Is “Baby It’s Cold Outside” Demeaning Women? (FACEOFF)
December 17, 2018
Public outcry has called for the Christmas tune, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” to be removed from all radio stations. The 1940’s classic song by Frank Loesser, an award-winning broadway songwriter and composer, has recently been slammed by radio-listeners for the inappropriate and forcible behavior on the part of the male lead. The song which once used to be regarded as a way to introduce the holiday season will never sound the same once the lyrics are actually heard and understood.
The song takes place in the middle of a snowstorm; the two lead singers are a man and a women stuck inside of the man’s home. The women is telling her male counterpart she needs to go home. He rather persistently urges her not to leave, even after she repeatedly tells him she “really can’t stay.”
In the era of the #MeToo movement, countless women tell their stories of men interpreting the word “no” as a woman playing “hard to get.” This situation becomes increasingly clear throughout the duration of the song. She even tells him “I ought to say no, no, no sir,” to which he responds “mind if I move in closer.” He is clearly showing no respect for her personal boundaries and at this point she most likely feels uncomfortable and threatened by the man’s refusal to consider her lack of consent.
Many radio-listeners have labeled the song as a violation of the social rules of consent. At one point the woman asks “Say, what’s in this drink?” implying that something in the drink the man poured for her is harmful.This implication that the man possibly drugged her to get her woman to comply with his demands puts a negative connotation on the song. The events that might ensue due to this manipulation when a woman is turning down a man’s advances and he starts pouring her more alcohol illustrate a lack of morality within the man.
Even if the song was written over 70 years ago and may have held a different meaning then, it does not mean that the song has a place in music today. The song’s appalling lyrics make it almost impossible to get into the holiday spirit. Just because something is a classic does not mean it has to stay the same forever. Times change and meaning changes along with it.
The holiday season approaches, making the genre of Christmas music prominent again. As generations progress, groups like the #MeToo movement read into hidden messages that were not seen before. Recently radio shows expelled “Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Frank Loesser on the air because of subliminal messages listeners decided to pull out of the song. The tune is a sweet winter melody that can serve to end of holiday parties on a nice note, and these so-called “hidden messages” that were recently brought to light stray from the song’s intended interpretation.
“Baby It’s Cold Outside” is a story about rape unless the listener intends for it to be, and if they do not want to hear it, they can freely change the radio station. However, due to recent circumstances the song was taken off the air, giving no one the option to enjoy this seasonal favorite. Loesser’s daughter, Susan Loesser, defends the song as something written for her mother and father to sing at Christmas parties. Loesser continued to defend the lyrics “what’s in this drink,” as a saying many in the 1940’s would consider this a joke according to Entertainment, but because time had progressed people interpret the lyrics differently.
“Baby It’s Cold Outside” is not the worst in popular music today, considering that many current songs contain extremely purposefully inappropriate content than, unlike the 1944 winter duet. For instance, the video for the song “I Love It” by Kanye West and Lil Pump has 375 million views wherein they call a woman rather degrading names. If listeners do not have problems with hip-hop songs of today climbing the charts, why is it problematic for a song created generations ago for the holidays considered to be wildly inappropriate?
Every listener should have the choice to listen to the song, and if a portion of the audience does not agree, they can always change the channel.