Stop Hating On 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'
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Politics and Activism

Stop Hating On 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'

Context is key to actually understanding this Christmas classic and avoiding hypocrisy.

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Stop Hating On 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'
MGM Pictures / YouTube

Times change. That is a given with anything. What is acceptable at one time can become an embarrassing, awkward mess when being interpreted in modern contexts.

Such is the case with the holiday classic "Baby, Its Cold Outside."

Written in the 1940s and featured in the romantic comedy Neptune's Daughter, the song is written as a back and forth between a woman and her boyfriend (or fiancé, the relationship is never explicitly stated) as he begs her to stay because the weather is so bad outside.

Taken in modern contexts, especially in the wake of the Me Too movement, many erroneously see the tune as a date rape anthem. Because of this, many feminists and leftists have demanded the song be pulled from radios to prevent it being played on Holiday playlists. In modern contexts, it is definitely easy to see how some could view the song as non-PC. However, it is incredibly important to understand the time that the song was written to understand its true meaning.

In the 1940s, it was incredibly unacceptable for a woman to stay at her boyfriend's home. The song is meant as a catty back and forth between the external conflict between the couple and the internal conflict that they are going through: stuck between the desire to stay with each other while also being conflicted by the social standards of the time. In the song, the woman is not as much expressing her personal desire to leave as she is expressing society's expectation of her to leave. In addition, several of the songs figurative language has just not aged well either, adding to the confusion. The most obvious example is the "what's in this drink" line. While that may seem like it implies a date rape drug, "what's in this drink" was an idiom at the time which meant to go against the social expectations of the time by blaming your actions on alcohol.

Given the contexts of the song, I think it is fairly plain to see that, while it may not age well in the era of Me Too, the song was written as a simple rebuke of social expectations in an age of prudishness and the silencing of women's sexuality. Some lines may seem old-fashioned and outdated, but that's because the song was written 70 years ago!

What is more concerning to me, however, is how so many people will criticize a song from 70 years ago without fully understanding the context of it, and yet they seem relatively silent on the songs that are being written today and played on contemporary radio. There are plenty more songs that explicitly demean women and treat them like sex objects that are played on mainstream radio today than even the most generous interpretation of "Baby, Its Cold Outside" could imply. Where are the collected calls for most of the rap, hip-hop, and pop station to take down their entire playlists? Why is it so important to take down a 70-year old Christmas classic when there are artists currently releasing much worse on the radio today?

In 2013, Rick Ross released a song where he literally said: "Put molly in her champagne/ She ain't even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that/ She ain't even know it." Ross lost his Reebok deal, but the song still went to the top of the charts, he still became a lead artist for the Suicide Squad soundtrack, and he continues to release chart-topping songs with plenty of other celebrities. To me, that seems like a more obvious example of rape culture than what "Baby, Its Cold Outside" could possibly represent.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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