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“Baby It’s Cold Outside” Sexist or Innocent?

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” Sexist or Innocent?

Lyrics to a song written in 1944 are proving too risque and inappropriate for the sensitive ears of listeners in 2018.

Written by Frank Loesser in 1944, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” featured in the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter, winning the Oscar for best original song.

The call and response duet has a female voice trying to tear herself away from her date in myriad ways: “I’ve got to go away … Hey, what’s in this drink?” And finally, “The answer is no.”

But her declarations of “no” are far from final, with the male voice, wheedling “Mind if I move in closer … Gosh, your lips are delicious … How can you do this thing to me?”

In the wake of #MeToo and the Kavanaugh hearings, radio stations are pulling the plug on the song.

But, it hasn’t been that simple for radio stations whose listening audience are clamoring for the song during the holiday season (even though it wasn’t intended as such when it was written).  Furthering the ambiguity, KOSI in Denver has done an about-face, first banning the song on Monday, then opening up a poll to put the decision to listeners. The results were unequivocal: the vast majority of the 15,000 respondents demanded the song’s return, the station said.

However, in a society that is hypersensitive to women’s equality issues and sexual harassment, the song’s lyrics are causing a stir.  Is it much ado about nothing or are the lyrics reflective of a bygone era where women were subjugated to unwanted and aggressive sexual advances?  There’s plenty of arguments on both sides.  Both sides are throwing a lot of heat but not providing much light.

Whether you are for or against, you need to know the conversation/argument is taking place.  Be informed and make a decision for yourself.  One thing I do know is that when we re-examine something from 7 decades in the past and attempt to do so with our present cultural lens, things can get a bit fuzzy.  There are many things that were acceptable in 1944 that are no longer so.  For instance, it was acceptable to have a few cocktails at lunch then, not so now.  Getting behind the wheel after having a few too many was nowhere near as serious an offense as it is now.  Are we more enlightened now than our forefathers and foremothers? I don’t know.  It is something to consider.

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