We should let this song remain in the past

Sydney Lauer, Staff Reporter

Christmastime is finally here, and that means tuning into your local radio station in order to listen to some of your favorite merry tunes. However, Star 102 in Cleveland, Ohio has decided to rightfully ban the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” for its lyrics that are neither holly nor jolly.

Written in 1944 by Frank Loesser, the song won an Oscar for “Best Original Song” in 1950 when it was used in the film Neptune’s Daughter. The time and social climate was drastically different back then than it is today, especially with how women and victims of rape were treated. Today the words have a drastically different meaning, and in the rise of the #MeToo movement those lyrics are seen as predatorial, not “opportunistic” as the song says.

The song is about a woman who wants to go home during a snowstorm, but the man she is with is trying to “convince” her to stay with the justification, “Baby, it’s cold outside.” Eventually, she gives in and ends up staying despite her reservations about how her family might react.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has been a classic Christmas song for decades, but the lyrics are now raising concerns that this song is actually about date rape. Today, we know what consent is. When a woman says “no” it means “no” and we should never try to question that. However, this song is doing just that.

When the woman sings “I ought to say no, no, no sir,” the man replies with “Mind if I move in closer?” and later “What’s the sense of hurting my pride?”.  The man is clearly forcing himself upon the woman despite her repeatedly saying “no.” He is ignoring her polite and obvious refusals to stay the night, which makes this song sound more like sexual harassment than a cozy romantic evening in a snowstorm.

Those in defense of the song are saying that talking that way was just how the forties were. Flirting and romantic evenings went as far as asking to hold someone’s hand, and maybe a kiss or two. Yes, that was probably the climate at the time the song was written, but as the times have changed, so does the context of the song.

Today, the #MeToo movement has created a platform of support for anyone to come forward about their experience with sexual assault. Letting this song play on the radio is just a way of taking away a woman’s voice. If there’s a Christmas song about it, then it must be okay, right? Wrong.

There is even a line that suggests that the man put something in the woman’s drink in order to keep her from leaving. She asks, “Say what’s in this drink?” to which the man replies, “No cabs to be had out there.”

What appears as light, polite banter is actually an uncomfortable exchange where the woman is repeatedly refusing to stay with him, and the man going to great lengths to “convince” her to stay. Is this what romance should appear to be? Since when has consensual love become a distant dream?

Star 102  in Cleveland has a point to ban the song. Times have changed since the forties, and instead of allowing songs about harassment and rape to be played on public radio we should be promoting a social climate where respecting the boundaries of others is just plain common sense.

Christmastime is about family, love, and giving to one another. It is a holiday where we get together to celebrate the joy of life, and promoting a message where it is okay for a man to force himself on a woman is not okay. Do we really want our children to grow up listening to this song, and others like it, especially when we are trying to teach them the difference between being naughty or nice?

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” may be a classic holiday song with a catchy tune, but like Star 102 in Cleveland, we should let this song reman in the past where it belongs.