Alessia Cara’s song about eating disorders

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In this blog post, we shall look at Alessia Cara’s song that encourages those struggling with eating disorders. We will also look at various eating disorders, their symptoms, causes, and treatment methods. We will also look at tips people with eating disorders can use in managing eating disorders.

Alessia Cara’s song about eating disorders

Alessia Cara’s song, scars to your beautiful, has been a source of hope for people struggling with eating disorders. She promotes a message of self-acceptance despite our flaws and the importance of self-love. The song shows people with different conditions embracing who they are without hiding. 

Before we look at the lyrics of the song, let us discuss who Alessia Cara is, what eating disorders are, and their symptoms.

Who is Alessia Cara?

Alessia Caracciolo, popularly known as Alessia Cara, is a Canadian singer and songwriter from Brampton, Ontario. She started showcasing her musical talent at ‌age 13 by posting cover songs on YouTube, and this made her get a huge following. She signed with EP Entertainment and Def Jam Recordings in 2014 and released her debut single the following year.

Her first debut studio album, know-it-all in 2015, was number 8 on the Canadian Album Charts and ‘scars to your beautiful’, the album’s third single was number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The song challenges the beauty standards set in the society today and encourages everyone to accept themselves the way they are. She opened up about her personal struggles that inspired the song. She was brought up by a hairdresser and loved experimenting a lot on different hairstyles.

Alessia then started straightening her hair, which she believes caused hair loss while in elementary and middle school. By the time she went to high school, she was scared and self-conscious about the patches on her head caused by hair loss. Many of the students were mean in high school and they would point out the patches.

She started hiding her patches with different hairstyles at a young age and did not want people to get too close to her. She, however, said that she started embracing it and not hiding her flaws. She also advocated for being makeup-free so as others might learn from her and be comfortable in their skin.

Her message also relates to people with eating disorders accepting their flaws. She admits that the song’s reference to eating disorders and self-harm was risky and was glad people took it positively. She said, “I think it’s being received very, very well and I’m really happy about that ’cause you know, when you do something like that, it can always get a little bit of backlash, of course, by ignorant people… but, thankfully it’s been really, really amazing and everyone’s been so supportive of all of it.”

The second verse of the song talks about a woman who is starving herself to look beautiful which is a symptom of anorexia nervosa. It is quickly followed by a positive message of hope for the woman to see her perfection and to choose her light instead of darkness. It encourages her to see that she is beautiful the way she is.

Let us first look at the common eating disorders before looking at the lyrics to the song.

What are eating disorders? 

Eating disorders are mental illnesses characterized by abnormal eating habits, and complex and damaging relationships between food, exercise and body image that impairs physical and mental health.

Eating disorders are also known to cause death. In fact, about one person dies every hour as a direct result of an eating disorder. (Eating Disorders Coalition, 2016)

Types of eating disorders

According to the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders fifth edition (DSM-5), there are six types of eating disorders. Obesity is no longer included as an eating disorder since it results from long-term excess energy intake relative to energy expenditure. 

A range of genetics, physiological, behavioural, and environmental factors that vary across individuals contribute to the development of obesity; thus, obesity is not a mental disorder. (Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders fifth edition 2013).

The six eating disorders are;

Pica 

Pica is a feeding and eating disorder characterized by eating non-nutritive non-food substances such as ice, clay, soil, paper and stones. Can be caused by nutrition deficiencies, pregnancy, stress and cultural factors.

Rumination 

It is an eating disorder characterized by spitting up digested or partially digested food from the stomach, re-chewing the food and either re-swallowing or spitting it out. It tends to occur within 30 minutes of every meal. The causes of rumination remain unknown.

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder.

Formally referred to as selective eating disorder, is an eating disorder characterized by intense restriction or selection of food consumed. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with this eating disorder are not interested in their body image, shape or size.

Anorexia nervosa

Is a severe eating disorder characterized by abnormal body weight, distorted body image, and unwarranted fear of gaining weight. In order to prevent weight gain, anorexic people try to control their body weight by vomiting food, using laxatives, diet aids, and excessive exercise.

Common symptoms include extreme low body weight, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, dry skin, hair that easily falls off, preoccupation with food, skipping meals, refusing to eat, denying hunger, complaints of being overweight, measuring weight often and lying about the quantity of food taken.

Causes include; biological factors such as genes, psychological factors such as temperaments and environmental factors such as societal demands.

Preverance

Usually begins during the teenage and early adulthood years. It is more common in women than in men.

Anorexia is the most deadly mental illness. One study found that people with anorexia are 56 times more likely to commit suicide than people without an eating disorder. (Eating Disorders Coalition, 2016).

Bulimia nervosa

Is a mental disorder characterized by binge eating (consuming large quantities of food over a short period of time) followed by calorie reducing strategies such as purging (induced vomiting), fasting and excessive exercise. 

Bulimia is a severe, life-threatening eating disorder. Symptoms include; binge eating, vomiting, self-harm, fatigue, dehydration, avoiding food, irregular and absence of menstruation, constipation, heartburn and guilt.

Causes include genetic factors, psychological factors such as personality, dieting and societal pressure.

Binge eating disorder.

Binge eating is an eating disorder characterized by consuming large amounts of food over a short period of time, and feelings of being unable to stop eating even when full. It is the most common eating disorder with a prevalence of  5.5%.

Symptoms include; eating large amounts of food over a short period of time, eating even when not hungry, feeling that your eating behaviour is out of control, eating until you are uncomfortably full, eating in secret, eating alone and feelings of depression and guilt.

Unlike people with bulimia, binge eaters are not concerned with weight reduction through vomiting, using laxatives or excessive exercise and can thus suffer from other physical conditions such as obesity.

It is more common in women than in men and usually begins during early adulthood. Causes include dieting and psychological issues such as depression and low self-esteem.

Alessia Cara’s song about eating disorders

Scars to your beautiful 

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 covergirls 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

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, covergirls 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, 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

Lessons learnt from the song

In an interview with Idolator Mike, she says, “It’s a song about the struggles that some women encounter regularly in order to be happy, appreciated or to love themselves… We’re instilled with strange things that tell us we’re not good enough or that there seems to be just one form of beauty. This song essentially refutes such a notion. ‘Well, if the world doesn’t like how you appear, they should change,’ it says. They should alter their viewpoint. You are not required to change.”

In another interview with iHeartRadio, she says, “Whether it be in the media or in daily situations, these things that we’re told, whether implicitly or explicitly, enter into our minds, and it’s gotten to the point where today ladies can’t be looking at themselves and feel satisfied.” We must establish something that we dislike or against which we must compare ourselves. And that can be exhausting.”

Conclusion

We have looked at who Alessia Cara is and her struggle with eating disorders. We have also looked at her song relating to eating disorders and what we learn from it. We have also discussed what eating disorders are and their types.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment section below.

Frequently asked questions: Alessia Cara’s song for people with eating disorders

What happened to Alessia Cara?

After spending most of the early years of her career singing about feeling out of place and being shy, the singer has newfound strength and is more engaged with her mental health and her place in the music industry.

What happened to Alessia Cara’s hair?

She believes that the straightening of her hair may have caused the onset of hair hair loss in elementary school and early high school. She mentions it to be among the scariest things of her life.

How old is Alessia Cara?

She was born on 11th July 1996 and is 26 years old

Does Alessia Cara write her songs?

Yes, she wrote all the songs for her new album herself. She applauds herself by saying that it is not common for one to write a lot of their own stuff.

Citations

Dr Cooke E., (November 4, 2016). Scars to your beautiful. Retrieved from https://www.emilycooktherapy.com/scars-to-your-beautiful/

Stutz C., (September 8, 2016). Alessia Cara Opens Up About Her Struggle With Hair Loss That Inspired ‘Scars to Your Beautiful’. Retrieved from https://www.billboard.com/music/pop/alessia-cara-hair-loss-scars-to-your-beautiful-7468466/

ABC News Radio, Alessia Cara says “scars to your beautiful” is a message she “really wanted to get out to everybody.” retrieved from http://abcnewsradioonline.com/music-news/2017/4/12/alessia-cara-says-scars-to-your-beautiful-is-a-message-she-r.html#:~:text=Alessia%20admits%20that%2C%20with%20its,embraced%20it%20and%20the%20message.

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