Nothing Wrong With the Holiday Classic
by Vitaliy Berezhnyy – Staff Writer
Alright, alright, alright, I get it. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is RAPEY. Harrumph. I feel an empty pit in my stomach: something does not seem right. I mean, it is an old song (written in 1944), and rape was accepted back then… gosh, that just does not seem right, either. This calls for a ‘putting on of the proverbial super-sleuth-glasses and a reaching for the cracked magnifying glass’—oh, how dusty the two are. Blow the dust, and begin.
This song is almost always performed with a man and a woman, and because that is how it was intended to be, I will refer to the two as such. Looking through the lyrics… I’ve got to say, there is nothing rapey that I can find. A man seduces a woman who is playing hard-to-get. That is what I see. I see the woman retaining a ladylike composure, concerned over what “the neighbors might think,” and oh, “There’s bound to be talk tomorrow,” but at the same time, she wants him to want her. ‘I do not want it to look like I am sleeping around (change), so you have to be the right guy. Convince me to stay.’ None of the excuses she gives has to do with what she thinks, only what others might think: her brother, her mother, her sister, and the list goes on; what she wants, and what others want, does not align. Everyone else wants her to come home, but she wants to stay.
Within the first two verses, she gives in a little to his pull (“…maybe just half a drink more.”) Boom. Bananas. Almost sounds like she’s interested in staying, eh? Shortly after that, she jokes, “Say, what’s in this drink?” Yes. Jokes. Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Dolly Parton, and countless other artists have covered this song: are all of them are pro-rape? No. Clearly, they got the joke, they got the meaning of the song—the subtle romantic overtones that manage to slip away from today’s politically-correct, rape-culture hunt. Bottom line, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is not rapey; it is a lovely look into a sophisticated, yet light, play of love that was once widely accepted as romance.
Baby, It’s Date Rape and Really Concerning
by Anna Hartman – Feature Editor
Picture this: It is a cold December night, snow is falling outside, and a man and a woman have enjoyed the evening together at his house. The woman is headed out for the evening, but the man tries to convince her to stay. Despite the woman, protests, the man is persistent and will not let her leave, as he makes advances on her without given consent and eventually end up slipping something into her drink to get her to stay.
In 2017, a story with this narrative would be quick to be called out for depicting sexual assault, or being generally demeaning to women, however, in 1944, this very narrative flew under the radar wrapped in a catchy little Christmas package known as Baby It’s Cold Outside.
The song in question has garnered much debate through the years, however, I believe that the song, although catchy, is extremely dated and worthy of an update due to its negative and concerning portrayals of women.
Its depiction of women within the song are congruent with the beliefs of the time, that women are nothing more than objects to be advanced on by men. This belief no longer aligns with the way that women are seen today. Today, women can be scientists, engineers, actors, and are free to make their own way in the world, and should not be reduced to such negative depictions any more.
One could defend the old tune by saying that they did not know any better at the time, as women had gained the right to vote only 24 years before the song was written, however, just because they did not know better then, does not mean that we do not know better now.
We should correct our actions by either updating the lyrics of the beloved Christmas carol so that it sounds less concerning in general, and indicates the woman giving consent, rather than having the advances of a man forced upon her. If this does not happen, however, given the current political climate, we as a society should at least recognize the negative light that this shines on women, and do everyone a favor and greatly reduce its radio air time.
There are many things about internalized misogyny and constructs of our society that we cannot change, however, a silly little Christmas song is something that we can. If we can make little changes like this in other facets of our society, we can make a step forward in achieving true equality for women.