As Christmas gradually sneaks up on us and radio stations become inundated with Christmas tunes, you may have noticed there is one particular song missing from the Christmas classics: “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which, at this point, might be preferable the way society is unfolding), you probably have heard that many radio stations are banning this holiday song due to the lyrics perpetuating rape-culture.
According to Frank Loesser, songwriter of the 1944 song “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” the catchy tune was intended as a cheeky way to suggest party guests go home at the end of the night – a sweet “sayonara” if you will.
However, to listen to the lyrics of the song, one could easily misinterpret it differently. The meaning becomes particular questionably in lines like the following:
“I ought to say, no, no, no sir (mind if I move in closer?)
At least I’m gonna say that I tried (what’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride?)
I really can’t stay (oh baby don’t hold out)
But baby, it’s cold outside.”
Is the song itself catchy? Absolutely! Are the words borderline creepy? Yeah, probably. (Albeit, I highly doubt they were intended to sound predatorial.) But the purpose of this article isn’t to discuss the context of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” This is just an example of a new-wave epidemic we’re starting to see of regulation and censorship in movies, songs, and literature.
In Princeton, an all-male a cappella singing group has recently done away with their rendition of The Little Mermaid’s “Kiss The Girl” under heavy scrutiny that it, too, promotes unwanted sexual advances. And, quite frankly, I’ve had enough.
As a female who has personally dealt with sexual assault and unwanted advances multiple times, I think I am more than qualified to weigh in on this issue.
Sexual advances, assault, and rape is very much an imminent issue and danger in society and should never be taken lightly. However, banning songs or erasing parts of movies or editing dialogues in plays or books is NOT the answer. These extreme measures are not going to stop or change rape culture. In fact, it’s going to have quite the opposite effect.
What’s occurring now is no different than what occurred in the mid-1900’s when people would burn books and tapes because they didn’t approve of the content. It’s not only blasphemous to destroy an artist’s work, but you miss out on a valuable learning opportunity for the youth.
Here’s the thing: sex, drugs, violence, rape, inequality, pain, sacrilegious ideologies, infidelity, homosexuality… all of these topics and realities aren’t just going to go away if we ban a song or skip over a chapter in a book.
Having those hard-hitting, difficult discussions with our children is one of the most important jobs we have as parents. Pretending these issues won’t arise if we just ignore them is synonymous with removing a tumor out of a patient and pretending like the cancer won’t continue to spread, anyway.
So, I propose that instead of banning songs like “Baby It’s Cold Outside” or “Kiss The Girl”, we handle these hurdles in two ways: We either decide that they probably aren’t nearly as big of a deal as everyone is making them out to be and decide to pick our battles better. OR, we acknowledge maybe they don’t send the best message and SIT DOWN AND TALK TO OUR KIDS LIKE THEY HAVE ACTUAL BRAINS WITH DEDUCTIVE REASONING SKILLS.
Seriously, people. It’s really not that difficult to turn to your little boy or girl and say, “You know, this is a really catchy tune, but it’s just a song. And it doesn’t make it ok for a man to ever pressure you into staying at his house if you don’t want to.”
See? Crisis averted. Now we don’t have to go burning down radio stations or movie theaters because every message doesn’t align with a utopian society where nothing controversial or bad ever happens.