If you've been on the internet at any point in the last two weeks, you'll know that it's that time of year where people want to get mad about the song "Baby, It's Cold Outside."
Over the last few years, everyone has seemingly realized that the song was a little strange. People pointed out that the woman was being pressured into staying the night at a man's house, and some even assumed that the man spiked her drink with something.
People have started boycotting the song, and some radio stations have gone so far as to remove it from their holiday playlists entirely. But one Tumblr user, who happens to be a former English teacher and self-proclaimed big fan of jazz in the 30s and 40s, wrote a convincing defense that the song is actually about a woman's empowerment, and not about a man forcing her into something she doesn't want.
The user points out that the woman is out late, unchaperoned, and at a man's house to whom she's not married. In that time period, it wasn't something women were supposed to do. She even points that out by saying "there's bound to be talk tomorrow." During this sequence, the woman in the song asks "what's in this drink?" which is a big issue for a lot of people.
But as this user points out, that was always a running joke in the 30s and 40s.
That is the standard joke that’s going on when a woman in media from the early-to-mid 20th century says “hey, what’s in this drink?” It is not a joke about how she’s drunk and about to be raped.
It’s a joke about how she’s perfectly sober and about to have awesome consensual sex and use the drink for plausible deniability because she’s living in a society where women aren’t supposed to have sexual agency.
The user also points out that yes, the song does sound off in today's society, but at the time, women weren't really "allowed" to admit they wanted to have sex.
Basically, the song only makes sense in the context of a society in which women are expected to reject men’s advances whether they actually want to or not, and therefore it’s normal and expected for a lady’s gentleman companion to pressure her despite her protests, because he knows she would have to say that whether or not she meant it, and if she really wants to stay she won’t be able to justify doing so unless he offers her an excuse other than “I’m staying because I want to.
It's also pointed out that the woman constantly says she should say no, but doesn't really want to.
She states explicitly that she’s resisting because she’s supposed to, not because she wants to: “I ought to say no no no…”
She states explicitly that she’s just putting up a token resistance so she’ll be able to claim later that she did what’s expected of a decent woman in this situation: “at least I’m gonna say that I tried.”
And at the end of the song they’re singing together, in harmony, because they’re both on the same page and they have been all along.
The post has garnered an insane amount of attention, with more than 238,000 people reblogging it on Tumblr. Most people are on board with the user's commentary, saying those who do think it's weird are the ones with issues.
"People analyze everything to death," Katie Gared commented. "If you’re looking for something problematic, you’re going to find it whether it’s there or not."
"I also don't think the phrase "what's in this drink" is automatically suspicious if you DO assume the answer is alcohol," Natalie Sturm mentioned. "As someone who drinks...quite a bit lol, that's perfectly normal if someone offers you a cocktail you haven't had before, or if your friend makes you a "cocktail" that's nasty."
"Stop dredging up things from the past and applying today’s “views”, times were clearly different and not always right, but it doesn’t make us bad people that we enjoy this song," Vanessa Savage pointed out.
Ultimately, you're allowed to like whatever you want, and you're also allowed to interpret the song in whatever way you choose. But I think it's going a little far to coin "Baby, It's Cold Outside" as the "Christmas Date-Rape Song."
Of course times have changed since the song was written, and it's important to be aware of how things are perceived, but can we not just let a Christmas song be a Christmas song?