Melanie Martinez: Stop Sexualizing Children

Melanie Martinez: Stop Sexualizing Children

Her songs have titles like, “Teddy Bear,” “Sippy Cup,” “Training Wheels,” and many others that might strike a memory of your childhood. Melanie Martinez sings from a dark child’s perspective, naive and innocent in a violent and perverted world. Although this may be the reality of our society, is she worsening the issue? Is her art form and the message of her music contributing to the fetishization of children and the acceptance of pedophilia (rape culture)?

Let’s first analyze the issue; pedophilia. Merriam-Webster defines pedophilia as “sexual feelings or activities that involve children.” This often involves manipulative adults preying on minors, who are too young to provide consent. According to the National Sex Offender Public Website, approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been victims of sexual assault in their lifetime. A 2012 study of sexual abuse victims showed that 26% were aged 12-14, and 34% were younger than 9.
But of course, this is an issue even more widespread than her fan base. The United Nations has concluded that about 120 million girls across the world have experienced forced intercourse or sexual activity of some kind, at any point in their life. Of the women alive in the world today, more than 700 million were married before the age of 18.
With more than 325,000 American children at risk for entering the sex trafficking network (The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Executive Summary, September 2001) and the average age of victims entering the network to be 12-14 (Sacred Hope International), the sexualization of minors has become a life-threatening issue.
Though freedom of expression is important, we need to be aware of the consequences of our actions. Melanie Martinez is someone with high visibility, therefore her actions are going to impact the beliefs of many. She is also a consenting adult, so her behavior has different meaning but the same implications as a teenager or child. When she presents a pacifier, a sippy cup, or a baby doll in a sexualized manner, she is encouraging the association of those objects with consensual sexual activity. However, when the people who receive this message seek that same sexual experience, they are met with children who are underage and unable to consent, who then become victims.

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Mary Richardson
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Mary is 16 years old and lives in Baltimore, MD, in the US. She is extremely passionate about foreign policy, intersectional feminism, and the well-being of bees. She's also a slight coffee addict, a lover of poetry, and possibly Audrey Hepburn in a former life.

34 Comments

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  2. Melanie Martinez wrote a story about a child who has been abused, manipulated, and cheated throughout their entire life but eventually found a way to love themselves despite the self-blame and hate. The entire album is a full story. Each song has a message. The boyfriend relationship problems are the only part that comes from her experiences. The rest of that is based off the experiences of others. Melanie claims to be a storyteller, and she wanted to tell a story through song.

    I understand where you are coming from with the “aesthetic” problem. You don’t want her dressing up as a child and promoting her songs the way she does because it looks like she’s merely sexualizing the innocence of a child. That’s understandable and I have nothing against that because I agree with you that she should stop that (unless she herself is a CSA victim and she’s using this as a way to reclaim her abuse, which isn’t the case).

    The songs, however, aren’t problematic. It’s the images that are. The songs are relatable (like any other song you hear about abuse). Soap is about someone who tries to bottle up their emotions because they impulsively vent to their significant other. They feel like a burden to them. It’s someone who struggles with anxiety. Carousel is about a person falling for someone only to be manipulated by their charms and lies. The songs are deep in meaning.

    I do appreciate you writing this article; however, I felt that you did a poor job connecting and explaining your supporting evidence to your main idea. You simply stated a cause and gave statistics and facts without connecting the two. There is reasoning and evidence to your statement. I’m not saying you are wrong because there is definitely some things that need to be said. However, you should have researched more or planned this out better.

    Also, I think the only people who have the best say on this topic are those who were CSA victims, or victims of abuse in general. I relate to some of the abuse songs myself to a certain degree but I might have some problematic views in my stance. Abuse victims heal differently and we all learn differently. I believe Melanie should consent to abuse victims with her stories.

    On another note, the real problem is her ableism in her songs. While it’s nice for us neurodivergents to have a song where we embrace who we are, I don’t want someone who isn’t ND, whether in character or not, calling themselves “cr*zy” and “ps*cho” in a way to reclaim it. There is a better way for a neurotypical’s point-of-view.

    Reply
  3. I wanted to comment on this article from the perspective of a mother, and a peace officer, who’s spent years investigation – crimes against children. First and foremost nearly every song this woman does, has two main themes running through it, and that’s Sexual connotations and Children. Much like the song Alphabet boy, where she’s crawling toward the alphabet blocks, much like a sleezy woman crawling across a cheetah skin rug in front of a fire looking to get laid. Her body language screams of sexual connotations in many of the films, and her terminology, says ‘children’. She intentionally dresses herself like a child. In alphabet boy, she has on a bib-overall that you’d put on a toddler. Yet she’s crawling across the floor, like a nude stripper on a platform in a club.

    Because of the amount of children that are exploited every day, it makes me sick to see people supporting this woman, who clearly has no ethics whatsoever. She, her agent, and her publishing platform, need to be sued. And her music needs to be trashed.

    Reply
    • you srly need to SHUT UP and enjoy good music. shes crawling aroud like that, mimicking a baby, not a slut. shesh, these old people, think they can rule the world and make people who are actually succesful fail in their career. she doesnt need to be sued nor her music needs to be trashed because she is actually a great singer with a great imagination. thats what people need nowadays. YOU AND THIS….WRITER NEED TO BE TRASHED AND NEVER USE THE INTERNET EVER AGAIN.

      Reply
    • Just because she does or acts a certain way doesn’t mean you can assume things about her she isn’t acting like what you think she’s acting!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply
  4. I wanted to post another comment and say “hats off” and THANK YOU, so much to Affinity Magazine and author, Mary Richardson for writing a much needed article regarding this individual. I’m praying that more media members will begin taking a stand and removing this person from their platforms, as her material is very much created to influence pedophilia and the exploitation of children. Example: Alphabet Boy, in less than 5 seconds into the song, the first two things you view, is a pacifier and a pierced septum, crawling on your hands and knees in a sultry manner, wearing a bib overall. In two of her other songs, in the same sentence you’ve got, “ride my bike fully undressed with you, and training wheels,” again, sex and children. Or the term, cradle and corpse in another song. Because of the influence on such a wide fan base, much of what is not censored or limited on the internet. I’d highly recommend that her music be sold, much like a porn magazine, in only certain venues, at best. Absolutely not where any minor, or public media has access to the material!

    Reply
    • oml! will you just SHUT UP already? GOD!

      Reply
  5. I think this is on how you view her songs. There are much more sexualized song over the industry but yet her songs are focused on how you view it in different angles. This was written on a blog as a journalistic type of writing and I think this is too claustrophobic. Nonetheless I think that her songs are great but of course you can’t hide that perspective because you viewing it in a different point of view from mine. Just my opinion.

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  25. She is not sexualizing children. One, she doesn’t use children in her videos except for 2 videos, neither of which are done in a sexual way and Two, none of her videos and songs talk about the act of sex. They do talk about family, love and relationships mostly in a dark way like breakups and sadness but never about sex.

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  30. This blog is really unnecessary you don’t get the story behind the songs Melanie isn’t sexualizing any one and I haven’t see any body been sexualized by her😳😑

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