Another Fuss About the Classic “Baby It’s Cold Outside”?

Tis’ finally the Christmas season and we probably expect to hear our usual classic christmas songs and new ones on the radio but not controversies around them, right? It is indeed that time of the year where our Christmas trees have been adorned, presents have been wrapped and more debates about the song has been up. The controversy regarding the classic “Baby It’s Cold Outside” song has been taking everyone by storm. Although, there was always a debate regarding the actual meaning of this song, this year the controversy gained more attention as everyone has been sharing the details of it, tweeting about it and whereas even the songwriter’s daughter has addressed the situation. To refer back to the actual history of the song, the original song was written by Frank Loesser in 1944 and he wrote it in order to sing with his wife at their housewarming party in New York City. The song became popular and gained recognition after it was played in the film “Neptune’s Daughter” in 1949 (McDonell Parry, 2018).

 

Photo via Flickr by PapaPiper

It has been such a classic song and it is very common to hear it on the radio every Christmas. The song has been covered by various artists including Mariah Carey since then, thus it may take some by surprise that there is a controversy around such a popular and classic song. The controversy is surrounding the meaning behind some lyrics that hint rape culture, and display misogyny and sexism. Some radio stations even decided to ban the whole song after such conversations blew up while some people are raged due to such actions of bans itself. There has been tweets such as the following by Kaitlin Olson, “In the newfound spirit of not molesting/sexually intimidating/creeping out women, let’s consider cooling it on Baby It’s Cold Outside this holiday season”. There are various other tweets that mention to stop playing this song numerous times as well as to stop covering this overused song.

 

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The song is about a male and female who are labelled as the “Wolf” and the “Mouse”. The assertion is that the wolf and the mouse both have gone on a date. Following the nightcap back at his house, the women was making excuses to leave while the man was insisting for her to stay using his reasoning as “It’s Cold Outside”.

Furthermore, the controversy seems to have been circulating around the specific lyric of “Say, What’s In This Drink?”. This line seems to have stood out as it relates to the #MeToo Movement. Some people are also looking into context for the time period that the song was written in order to interpret the meaning of making such lyrics better. For instance, New York University songwriter Professor Phil Gladstone looked at the social history which suggested that the line had a meaning of “Wow, I don’t know how this is effecting me, what’s in it?” definitely has a different meaning context back then than it has today. While some critics say that this song clearly depicts patriarchy, possibly sexual assault and demeaning women, Loessor’s daughter has responded to this issue and thinks otherwise. Susan Loessor states that the #MeToo movement “doesn’t get it” when the topic was brought up in their context for the particular lyric (Welch, 2018).

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She states that it is not a date rape song but it’s a flirtatious song where the characters are both into it. Susan believes it is a mistake that this song is getting attacked particularly. She also affirms that the future generations will still learn the tune for years to come however, it depends on how politically correct people get. Everyone has their own opinions regarding this song now, while both sides can justify their reasoning, it will be interesting to see how the controversy will keep unfolding for the years to come.