Alessia Cara – “Scars To Your Beautiful” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Brendan Briggs

Brendan is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. In 2022, he released his first album "Dive" under the name "Arctotherium".

“Scars to Your Beautiful” is a body-positivity anthem designed to give its listeners unconditional confidence in their beauty. The lyrics focus on the self-destructive behaviors women sometimes struggle with when they feel unattractive, and they criticize the idea of society having a certain beauty standard.

Alessia Caracciolo (and several colleagues) wrote this song after being bothered by an episode of Botched. Her reaction to this, along with her general opinions about body positivity, led her to create this track to address the issue. She specifically wrote it to encourage women, although she’s stated that men should be able to relate to it as well.

In this article, we’ll perform an analysis of these emotionally charged lyrics to decipher their intended meaning. We’ll also take a look at the songwriting story and the broader cultural themes that have given this song its popularity. Without further ado, let’s get started.

“Scars to Your Beautiful” Lyrics Meaning

Caracciolo opens the track by putting us in the mind of one woman. She “wants to be beautiful,” specifically with regard to her figure. This makes her “want to be sculpted by the sculptor,” but as for right now, she “goes unnoticed” and “craves attention.”

Why is this woman so desperate? Caracciolo claims that she doesn’t understand the real nature of beauty. “We (society) have made her blind” to beauty that is “deeper than the eyes can find it.” Basically, external features have become more important than inner beauty, which makes this woman obsess over it.

She tries to “cut her woes away,” which probably has multiple meanings. On the one hand, it is a reference to cosmetic surgeries, but it is also a possible reference to self-harm behaviors. She has internalized a message that she needs to keep this pain private – “covergirls don’t cry after their face is made.” She wants to be like a covergirl, and showing her pain would make her unappealing in the same way that tears ruin makeup.

Next, Caracciolo offers some words of affirmation to her audience. To the listener, she says, “you’re beautiful just the way you are” and that you “don’t have to change a thing.” Instead of the population conforming to a standard, the standard, for Caracciolo, should conform to the population. “The world could change its heart.”

There are no “scars to your beautiful” – the “your” here is unconventionally possessive. In other words, the listener already has it. There are no exceptions and no notion of damage to this full possession of beauty. This is the metaphor and message of the song: You, the listener, are beautiful and whole.

In an interview for Idolator, Carracciolo directly confirmed that the track is intended to lift people out of insecurity through body positivity. She stated her belief that people should be able to “love themselves” and that “weird things are instilled in us,” which get in the way.

In verse two, Caracciolo returns to the perspective of an individual woman. The woman is now “starving” herself because “covergirls eat nothing.” Her desire to be like them has now taken over her dietary habits to the point where it has become unhealthy.

The woman’s resolve is strong because she believes “beauty is pain.” She keeps telling herself to continue fasting for “a little while longer” until she “fades away.” This is probably a reference to certain eating disorders that can result from body insecurity, such as anorexia. Such disorders are more common among (specifically young) women, which fits the verse’s context.

Caracciolo views this as a great waste. The woman simply “doesn’t see her perfect” enough, which causes her to harm herself. To combat this, Caracciolo tells the listener that she’ll “be your mirror” and begins explaining all the beauty she sees there. What is this beauty? It is “the light that shines within,” which means positive character and inherent value as a human being.

From that point on, the lyrics are repetitive. In summary, “Scars to Your Beautiful” is a postmodernist take on societal ideas about beauty. It emphasizes giving the listener an internal sense of confidence in their attractiveness and value, which is always in high demand. This complimentary message is at the core of the song’s mass appeal.

The Story Behind “Scars to Your Beautiful”

Alessia Caracciolo has maintained a fairly straightforward story behind this song since its release. Reportedly, upon viewing an episode of Botched, Caracciolo became troubled by the extreme lengths people went to in order to meet beauty standards.

This was the starting point for the entire idea. Caracciolo began working on “Scars to Your Beautiful” as a way of voicing her general views about body positivity and beauty standards. The track was released in 2016, a year in which the body positivity movement was gaining traction in culture.

Apparently, Caracciolo tapped into something fairly culturally significant. “Scars to Your Beautiful” reached a position of #8 on the Billboard Top 100 and was praised by many for its affirming message. The YouTube video has over 130 million views as of the time of this article, meaning the track has been heard an impressive number of times.

The next time you play this synth-pop tune, let these pieces of background information give context to the creation.