Star 102, a radio station in Cleveland, OH, has banned a Christmas classic. Baby, It’s Cold Outside has been “#MeToo’d” and the internet is split whether it is the right thing to do.
The song’s lyrics are, at a minimum, problematic. It’s a duet, sung between a woman trying to go home and a man trying to get her to stay the night. While the woman repeatedly says no and tries to leave, the man is just not taking no for answer, even plying her with more drinks. In a modern context, it’s easy to see why people are offended by the song. The lyrics are certainly a bit… date-rapey.
Ah, you’re very pushy you know?
I like to think of it as opportunistic
I simply must go (Baby it’s cold outside)
The answer is no (But baby it’s cold outside)
The welcome has been (How lucky that you dropped in)
At one point, the woman asks What’s in this drink? and in the age of Bill Cosby, sex offender, that is not something you want to hear a woman say.
But the song does have its defenders.
Comedienne Jen Kirkman is one of those defenders, arguing that the lyrics of the song should be taken within the context of the era in which they were written. In a tweet, she specifically pointed to that most controversial “drink” line:
I’m so tired of this. The song seems odd now not cuz it’s about coercing sex but about a woman who knows her reputation is ruined if she stays. “Say what’s in this drink” is an old movie line from the 30’s that means “I’m telling the truth.” She wanted to get down and stay over. https://t.co/3TaQbUSoB1— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) December 1, 2018
Others don’t care what the line originally meant, it sets a specific image in the 21st Century.
Sondra Miller, president of Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, said the song “pushed the line of consent,” and Glenn Anderson, one of the DJs at Star 102 summed it up in a blog post: “Now, I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong. The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place.”
Anderson makes a great point and with the thousands of Christmas songs out there, is the world really worse off by having this one fall to the wayside and lost to history; lost to a different time and a much different era?
Where do you stand?