmes rebooted her retirement savings after 40.



“The Patience Stone,” a Beautiful New Film

The Patience Stone is a new film adapted from the best-selling novel by Atiq Rahimi, which won the 2008 Goncourt Prize, the most prestigious book award in France. It tells the story of an Afghani woman as she watches over her older husband in a decrepit room. In war-torn Afghanistan, a bullet in the neck has reduced him to a comatose state. She begins to speak truth to her silent husband, telling him about her childhood, her suffering, her frustrations, her loneliness, her dreams, desires, and secrets. After years of living under his control, with no voice of her own, she says things she could never have spoken before, even though they have been married for ten years. (Excerpted from



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