Frank Loesser wrote a song in 1944 that was a call and response duet that he would perform with his wife at fancy parties. They had no idea it would be a hit that would stand the test of time.
The song, ‘Baby It’s Cold outside’ was the final song they would sing for the evening to let the guests know that it was coming to a close.
“We become instant parlor room stars,” Loesser said following their first performance of the song at a housewarming party in New York City. “We got invited to all the best parties for years on the basis of ‘Baby.’ It was our ticket to caviar and truffles. Parties were built around our being the closing act.”
The song was not designed to be a holiday tune but it ended up becoming a popular Christmas song because it was winter themed.
Many of the world’s top artists have covered the song, including Ray Charles with Betty Karger and Louis Armstrong with Velma Middleton. Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton also covered the song in later years.
You could hear the song playing on radio station and in shops worldwide for many decades. It would almost run on repeat during the winter months to provide people with a warm, holiday feeling.
There’s at least one radio station in the United States, however, that decided they won’t be playing the song this year.
Cleveland’s Star 102 WDOK-FM plays Christmas music 24 hours a day during the holiday season. They decided that they would not be playing Baby It’s Cold Outside after some of their users complained that the lyrics were inappropriate. They made the statement in line with the #MeToo movement.
As a refresher, this song involves a conversation between a man and a woman where the man is trying to convince the woman to stay with him rather than go out in the bad weather. He asked her to have another drink and spend the night even though she says “The answer is no.”
#MeToo movement supporters, which is designed to bring attention to sexual assault and provide victims an opportunity to stand up against it said that the lyrics of the song are ‘manipulative and wrong’.
“The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place,” Star 102 host Glen Anderson explained in a blog post.
“People might say, ‘oh, enough with that #MeToo,’ but if you really put that aside and listen to the lyrics, it’s not something I would want my daughter to be in that kind of a situation,” midday host Desiray told Cleveland’s Fox 8. “The tune might be catchy, but let’s maybe not promote that sort of an idea.”
Source: Comet Over Hollywood
Some people say that the song makes date rape seem normal and even talks about the lyrics, which include “Say, what’s in this drink?”
“It really pushed the line of consent,” Cleveland Rape Crisis Center President and CEO Sondra Miller told Fox News.”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.”
There are others who don’t agree that the song is inappropriate.
The cultural climate seems to be rather sensitive but some people are standing up for the true intention of the song. This includes comedienne Jen Kirkman, who said that that phrase means something different when you keep the era in mind.
“I’m so tired of this,” Kirkman tweeted. “The song seems odd now not cuz 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 30’s that means “I’m telling the truth.” She wanted to get down and stay over.”
I’m so tired of this. The song seems odd now not cuz 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 30’s that means “I’m telling the truth.” She wanted to get down and stay over. https://t.co/3TaQbUSoB1
— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) December 1, 2018
I understand why people would link the #MeToomvmt #MeToo with baby, its cold outside and I know how women feel about it, But never have I linked my misfortune with a damn song! I enjoy that song! Everyone has gone crazy! That song has been out since the late 90s! It's a classic!
— Bethany Ava (@BessieAva) December 1, 2018
In a world where catchy top 40 songs glorify guns, drugs, fighting and sex, Baby it’s cold outside’ is deemed the most offensive of them all?! This is hillarious! pic.twitter.com/YlFg75BPKZ
— Lee Anthony (@Holland4La) December 1, 2018
As a fierce feminist who loves sex and hates the way society views women who love sex, Baby It's Cold Outside is one of my holiday favorites. Fuck what the "neighbors might think." #BABYITSCOLDOUTSIDE
— GritCityMissfit (@GritCityMissfit) November 30, 2018
Find me in December losing friends by arguing that Baby It’s Cold Outside is not rapey and instead about a woman who wants to have sex but must make excuses for her desires & agency
as if it’s something that actually… matters
— Marcia Belsky (@MarciaBelsky) November 29, 2018
Social media has continued to debate the meaning of the song but for now, Star 102 and perhaps some other radio stations may be giving the song the boot.
This isn’t the only controversy to hit the holiday season recently. Others include Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer including some disturbing themes and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving being racist.