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Scars to Your Beautiful
A Discussion for Girls About Lasting Beauty
02/26/2017

Dynamic ImageThe Song: Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara

Main Point: The standards of beauty continue to shift leaving millions of girls guessing about their acceptance and value. Maybe it’s time to pursue the greatest form of beauty: inner beauty.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: The following info should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Youth Ministry believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce teens to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most teens, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos like this one. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away. If you decide to use this, do so by catering it to fit your family’s needs.

  • Written by 20-year-old Canadian singer Alessia Cara, "Scars to Your Beautiful" is currently a Top 10 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100. Part of her Know-It-All album, the song challenges the metrics of beauty promoted by our culture, opting instead for a calming and self-reassuring standard based on truly loving yourself.

  • Interestingly, the song hits home for the singer, herself. Growing up the child of a hairdresser, Cara often experimented with different hairstyles and different hair products. Consequently, she began losing her hair in elementary and middle school. Whole chunks of her locks would fall out in the shower causing her sheer terror. The mental anguish she experienced as a kid is reflected in some of the painful lyrics embedded in the song. But in spite of her imperfections – and the ensuing insecurity – Cara has sworn to appear makeup free for every performance of (and interview concerning) Scars to Your Beautiful. She even attended the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards without any makeup!

  • Don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Introducing the Song:
The message Alessia Cara wants to get across to girls is that each of us are beautiful exactly the way we are. Hopefully, that’s a message that catches on in our hearts. Take a look at the song’s lyrics as we watch her music video together.

The Music Video:
Click the following link for the online video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWASeaYuHZo



The Song’s Lyrics:

She just wants to be beautiful
She goes unnoticed, she knows no limits
She craves attention, she praises an image
She prays to be sculpted by the sculptor
Oh, she don't see the light that's shining
Deeper than the eyes can find it
Maybe we have made her blind
So she tries to cover up her pain and cut her woes away
'Cause cover girls don't cry after their face is made
But there's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful
Oh-oh, oh-oh
And you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful
She has dreams to be an envy, so she's starving
You know, cover girls eat nothing
She says beauty is pain and there's beauty in everything
What's a little bit of hunger?
I could go a little while longer, she fades away
She don't see her perfect, she don't understand she's worth it
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
Oh, oh
So to all the girls that's hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within
There's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful
Oh-oh, oh-oh
And you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful
No better you than the you that you are (no better you than the you that you are)
No better life than the life we're living (no better life than the life we're living)
No better time for your shine, you're a star (no better time for your shine, you're a star)
Oh, you're beautiful, oh, you're beautiful
And there's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful
Oh-oh, oh-oh
And you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: What was the main message in Alessia Cara’s song?
    A: She wants girls to know that they don’t need to chase after a shifting image of beauty as defined by the world. She says that girls are beautiful the way they are. If anything needs to change, it’s the world’s standard of beauty.

    Q: What were some lines of the song that stuck out to you? Why?
    A: Parents, make sure you’ve provided a copy of the lyrics for them to look over. If they don’t respond initially, draw their attention to some of the lines you’ve noticed in her song. Ask them what they think about a couple of them.

    Q: Cara sings over and over again that the world needs to change its perspective on beauty. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
    A: Of course the world needs to change its standard of beauty! Every day, glossy magazines show unrealistic images of beauty enhanced by well-paid Photoshop gurus. Runway models starve themselves to be able to model a set of clothes most of the female population can’t ever even fit into. Elements and representatives of the porn industry have seeped into mainstream culture. All this leaves 7 out of 10 girls saying they don’t measure up physically in some way. Yeah, something has to change about what the world says is beautiful.

Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion:
(If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)


Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation? CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our "Parenting Help" page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today's Teens.

Transitional Statement:
So many young girls are pursuing an image of beauty that’s impossible to attain, all at the demand of a sex-saturated culture. That pursuit only ends in upset because even the prettiest of girls can’t compare with Photoshop. Maybe that’s what pushed Alessia Cara to write a song about girls pursuing inner beauty instead. Inner beauty, unlike image-driven beauty, doesn’t fade over time. In fact, it grows! Cara’s recommendation is that girls should chase inner beauty because it’s healthy and permanent. Of course, striving for inner beauty isn’t always easy, especially in a culture like ours, but the Bible has several recommendations to help along the way.


More Discussion Questions:
  1. HAVE ALL YOUR GIRLS ANSWER: As we get started, let’s take a second to share what we do to get ready to go to school or go out with friends or go out on a date.

  2. ASK: Could you identify with any of the people being interviewed during the music video? If so, in what way(s)?

  3. ASK: In an interview about her song, Alessia said, “These weird things are instilled in us. You know? That tell us that we’re not good enough or that there’s only one kind of beauty. This song basically is contradicting that idea. It’s saying, ‘Well, if the world doesn’t like how you look then they should change. They should change their perspective.’” In what ways does the world tell girls they’re not good enough?

  4. Read the following passage:

      1 Peter 3:3-6 (NLT)

      Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God….

  5. ASK: Peter wrote this passage approximately 2,000 years ago. Based on these verses, it sounds like women living way back then also had questions about beauty and image and self-worth. Does that bring you some sense of relief? Why or why not?

  6. ASK: Peter literally says not to be concerned with hair, jewelry, or clothes. Think about those words for a moment: do not be concerned with them at all. Do you ever see yourself being able to literally and truthfully say that you’re unconcerned about those things? Why or why not?

  7. ASK: What do you think Peter meant when he talked about “beauty that comes from within”?

  8. ASK: Peter says to “clothe yourselves with the beauty that come from within.” Let’s name some ways we can actually do that.

  9. ASK: Why do you think the Bible calls inner beauty “unfading”?

  10. ASK: Peter makes it sound like godly women in ancient times made themselves beautiful by their actions and their attitudes instead of their accessories. Is it possible for us to do the same thing today? If so, what does that look like?

  11. ASK: If I were to ask you to name the “prettiest” person you personally know, who would you choose?

  12. ASK: Now, if I were to ask you to name the most “beautiful” person you know, would your answer change? In other words, is there a difference between “being pretty” and “being beautiful”?

  13. HAVE ALL YOUR GIRLS ANSWER: How would your life change if you started chasing inner beauty that never fades instead of outer beauty that shifts with appearances and perceptions?

  14. HAVE ALL YOUR GIRLS ANSWER: What steps are you willing to take right now to pursue inner beauty?

Wrap Up:
There’s a lot to like about Alessia Cara’s song Scars to Your Beautiful. First, she seems to be genuinely concerned with the lives of young women (and young men, too). Second, she shares with them a positive message about self-worth and self-value that isn’t based on outer appearances, but on something far more meaningful. Lastly, she outlines hope for those who are brave enough to pursue a lasting, inner beauty instead of superficial looks.

All across her song, she echoes this line again and again: no better you than the you that you are. Not only is it poetic; it’s true! There is no better you or no prettier you, than the right now you. You are enough. And you are enough because God made you!

We talked an awful lot about pursuing inner beauty during our discussion together. What does it look like to pursue inner beauty? Let me offer you a few ways you can do that in your lives.

  1. Give God thanks for your life and your health. He made you perfect in His sight. When you’re putting on makeup, thank Him for choosing you. When you’re putting on a ring or a watch or a bracelet, thank Him for giving you 2 arms and 10 fingers. When you’re getting dressed, thank Him for blessing you with a healthy body. Giving thanks gets your attitude and perspective properly fixed on Him.

  2. Live humbly. Peter says to have a gentle and quiet spirit about you. Instead of focusing on being the center of attention, focus on being a helper and a servant. Maybe you could care for a friend in need, or even an elderly neighbor. Whatever you choose to do, share of yourself in such a way that builds others up. Not only does it please God, says Peter, but it is also a tried and true method for making oneself beautiful.

  3. Live holy. It doesn’t really matter how gorgeous your exterior is if you don’t honor God with it. God wants us to live holy lives; He tells us that over and over in His Word. One of the easiest ways you can do this is by dressing modestly. Another way is to not ever allow yourself to be put in a compromising situation with someone. Live your life in such a way that you have peace. Live in such a way that others have praiseworthy things to say about you. Beauty is far more than unblemished skin.

Alessia Cara knows the sting that comes from chasing after a shifting sense of beauty. Her advice is good advice: be you, and if the world needs to change, let it.

Again, none of this is easy to do. Everything about our lives from the moment we first looked into a mirror says to chase after attention, after a certain look, after a fleeting image. God’s Word says we can chase after a beauty that doesn’t fade. That’s what I suggest we do.


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