This New Year’s, everyone was talking about Mariah Carey’s disastrous lip-sync fail on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. But another performance that evening stood out to me and stayed with me. It was Alessia Cara singing “No Scars to Your Beautiful.”
While most of the other female performers came on stage in glittery, barely-there costumes, Alessia wore a simple leather jacket, jeans and sneakers, and no makeup. Her attire echoed the sentiment of the song, and its powerful message for girls about body image and self-acceptance.
Here’s a link to the performance.
What a contrast to many of today’s young female singers, who flaunt their sexuality and push the boundaries with explicit lyrics. As a mom of three young daughters, I often worry about the messages they’re receiving from popular music and images in the media. There’s constant, crushing pressure to fit the mold, to look a certain way, as though a woman’s value lies in her appeal to men. In our supposedly enlightened times, young women are more sexualized than ever. It’s so wrong, yet so prevalent.
I’ve felt this pressure all my life. As we grow older, it doesn’t go away. Women are not allowed to age. We obsess about every line in our faces and every roll on our tummies.
I want my girls to feel beautiful in their own bodies, and I also want them to understand that true beauty comes from the heart. How do I teach them this in a culture that places so much value on physical appearance?
For me, it was the most optimistic moment of New Year’s 2017 to see a 20-year-old singer defy the trend and put forth a message to young girls that it’s OK to be unique. It’s OK not to fit our society’s impossible standards of perfection. “Beauty comes from the inside” isn’t just a cliché. It’s so true. We all know that the more you get to know someone, the more their inner qualities shine through and the exterior no longer matters.
In 2017, let’s keep empowering girls to be true to themselves, to embrace their strengths and to love themselves as they are.