Many consider it a Christmas classic but radio stations are refusing to play the song ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ because it’s lyrics have run afoul of the #MeToo movement. However fans are now pushing back against the banishment.
The yule-tide favorite was originally recorded for the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter and it went on to scoop an Oscar in the Best Original Song category. It’s been a feature of the festive season every year since. However its days may be numbered because campaigners allege that it propagates rape culture.
Its lyrics feature a man playfully appealing to his female guest to stay the night so she will avoid the snowstorm that’s blowing outside and critics allege that it has a “rapey” vibe.
I really have to go.
Wait, drink this roofie.
I mean… Baby it’s cold outside.
— joe (@7ironjoe) December 1, 2018
Baby It’s Cold Outside is super rapey don’t @ me
— the bad Katie (@KatieKatCubs) December 1, 2018
The song has been covered by numerous artists since the original 1949 version. Among many others it has been performed by Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton, Ray Charles and Betty Carter and Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.
A radio station in Cleveland, Ohio is in the headlines after it axed the hit from its playlist following complaints from listeners and a Christmas-focused station in Ireland has followed suit, saying its listeners had also raised concerns.
The Cleveland-based Star 102 station announced its decision to stop playing the song in recent days. Host Glenn Anderson explained the decision in a blog post. “We used to play the song ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside,’ but you’re the Christmas Executive Officer at Star 102 and you told us it’s no longer appropriate,” Anderson wrote. “I gotta be honest, I didn’t understand why the lyrics were so bad… Until I read them.”
Meanwhile the co-founder of Ireland’s Christmas FM told TheJournal.ie that station is axing the song because the lyrics “are of a different era.”
The president of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Sondra Miller, supported the stations’ decision. “The character in the song is saying, ‘No,’ and they’re saying well, ‘Does no really mean yes?’ and I think in 2018, what we know is consent is ‘Yes’ and if you get a ‘No’ it means ‘No’ and you should stop right there,” she told local news outlet WJW-TV.
However, the stance seems to be at odds with the vast majority of the station’s listenership, at least if a Facebook poll can be believed, as a ballot on the station’s page shows that more than 90 percent of people think the song should be played.
Many wondered what songs might next be slapped on to the banned list. “I guess you should stop playing Santa Baby, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa and Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer because people think those are offensive too. This PC stuff is getting ridiculous, play whatever if people don’t like it they will turn the knob. You will never please everyone 100%,” commenter Michelle Nicola wrote.
2. The Christmas Song: Open fire? Pollution. Folks dressed up like Eskimos? Cultural appropriation
3. Holly Jolly Christmas: Kiss her once for me? Unwanted advances
4. White Christmas? Racist
— Daisy (@YellowRose1776) December 2, 2018
Another woman added: “I’m actually part of the me too movement, and a survivor. I can only speak for my own experience, but personally I adore this song and have never been offended by it or freaked out by it.
I do not believe it’s about rape – it’s a playful banter from a time when a woman would have been concerned people would think badly of her for staying, even if she wanted to. I’m glad my husband and I will be enjoying it on our holiday playlist.
Unsurprisingly the controversial banning has sparked an outpouring of reaction on social media.
If you are actually offended by the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” you have never actually listened to all of the lyrics and are a stupid fucking moron. Merry Christmas
— K Trevor Wilson (@KTrevorWilson) December 2, 2018
So the idiocy continues! Apparently some overly offended flakenut idiot calls in to radio station WDOK, and they stop playing 'Baby It's Cold Outside' amid 'Me Too' movement #stopitgetsomehelp #quitruiningeverything https://t.co/XehON1OBfg via @fox8news
— ❤️❤️Melissa❤️❤️ (@SweetMelissa777) November 30, 2018
Others interpreted the lyrics as meaning that the woman wanted to stay over but she was prevented from expressing that desire because of the misogynistic attitudes held towards women and sexuality at the time.
Comedian and feminist Jen Kirkman said on Twitter: “The song seems odd now not [because] 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 30s that means ‘I’m telling the truth.’ She wanted to get down and stay over.
“He is offering her an excuse she can use. ‘But it’s cold outside.’ And she’s explaining to him that excuse doesn’t work when you’re a woman who has to deal with what the neighbors think. The song has a lot to teach us about how society views women’s sexuality.”
Not that there's any chance of quelling the annual debate, but "Baby, It's Cold Outside" can be read as both a demonstration of rape culture, and as a woman subverting patriarchal restrictions on her sexual freedom, with solid textual evidence for both arguments. pic.twitter.com/4N3V0O5cLs
— Lani Diane Rich (@LaniDianeRich) December 3, 2018
Many people pointed out an apparent contradiction in riling against Baby It’s Cold Outside but not raising objections to other popular songs.