Should the Christmas song ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ be banned from radio stations?

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For years now, there’s been a low-key conversation about the Christmas song “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” It’s a half-chatty/half-singy duet which first appeared in the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter (although it was written in 1944). Here’s how people were originally introduced to the song:

Over the years, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” has become something of a Christmas classic, and many artists have covered it. It has the potential to be playful, but it mostly comes across as seriously creepy, like a guy is trying to roofie a girl and get her to stay the night with him, and he won’t take no for an answer. Key & Peele also did a parody of the song which underlined how creepy it is. But for all of those conversations – which have been happening for years – no radio station has ever thought to ban it. Until now:

Over the last several years, many have called the song “date-rapey” in reference to the lyrics “Say, what’s in this drink?” The song details a back-and-forth, traditionally between a man and a woman, where the man tries to convince a woman to stay the night despite her continued protests, saying, “The answer is no.”

It seems the station received a call complaining the song is inappropriate in 2018, and after a listener poll on the WDOK website supported this sentiment, they decided to ban the song from their Christmas radio play. “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.”

In a blog post on the station’s website, radio host Glenn Anderson further explained the decision, writing, “I gotta be honest, I didn’t understand why the lyrics were so bad…Until I read them.” He concluded, “Now, I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very 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. “

The song continues to be divisive in today’s cultural climate, and for WKOD, it seems the easiest thing is simply to say that when it comes to ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside,’ the answer is no.

[From People]

And so now there’s like a backlash to the backlash, about how people are too damn sensitive and it’s a Christmas classic and Big Feminism Is Destroying Christmas or whatever. I personally can’t stand the song, but I never really thought about whether it should be flat-out banned from radio stations. It’s also worth noting that there are some interpretations of the song where MAYBE it could be about a woman who really does want to spend the night but she’s worried about what people will say. But… it still feels really date-rapey.

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180 Responses to “Should the Christmas song ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ be banned from radio stations?”

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  1. skipper says:

    This is a tough one. I don’t care for Christmas music but I know that a lot of radio stations play only Christmas music during the holiday season and I’m sure this song is played frequently since it’s a classic. It may need to be a case-by-case (or station-by-station) thing. If enough people complain to a radio station then they could make the choice to stop playing it. It doesn’t bother me but I’m not a Christmas music fan. I did listen to the lyrics for the first time though and it seem a bit skeezy. I guess it all depends on the individual and how they perceive it.

    • Another Anne says:

      Honestly, this is not a Christmas song at all. It has nothing to do with Christmas. We can afford to give this one up, and listen to the hundreds of other legitimate Christmas songs already out there.

      • skipper says:

        I understand what you’re saying. When I read the lyrics it didn’t seem to be about Christmas at all. More about the weather than anything. Also, a guy trying to get some.

      • Gina says:

        Completely agree! It’s a song that talks about winter and for that reason, it’s a Christmas song?? No.

      • Jay (the Canadian one) says:

        By that measure, Let It Snow, Winter Wonderland and Jingle Bells are not Christmas songs either. They’re all winter songs. Jingle Bells is about a sleigh race, just a winter sport.

      • Susie says:

        Religious Christmas songs offend ….pretty soon only jingle bells

    • ...otaku fairy says:

      To me, it sounds like a woman is torn between what she actually wants to do with her body and patriarchal standards of respectability, and the guy is basically saying, “Let’s just do it. I’ll cover for you.” But I also can see why it could sound like a guy pressuring a woman for sex that she’s hesitant to have. I don’t thing the song should be banned. It does kind of open up a discussion about how we should respond when we see a woman’s choice as something that’s in line with what patriarchy/ some men want.

      • skipper says:

        I like your take on it.

      • JeanGrey says:

        Otaku Fairy,

        That is my take on it also. She wants to stay, but she’s worried about people talking, what they are gonna say about her if she stays over and is trying to talk herself out of it. Meanwhile he’s like, but look at the weather. You can’t go out in that! Like giving her an excuse to stay.

      • emmidwest says:

        I completely agree with you!

      • historybuff says:

        I’ve never heard of Neptune’s Daughter before. Thanks for the clip, this really highlights the creepy factor (and the Latin machimismo) that people complained about.

        I had only heard this song from the movie “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney singing this song. In that film, Otaku Fairy’s take on the situation pretty much sums up the situation. That’s why it’s played at Christmas, BTW. Because of the movie.

      • Yvette says:

        Historybuff, in the film there is a twist with the situation where Red Skelton (younger people here might not know this red-headed comedian from the 40′s, 50′s, and 60′s) is the one being told “Baby, it’s Cold Outside” by a woman. :)

        Here is that clip from “Neptune’s Daughter:”

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpDLpz88V-I

      • historybuff says:

        Thanks, Yvette!

        I love all the gender reversal stuff. Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” is a lot of fun and, on a more serious note, “Her Opponent” is thought-provoking. It’s a look at the Clinton/Trump debates with the genders switched.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ9FdRaTGEo

        What do you think?

      • sa says:

        Is ‘she’s saying no, but he knows she really wants to stay’ really a defense of the song? Because that still sounds very rapey.

        The explanation people have for why the song isn’t rapey requires acceptance of regressive rape excusing ‘her mouth is saying no, but her body’s saying yes’ BS.

      • virginfangirl says:

        I agree. It really shows how times have changed. Women today can have premarital sex and not be shamed (although we still have a way to go to be completely equal in that public opinion).

      • detritus says:

        So the guy knows her better than she does herself?
        Gross. History doesn’t excuse this, it’s still a man trying to overcome a woman’s wishes, despite our suppositions why she may wish certain things.

        He is literally ignoring her ‘no’. This is rape culture.

    • Lua says:

      I’ve been tongue in cheek ruining this song for people for a decade. I point out the lyrics and we giggle bc we know it’s a case of something that doesn’t have malicious intent, but didn’t age well. I think a lot of people are missing an opportunity to enjoy the Christmas favorite, but also use it as an opportunity to discuss why it’s not ideal. I’ll still be jamming out to the gender reversed version by she and him and of course Dean Martin’s version, but when my infant son gets a little older use it as a jump off for a discussion about consent so he never ends up in an Aziz situation

      • Nancito says:

        @Lua – I like your point about “it didn’t age well”, and I’m also someone who hates the constant Christmas music at this time of the year, so I don’t mind songs being banned – but please, this song is hardly any sort of Christmas classic – gah!

    • BeanieBean says:

      I know I always felt uncomfortable as a kid when I watched old movies & saw this song/scene.

    • MoxyLady says:

      It’s old! Therefore it has to be tolerated /
      and of excellent quality! It’s a true rape anthem of yesteryear. I say let’s burn it to the ground and spit on the ashes

  2. Patty says:

    No, it shouldn’t. I never thought I’d say this but I’m really starting to be annoyed by a lot of this silly stuff. Nobody was trying to roofie anyone.

    People are just both jaded and ridiculously sensitive and trying to apply a meaning to the song that isn’t there.

    • smcollins says:

      All of this ^^^ Your comment sums it up perfectly

      • Socks says:

        💯 agree!

      • Lady2Lazy says:

        I love that song, primarily with Dean Martin singing it! I love Dean Martin though, I’m not that old. It’s just that I watched old movies with my mother growing up and have a soft spot for people from that era, and the movies. I watched How To Murder Your Wife with Jack Lemmon and Virna Lisi last night for the first time and I loved it. Plus the Day/Hudson movies, Hitchcock, Hepburn/Tracy, Grant/whom ever, etc…

    • Miss M says:

      I agree with you. My GAwd people are oversensitive these days and not even paying attention to the social context that the song was written. It was written in the 40s. I am pretty sure, if it was cold outside my grandma would not stay at a male friend’s house, let alone a boyfriend/soon-to-be-husband’s house. Otherwise people would talk…

    • LadyMTL says:

      I totally get your point about the time when it was written, but that doesn’t excuse it entirely. I mean, a lot of things had different meanings or interpretations back in the 30′s and 40′s but in this day and age it’s not okay. I personally don’t think it’s “rapey” but there’s no way lyrics like ‘say what’s in this drink’ or ‘you’re very pushy you know / I like to think of it as opportunistic’ would pass without comment these days. (I mean, it is a wee bit creepy, no?)

      Do I think the song should be banned outright? Not necessarily. But it shouldn’t get a pass just because it’s old and many people consider it to be a Christmas classic.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        I would say “what’s in this drink” refers to alcohol….

        The song is basically giving the girlfriend “legitimate” reasons to stay i.e. it’s cold outside, what’s in this drink………while also acknowledging that she wants to stay.

        But I don’t care about the song, lol. I’m sure no one will notice if people stop playing it.

      • MeghanNotMarkle says:

        We say “What’s in this drink?” when our toddlers fall over. He didn’t roofie her. You’re taking it way out of context. She WANTS to stay and she’s looking for excuses to, all the while knowing she’ll be viewed as scandalous and loose if she does.

    • Notanotherpostcard says:

      Patty, well said!

    • Kitten says:

      Don’t worry–it’s only one radio station. There are fifteen thousand other radio stations that will continue to play this annoying-ass song every year.

      • Shannon says:

        ^^^ This. It’s one radio station and their listeners apparently polled to ban the song. BFD, people can buy it on iTunes if they miss it that much. I wouldn’t BAN the song, but I also do thing it’s an obnoxious, creepy song.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Thank you, Kitten. It’s like Trump doing his “some people are saying” bit. Just because 1 radio station decides to make this choice doesn’t mean large numbers of people are demanding a ban.

        I don’t think people are being overly sensitive when they recognize the lyrics haven’t aged well. I also don’t think those same people are demanding that it gets “banned”. It just makes for a good headline to frame it that way.

      • Spargel says:

        Not one. CBC, Rogers Media and Bell Media in Canada have just pulled it–and that’s most of Canadian “big radio” right there.

        https://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/canadian-radio-stations-baby-it-s-cold-outside-1.4931867

    • Fubar says:

      Have you ever heard Girl You Need a Change of Mind by Eddie Kendricks? Now that is a song that needs to be banned.

      Baby (Let me tell you) girl you need a change of mind
      Why march in pick-it lines? Burn bras and carry signs? Now I’m for women’s rights I just want equal nights help!
      Baby girl you need a change of mind baby girl you need a change of mind
      All men don’t discriminate this man emancipates now I won’t chain you up just fill your lovin’ cup hey, hey you need me girl

    • Usedtobe says:

      Thank you. Yes! The Dean Martin version is my all-time fav.

    • Tracy May says:

      That stuffed toy looks awfully close to that snowwoman. Where is his other hand? Does he have his cheek on her boob? Pervert.

    • cupcake says:

      I agree!!

      geez, EVERYTHING has to go now. I’ve never thought of “date rape” when I have heard this song…and I am glad that I have not. I am a Red Skelton fan from when me and my grandpa would watch his movies. I saw a lady singing it to him.

    • Alice says:

      +1000

      Love this song. Reminds of being young and times when I so much wanted to stay longer and later but oh the parents, the neighbours, etc. Nothing to do with sex btw! It was about another kiss, another minute looking at each other, the warm feeling of being in the same room, the drink that made us tipsy and giggling, etc. Precious times, when we were young and so in love but so conscious and mindful of other people. I hate how all is made about sex now. I think it takes away a lot from young people to be exposed to a reality that is focused on sex exclusively.

      • burdzeyeview says:

        Great comment, I remember those times when you had to go home (to your parents) but didn’t really want to and it wasn’t about sex, it was just about snuggling together “canoodling”…god, how old am I?

    • Sticks says:

      Thank you, Patty! Everything you just said.

  3. Kitty says:

    If you read the lyrics in the context it was meant when the song was wrote, it isn’t rapey. It was written in the 40s wasn’t it? People need to relax

    • Dr Mrs The Monarch says:

      When you can’t play the song for a new listener without a lengthy background on the history and context of the piece to explain why it isn’t as awful as its lyrics describe, then yes, it is no longer appropriate for radio.

      People who like it can play it at home on their modern music playing devices! We no longer live in the 1940s where radio broadcasts are the only option for music listeners.

      • Himmiefan says:

        Good point. I’ve never said anything about this song, but today, it is a bit creepy. As someone here said, it hasn’t aged well.

    • virginfangirl says:

      Well it’s an important history lesson, that’s for sure. We’ve come a long way baby!

  4. Kcat says:

    If you don’t like the song turn the effing station. For gods sake.

  5. Jag says:

    Good for them banning it! I don’t know the song, but after reading the lyrics, I agree that it’s not a good Christmas song. It sounds like she wants to leave because she’s worried what others will think, but she also questions what’s in her drink as he tries to shame her for not “putting out.” It’s all about him and he doesn’t care that she’s saying “no.” Just an awful song. Ugh.

    • Kitty says:

      https://m.imgur.com/gallery/00f20IH

      Read this please. The world was a different place when this song was wrote. If you were a woman and wanted to stay at a mans house overnight, everyone would talk about you, and judge. Women weren’t supposed to do anything sexual whether they wanted it or not. It’s an old song, it sounds bad when you read it now because everyone takes everything the wrong was these days.

      • Rando says:

        Guess we’ve outgrown it.

      • Esmom says:

        I don’t quite understand that defense. Just because it was a different time and women were shamed for spending the night with a man doesn’t mean nonconsensual sex, which the song sort of implies might be happening, was ok. It’s supposed to be flirty, I guess, but it is creepy and not very holiday-esque.

      • sa says:

        I guess I don’t understand why her reasons for wanting to leave are relevant. Whether she wants to leave because she isn’t interested in the guy or if she wants to leave because of society’s standards, she’s still telling the guy she wants to leave and he’s pressuring her against her stated wishes.

        “No” (for whatever reason) is not an opening bid to negotiations. It’s a final answer.

        I’m not impressed with the ‘it’s from a different time’ excuse, there is a lot that was acceptable in the past that is not now and this song is one of those things.

        And, since I assume that radio stations do not play the song with a long-winded introduction to give context to when the song was written and what it meant at the time, we have to take the lyrics at face value. And listening to the lyrics, without a long contextual explanation, it is a creepy, rapey song.

  6. Kat says:

    🙄🙄lets focus on real issues

  7. Scal says:

    I don’t think it should be banned because of the date rapey claims (personally I always interpreted it as she WANTS to be there)-but because it’s NOT a holiday song! The movie takes place in the summer/fall and talking about it being cold out does NOT link it to any holiday.

  8. Gaby says:

    I think this is an honest conversation we should be having: Culture and politics clashing, what should really be done?

    If you look at even 90′s and early 00′s music, books, movies and series through today’s lenses you’ll definitely find a lot, if not most of them, to be problematic. So imagine the things from nearly 100 years ago. Should we forgive them because they reflected the era or should we ban them because of how the world is today?

    It’s a complicated issue because we can’t just erase the past, or we might forget all the struggle we faced and fought against. And is important to show how the world used to be. Not sugarcoat it and pretend it didn’t exist. But we must show the world why is not right either. We should create better art today, but stop trying to erase things from a time where this was the reality.

    It’s not like this song is like Last Tango in Paris where we know a woman was assaulted for shock effect. That movie should be 100% banned.

  9. AnnaKist says:

    I don’t like Christmas music, and cannot stand this song, but banning it is a bit excessive. Change to another radio station, or turn the radio off, if you find this song as awful and creepy as I do.

    • Erinn says:

      Yeah that’s kind of where I am with it. I mean – I’m for banning all Christmas music. I can stand VERY VERY FEW Christmas songs. I guess you can argue that it’s vague enough that it’s not as problematic as it could be. I find it creepy at best, but I’m not sure how I feel about it being banned. I just hook my phone up to the bluetooth, so it’s not even a decision I have to make.

  10. Ennie says:

    Well, only if they ban a bunch of misogynistic songs from other modern genres, too.

    • Kitty says:

      I love how people are so offended by an old song that they are interpreting wrong, but everyone praises Eminem for talking shit about trump. All I can think when I hear Eminem is being 12 years old and listening to the song where he describes how he would kill his wife and she’s screaming.

    • Kate says:

      I don’t know what my opinion is on this but I think the difference between Christmas music and all other gross/misogynistic songs is that Christmas music is supposed to be “family friendly” and is played in every single store for at least a month every year. So I would imagine radio stations have to take a little more responsibility for ensuring the family friendliness of the songs knowing they will be played for a broad audience as opposed to a hip hop station where the listener assumes the NSFW nature of the lyrics and subject matter.

    • MaryContrary says:

      This times one million. It’s ridiculous.

    • Dani says:

      Came to say this. I can think of 100 songs off the top of my head that could also be banned based on word for word lyrics that don’t need to be pondered to decide if they are rapey.

  11. Nancy says:

    Ludicrous. trump is president and they want to take a 40′s classic off the radio. FFS, how about Babies Got Back, and the neverending list of songs that are blatantly sexist (I think BGB is funny btw). The world is getting so freaking weird, I’m sad for my babies.

    • Really says:

      Good points- look at all the songs that are outright WRONG. I like the song Baby it’s Cold Outside but listening to it this year I had the same thought, holy shit this guy is creepy. It was only a matter of time. If you like it put it on your playlist.

  12. TyrantDestroyed says:

    The song is ridiculous, I always skip it when I hear it. Even if it’s not about being drug or raped if she doesn’t want to stay due to convencionalism of her era well, let her go. It’s a song that aged badly in my opinion. There are tons of other cheesy Christmas songs out there.

  13. PlayItAgain says:

    I’m not a fan of bans. I think most of them are silly, and the uproar always overshadows whatever point was trying to be made by the ban in the first place. I’ve never cared for this song because of the creepy overtones. I understand it was meant to be playful back in the day, but times have changed. I bet that if they’d simply stopped playing it without any kind of ‘ban’ announcement, no one would have noticed. By announcing it, the station is obviously trying to stir up controversy for publicity.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Yes if they just quietly reduced its frequency in the rotation and made it go away, who would notice?

  14. Who ARE these people? says:

    Can we get rid of “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” while we’re at it?

    • Eric says:

      And I vote to ban Feliz Navidad forever to hell. Can we have a song that doesn’t repeat the same chorus 5 million times??

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        I know. It’s also pathetic that English-language radio stations can’t manage to locate other Spanish-language Christmas songs.

        I mean, there’s a good Chanukah song in Ladino (Ocho Kandelikas). Let’s get that into the rotation this week!

    • Jenns says:

      I’m a total grinch and hate all things X-Mas, but if I had one vote, it would be that “What are you doing New Year’s Eve” song. It’s like nails on a chalkboard for me.

      • smcollins says:

        @jenns my nails-on-a-chalkboard Christmas song is “Last Christmas.” I hate every version of that song with every fiber of my being. Awful!

      • outoftheshadows says:

        NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO LAST CHRISTMAS IS THE BEST

        but the one that makes my ears bleed is that abomination by Paul McCartney… I can’t even bear to say it.

    • Kitten says:

      I’m saying we should ban ALL Christmas music because it’s all effin terrible. When we put up our Xmas tree this weekend we listened to a medley of hip hop from Kendrick to Gangstarr. Some might say that’s not seasonal but I would argue that it is timeless music suitable for any occasion -_-

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        Exactly what we do. We simply turn up our usual fare… Classical to metal; ya just never know what you’re gonna get!

        I don’t understand why we’re not inundated with new music. Bing Crosby should be napping in December by now.

      • Esmom says:

        We’ve switched away from the holiday tunes while decorating, too, lol.

      • Class Ceiling says:

        OK

      • Caredevil says:

        Only our resident edgelord could try and make putting up a Christmas tree sound edgy. lol

    • Esmom says:

      Lol. My kids started mocking that one at a very early age, I remember because we were sitting in a McDonald’s where it was blaring and my son who was 3 or 4 just started belting it out sarcastically and changing some of the lyrics to be more McD’s-focused. It’s become a family joke so I guess I should be happy it united us in some way.

      • Nancy says:

        I like certain holiday songs. I listen to them around Christmas, not the day after Halloween, it used to be Thanksgiving, but it’s a brave new world out there. My two year old loves Rudolph and Charlie Brown’s Xmas and I won’t take that away from her Probably by the time the twins are in their teens, there won’t be Christmas Carols. I may not like the one we’re talking about, but I do enjoy the spirit of the season, even if this one is joyful and sad. A year full of joy and sorrow for my family this year.

    • Tracy May says:

      I love the Andy Williams version of this song.

  15. Jess says:

    Good for banning it, sure it’s just a song but it actually makes me feel sick to my stomach. Every time I hear it I’m reminded of all the times I told a guy no and he would keep persisting and pressuring me to do things I didn’t want to do. No means no, it means you respect the person and their boundaries, once a guy friend told me when he hears no he sees it as a yes waiting to happen if he says or does the right things, like a fkng game, he’s not a friend anymore.

    It’s not the 1940’s anymore and women have a voice, and a lot of men still need to learn how to take no for an answer.

    • Snowflake says:

      I agree with you plus a million. I feel like a lot of men have been raised like your ex friend, not to respect a woman’s no. Then part of it is women were told to play hard to get, dont give in too easily or you’ll look like a slut. So many dangerous messages from previous generations. I talk to my mom and I realize how much she was brainwashed by her upbringing. Sad. So glad younger women are not falling for this stuff. Or it doesnt seem like they are anyway

    • Himmiefan says:

      +1

    • Pinetree13 says:

      Yeah it did also remind me of situations where a guy was pressuring me now that you mention it. Maybe that’s why this song has always made me feel uncomfortable.

    • detritus says:

      Me too. My rapist didn’t believe my ‘no’ either. Just like the man in the song, he thought he knew better what I wanted than I did. This isn’t something that only happened decades ago, it still happens.

      The people championing this song make me sick.

    • Redgrl says:

      @jess – this. One of my male colleagues yesterday commented “imagine Bill Cosby singing that song”.

  16. blinkers says:

    Yes. Not just about the message, it’s a song that just isn’t great to hear and doesn’t bear repeated listening each Holliday season… Gonna say not a classic. If places/stores/radio dropped it from the track wouldn’t be missed imo

  17. Incredulous says:

    Eh, personally, I’ve always been super-creeped out by Bill Anderson’s “Five Little Fingers” song and people listen to that quite a lot.

    The best Christmas song is “Fairytale of New York” and that’s probably for the chopping block anyway.

  18. OriginalLala says:

    if we’re gonna ban songs – can we start with Blurred Lines? That one was especially hard to listen to as a survivor

    • Jess says:

      Completely agree.

    • manda says:

      Omg, yeeeees!!! Since that song came out, whenever people complain about “baby it’s cold outside” this is the song that pops in my head as truly rapey and uncomfortable. I can’t bear to hear that song

    • ...otaku fairy says:

      ‘Blurred Lines’ is kind of similar to ‘Baby it’s Cold outside’ (just more crass). Both songs can be read as saying “Girls want sex, but are afraid of getting reputations as a ho, just let me liberate you”- which can be looked at a lot of different (and somewhat problematic) ways. I’d say ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’ is less creepy, because the lyrics in that duet actually show that the woman does want the sex, rather than that just being the horny guy’s assumption or interpretation of things.

      Speaking of ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’, Ariana Grande and Mac Miller did a cover of this song. So did Christina Aguilera, but I can’t enjoy it because it was with Cee Lo Green before it came out that he had drugged and sexually assaulted a woman.

      • outoftheshadows says:

        Oh Cee Lo. I wish you were not creepy. I loved you so much before that came out.

      • detritus says:

        It’s problematic, end of story.

        It’s not a woman who wants sex and just needs to be convinced. What sort of sexist drivel is that.

        The other songs are shit, as well.

    • Pinetree13 says:

      I hate that song and also didn’t love how the woman were treated like props in that video with the men fully clothed and the women dancing naked awkwardly

  19. Kri says:

    While we’re at it, how about banning every movie with a reference to or showing people owned as property?

  20. Veronica S. says:

    I mean…I’m pretty far into the radical side of feminism, and I always interpreted it as 1950s dating mores at work. She wants to be there, she wants to be seduced, but she’s not in an era where she can speak so bluntly. Therefore: false resistance. If there’s a reason to criticize it, it’s that. Modern women shouldn’t have to play those games.

    • S says:

      This describes me as well, and that’s always how I heard it, too. I’ve never found the song offensive but there is some music I do, that I know other people enjoy so I … don’t listen to those songs? Radical suggestions, I know.

      That being said, if a radio station doesn’t want to play it, that’s cool, too. Really hard to get worked up on either side of this so-called “controversy”.

      Also, who listens to the radio anymore? I don’t think I’ve done so in 10 years or more, and I’m no teenager. I’ve got playlists on my phone, all songs I actually enjoy, and that’s what I listen to. I’m actually an old fogey even for doing that, as most folks I know listen to also curated playlists on Spotify, Pandora, YouTube or Apple Music, in lieu of actual downloaded songs they bought like a chump (me). Can’t say I know anyone who listens to music on the radio…which is probably part of why this became a big news item to begin with; To wit, publicity for the station which they likely badly need.

  21. SK says:

    I’ve always laughed at how terrible the lyrics are in a modern context, but they really need to be heard in the context of the time. At the time, it was seen as inappropriate and whorish for a woman to choose to stay with a man she wasn’t married to and have sex. Women didn’t have much sexual agency. They were expected to say “no!” otherwise they were denigrated as loose. So if a woman with some sexual agency decided she DID want to stay, she had to play a game where she said: “oh I ought to leave… but…”. One of the lines the woman in the song sings is: “I out to say say no, no, no” with a big buuuuutttttt… afterwards. Basically, she is saying all of the lines she is expected by society to say, and he is giving her all of the excuses she needs in order to stay: “oh no, she’s not a loose woman, it was too cold and dangerous for her to leave!” By the end of the song they are singing along together in harmony. It’s a dance, a game. The line “say, what’s in this drink?!” was commonly used at the time and didn’t mean the drink was spiked or drugged – it was a jokey line to excuse your own behaviour. In one version with Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton, Louis inserts lines about his favourite laxative to lose weight (Swiss Kriss) and the two banter back and forth and make the audience laugh. Worrying about what the neighbours might think was also a full time profession back then! I get where people are coming from, but comprehension of the meaning of lyrics needs to account for the period in which they were written and social mores at the time. Whilst that period was undoubtedly a rapey one, I think this song is harmless fun.

    • S says:

      ^^This. Maybe it’s because I’m an old movie fan, but the “what’s in this drink?” line never, ever made me think of a date rape drug; it was a then-common thing said about a particularly strong cocktail. Usually in a jokey way, the same as, ‘How many of these have you had?’ might be a joke cracked today when someone starts loosening up. Heck, my husband will still (jokingly) ask me how many glasses of wine I’ve had if I seem a little overly flirty with him, and I’m pretty sure it’s not because of rape culture. It’s more a, ‘Ha, ha, this isn’t like your normally tightly-wound self’ comment…Or, you know, isn’t like the mom-of-3 me, in my case.

      The way the song is written it’s very clear that she absolutely wants to stay, but is afraid of what people might think, so needs to be encouraged, and given palatable excuses that will allow her to do what she actually wants to. Yes, that mentality is hella problematic (then and now), but it was also very much of its time. Watch any ’30s-’40s rom-com, the exact same back and forth “romantic bantering” can be heard in almost every one. Hope none of these outraged folks ever stumble across a Doris Day-Rock Hudson movie on TCM, because then there will be real trouble.

  22. Indiana Joanna says:

    I can’t stand that song, never could. It’s always teetered between a catchy 1950′s duet and creepy coercion.

  23. manda says:

    It’s totally about her wanting to be there but worrying about the gossips in town. I don’t think it is rapey at all. The “what’s in this drink?” line was a thing people used to say to excuse their behavior. If you want to hate this song, hate it because she is so preoccupied with what other people think, but not because her companion is trying to manipulate or use her because that is really not what is happening. Ok, yeah, he should be considerate of her concerns. I still like the song

  24. Miss M says:

    A non-issue becoming a issue and very frivolous with so many other important issues going on… No wonder, I hear allies saying #metoo moviment is shooting itself in the foot and I agree with them.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      But it wasn’t a “movement” that did this, it was a call to a radio station and a radio person who sat down to listen and think about it. Please don’t blame the millions of survivors of sexual assault and harassment who have taken the time to speak out.

    • Faye G says:

      This had nothing to do with the Me Too movement

  25. Notanotherpostcard says:

    I interpreted it to mean she wants to stay,but worries what people might think. So not “rapey”, just a product of the time.

    Seriously, are we going to ban all music that has possible “rapey” lyrics? I hate to think what will happen to rock, pop, hip hop and rap. Where will it stop, they will come for all of our music!

  26. Who ARE These People? says:

    Speaking of the X in Xmas, who saw mommy kissing Santa Claus?

  27. Who ARE These People? says:

    I just went back and read the DJ/radio statement…it was actually pretty thoughtful. Seems as if they were trying to do the right thing, not make a big issue out of it. Why not just let it fade away quietly into the night? There are SO MANY Christmas songs out there.

    • Kitten says:

      Yeah I thought the statement was really good, actually.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        He was trying to be one of the good guys.

        Just because it’s a song played for Christmas doesn’t make it sacred.

        No one’s attacking Christmas or Christmas music.

      • Lilly (with the double-L) says:

        Thanks for referencing that, it’s a good perspective to know the original intent. Some days the movement forward is microscopic, but why not ban it from your show? Promote the discussion, it’s not like it’ll disappear, people who love that song will still safely hear it many, many times.

  28. Aunt Lou says:

    First, let me say that I am very glad that I now live in a society where “No means No” and where women are allowed and expected to have sexual desires. However, I am old enough to remember the tail end of the era when this song was written. At that time, women DID sometimes say “No” when they meant “Yes”. A certain amount of persuasion was expected and in fact welcome. Thank god we don’t accept that kind of game-playing any more, because it obviously sets up a huge potential for misunderstanding and yes, abuse. So my vote is to accept the song for what it is, a bit of a relic with a catchy tune.

  29. adastraperaspera says:

    No, it shouldn’t be banned. And I am suspicious about yet another “controversy” stirred up to divide us, when unity is critical. Why don’t radio DJs start talking about what music they should be playing right now to protest the rise of authoritarianism in this country. Edelweiss anyone?

  30. Marty says:

    There was a really good take by this comedian, Rae Sanni, where she said there are all these really horrible things going on in the country right now that we have no control over, so we turn our attention to things that we can control. Even if those things are, or seem, insignificant. So I see it as less of people being too sensitive, and more of a transference of sensitivity to other issues because this country is in shambles right now.

    That being said, there are a lot of songs out there with not great lyrics, and individuals should be the decider of what they, or their family listen to. However, it’s also not ok to knock someone because they have negative feelings towards a piece of art, everyone has their own experiences.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Thanks for this thoughtful perspective. Sometimes pieces get revisited in light of changing views. I remember how Gone with The Wind was lauded (book and movie) when I was growing up, and I grew up in a “blue” area. Now I look back and cringe, even for the times I excused its blatant racism because of the potboiler romance. Now even the potboiler love triangle looks trashy.

      A good amount of pop music carries harmful messages about the power imbalance between men and women and perpetuates gender-based stereotypes. No one of us has the power to purge the entire catalog of catchy tunes but I think it’s okay to look at them for what they are. A woman who was raped in 1950 was just as harmed as a woman who is raped in 2018 – if anything she had even fewer rights to do anything about it.

      • Marty says:

        Yeah, and I think it’s ok to have complex feelings about things like this. I can still like the song as a whole, but still think the lyrics are problematic. It doesn’t necessarily have to be black and white.

    • S says:

      I’m not personally, outraged in any way by this song, but sure as heck am about a lot of other stuff, and I think this is a pretty good summation of why things like this happen, so much is out of control.

  31. Tibbles says:

    I guess it doesn’t matter when it was written, what the times were back then.
    What matters is now, who is listening and how it’s being interpreted.

    Like that song by Robin Thicke? Same ideals, for 2018, as that song. Pressure, women perform, men should just wear women down until they capitulate. That women really want it, no matter what they say, so feel free to harass them.

    Doesn’t matter what it was like in the 1940′s. We don’t live in the 40′s. In this new age of trying to enlighten people that women are NOT commodities here for consumption, it all matters. There is no “relax” about it.

    • S says:

      Except…context does matter. It always matters. Very much, actually. And if things are banned because of how one person interprets it, even if the creator’s never meant that at all. Well, that’s a problem.

      Now, to be clear, this song has NOT been banned in any sense of the word. It’s available for sale and listening in 1,000,000 other places. If one radio station, or one hundred, choose not to play it, or you, personally, choose not to listen to it, for any reason, or no reason at all, that’s 100% totally cool, and fair, and utterly just. As is a scenario where popular opinion makes it unprofitable for a company to offer this song for sale, or keep it in common use (soundtracks, re-recordings, etc.). The exact same way pressure to not sell Confederate flags is not censorship, it’s consumer action. If an artist announces tomorrow that they’ve decided to pull Baby, It’s Cold Outside, from their Christmas album because they find the song problematic that is not censorship, banning or outrage culture or anything else other than a personal choice they’re fully entitled to make.

      On the other hand, refusing to put words in context is a fool’s game. In that, we will all be ignorant fools if we insist on stripping the context of history from any authored work, be it a political document or a pop song. Being able to look at a thing through a lens of time doesn’t excuse it, it explains it…big difference. It can help educate us on exactly where such problematic mores have lead and what terrible things they have permitted to flourish, in the case of this particular song, or elucidate the motives of our nation’s founders in one example of a far more serious case. Context is, well, everything, and ignoring it gets us things like whack-a-doodle Supreme Court decisions (Heller) saying a municipality can’t prohibit guns because the writer’s of the Constitution saying they decried a standing militia (which, if you haven’t noticed, ya’ll the US does have), and, instead, favored volunteers called into service only as needed, actually means they wanted everyone to be able to own 25 AR-15s.

  32. HK9 says:

    In a word-No.

  33. boredblond says:

    Just sounds like fodder for faux news to me..”see how the left has banned the word christmas and now..banning a holiday song!! And next..mistletoe promotes unwanted advances!” Sorry, but there are a million truly sexist images and words bombarding us wherever you look and I just can’t get worked up over this..a song recorded by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Lady Gaga.

  34. Starryfish29 says:

    Yes, but only because it is annoying. It’s easily in the top 5 worst Christmas songs.

  35. BANANIE says:

    Here’s what I don’t get – how on earth is Blurred Lines still playing on some stations while this song is debated?? I heard it just the other night!

    I grew up listening to Baby, It’s Cold Outside on my mom’s Christmas with The Rat Pack CD. So I’ve got a soft spot for it because it makes me think of Christmas, even if it’s not technically a holiday song.

    I’m voting against a ban because once again people are giving songs/TV/movies/what have you waaay too much credit. People – even young people – aren’t basing their lives off of it. People understand it’s for entertainment.

    We can’t and shouldn’t police everything because it detracts from the real issues.

    • Usedtobe says:

      Dean Martin’s version is my fav.

    • Wood Dragon says:

      Unexpectedly I have developed a fondness for the Sammy Davis Jr/Carmen McCrae version. It’s basically a Winter song, like Winter Wonderland or Jingle Bells and just gets lumped in with your traditional Christmas music. Not a real fan of this particular standard song. I tend to lose track of it when it plays. I perk up though if I hear something like Sinatra’ s Old Fashioned Christmas. Love that song.

  36. me says:

    Christmas is literally one day. Why is everyone forced to hear Christmas music for like 2 months! Every store, every place I go. You can’t escape it lol. I know stores do this to get people in the “spending” mood but damn when did Christmas become a 2 month holiday???

    • Snowflake says:

      I know, i effing hate it. We play overhead music at my job, so we’ve been listening to Christmas music off and on since Thanksgiving. I guess the bosses got tired of it too, they switched it to rock music recently.

  37. Zwella Ingrid says:

    Luckily we still live in a free country, and censorship hasn’t kicked in yet. Love it or hate it, thank God we still have the freedom to listen to whatever we want.

  38. MeghanNotMarkle says:

    It’s a conversation between two grown-ass adults who are smitten with each other and clearly consenting. Don’t ignore context and only read words. She wants to stay. She’s looking for reasons to and he’s “helping.” They both know she can’t because in that day and age she’d be called a wh*re. My husband and I used to have similar banter going on when we were dating. Nobody here ever spent time with their SO and didn’t want to leave? It’s perfectly normal when considered in context, which in this case includes CONSENT.

    • me says:

      That’s all good and everything but can someone explain to me how this is a Christmas song?

      • historybuff says:

        It was also sung in the movie “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby. This post is the first time I’ve heard of “Neptune’s Daughter”.

  39. KatV says:

    I love Christmas music – but seriously, how many songs should be banned if this reasoning is to be applied? Think of some of the Beatles’ songs like Run for your life etc. Even lots of modern songs.

  40. Pandy says:

    Golddigger offends me a lot more than this song ever will.

  41. BrutalEthyl says:

    Those people have a right to their opinion. They also have the right to turn the channel when they hear “offensive” music. But who’s going to be the final interpreters of what should be banned? The TaliBAN? The Duggars? Just who is going to be the ultimate censor of free speech in America?

  42. Bubble bee says:

    Watching the clip from the movie made me so uncomfortable. The way he keeps touching her and taking off her things is really not cool. I know it’s for a different time, but even in the 40s women were being raped. I’ve been in situations where men won’t take no for an answer and it’s not cute after the fourth time you’ve tried to leave or push them off and they still aren’t letting you. In fact it’s really scary because you start to realize that there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s a very bad feeling. I don’t care if people still like the song but no matter the interpretation this song is about non-consensual romance. Even if she really does want to stay, she has told him multiple times that the answer is no.

    • Boudica says:

      This! It makes me feel the same. He persists in a sleazy way, and keeps touching her again and again, seemingly trying to wear her down. He doesn’t appear to respect her and her decisions. I can understand a few attempts to persuade her to stay, but after the first few times he would look better in my eyes if he told her he wished she’d stay but accepted and respected her decision to leave even if he knew she really wanted to stay. But, no, this guy just keeps at it. I think it’s important to remember that movie was made at a time when the marriage contract was deemed to include a consent to sex that could not be withdrawn. It wasn’t until 1979 in the US that the law started to change and the concept that a man could be convicted of raping his wife was contemplated. The fact that was the way it was in those times does not make it right though.

  43. Sparker says:

    Burn it, already. How cringey would it be to hear your kids singing this? The context no longer applies and who’s singing this round the yule log anyways when there are so many better Christmas carols?

  44. Originaltessa says:

    Then ban all rap, punk, emo, metal… If THIS song is the one to ban, I give up.

  45. Faye G says:

    This song has always annoyed the crap out of me. It’s cheesy and has nothing to do with Christmas. I always change the channel when it comes on. That movie clip is super creepy, I cringed every time the guy grabbed her arm. Yuck. Good riddance.

  46. Dee says:

    I far prefer this ambiguous song to the blatantly disgusting, materialistic, and infantalising “Santa Baby”. I think that does far more damage to the women’s movement.

    • Venpa says:

      Lol was just gonna say this. Santa Baby always makes me laugh with the lyrics about filling the stocking with checks and a duplex and loot from Tiffany and a ring. I’ll buy my own thanks. While we’re at let’s outlaw Santa. Sitting on some creepy old man’s lap begging for things while he asks who’s been naughty and nice? Lol!

      • me says:

        You know what? That IS kinda creepy. I never got to sit on Santa’s lap…but I did see parents bring their kids to the mall to do so. So many of the kids would scream and shout and kick. They didn’t want to be there. I mean why would they want to sit on the lap of a stranger?

  47. Chef Grace says:

    Truly never listened to this song, always switched it. But admit, by todays standards it is creepy.
    Being Pagan, I celebrate differently but still enjoy most seasonal music. But I also include Die Hard as a holiday movie.
    Yippee kai yay MF!

  48. Michel says:

    As a man, yes, this song should be banned. It belongs to another time.

    • virginfangirl says:

      Can you make a list of all other things that should be banned too based on the fact our knowledge of history is needed to get the true meaning. Books, movies?

  49. tealily says:

    Can’t we all just agree that it’s a not terribly good song we’ve all heard a thousand too many times anyway and move on?

  50. Yes Doubtful says:

    I personally hate the song, but not because of the content. I think it’s a flirty exchange between a couple who are dating. Pretty silly to ban it. Next we’d have to ban “Grandma Got Run-over By a Reindeer” or other stupid holiday songs. Just change the channel.

  51. Persistent Cat says:

    I find this song sexist AF and would love for it to go away. You’ve got a guy not taking no for an answer and trying to get her drunk. Then she goes on about the shaming and shunning she’ll get from her family reminding us that in every case, she doesn’t have autonomy over her choices.

    I say this as someone who does like Christmas songs but I hate this sexist garbage. We’re better than this now.

  52. demented says:

    The best rendition of it was Miss Piggy singing it to Rudolf Nureyev as she tried to molest him in a sauna, until he smashed through a wall to escape her. They knew what the song was about,

  53. Willowy Willow says:

    The thing I find highly ironic about all this is there are any number of misogynistic rap songs played daily on the radio .. but yes .. let’s ban a song from the 1940s that was hardly known by people until it was parodied by Key & Peele .. what was it ? .. SIX years ago. Oh .. but if we addressed the more current issue, that might cost the radio station revenue. Ya .. that makes sense. Let’s put up a fuss about “Baby It’s Cold Outside” instead.

    I say .. paint all the date-rapey, or even freakin’ overtly rapely, misogynistic songs out there with the same brush and not cherry pick the ones we ban.

    And +1 to Chef Grace .. Die Hard 1 & 2 are TOTALLY Christmas movies! I used to love “The Ref” as well .. but in this post-Kevin Spacey era .. I think that one might have to go.

  54. Lucy2 says:

    My friend refers to it as the “date rape song“. I never really noticed the lyrics until a couple of years ago, and now it’s one I was skip if it comes on because it is pretty creepy.

  55. Ally says:

    This comment in the song-defending article expresses my view as well:

    “I was surprised to learn how old this song is. I had always assumed it was from the 50s. But whether it’s the 30s or 50s, the woman is going to bear the brunt of any consequences that might arise if she stays. Even in 2013, there can be consequences to a sexual encounter which will impact the woman more than the man. While playful and complimentary, our man here is discounting her concerns to get what he wants.”

    On a related note, there was a great tweet storm on the differing potential consequences of sex for women and men, and how society has tended to assign priority and responsibility; it’s outlined here:
    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/unwanted-pregnancy-men-abortion-mormon-gabrielle-blair-contraception-twitter-a8541071.html

  56. bears says:

    It’s not a Christmas song but I guess it does mention snow so..eh. The lyrics to it have always made me cringe. Guys who try to pressure girls into doing things they obviously don’t want to do make me cringe. Let’s maybe forego listening to songs about it?

  57. Laura says:

    I’m going to be unique and say that I very much enjoy the Indina Menzel and Michael Buble version of this song, but I also understand that it is creepy and problematic. I argue that being an adult means sometimes you can enjoy problematic things (the books Robinson Crusoe and Count of Monte Cristo would also be good examples) while acknowledging the problems with them.

  58. Beer-n-Crumpets says:

    *I* don’t think so, and here’s why:
    I hate that song. I’m not a fan of Christmas music anyway, but I hate that one and also Jingle Bells (unless it’s the “Batman smells” version) and the one about the figgy pudding. The second one is just puerile without any redeeming humor until you add the part about Batman, and the third one is obnoxious in its repeated demand for food- like, how dare you descend upon me with your noise pollution and clamoring for my pudding, fuck off and get your own. And the first one IS … rapey, for my lack of a better description. Its fuckin rapey. My mom thought so, too. When I was a kid she called it “pervy”.
    But banned from the radio station? It doesn’t violate any laws! How is this even a discussion?

  59. Tuntmore says:

    It is a very date-rapey song if you listen to the lyrics. We can talk about context all day long, but Xmas songs on the radio don’t come with historical backgrounds. The fact remains that, lyric-wise, a woman is saying “no” and a man is overriding her by pressuring her to stay.

    Also, the truth is that women didn’t have much agency over their bodies in the ‘40s (or, you know, ever), so it is a little presumptuous to assume that the woman in question does, in fact, want to stay and get dirty.

    If we want to make things acceptable by putting them into historical context, then there are a LOT of things that would suddenly become acceptable again that are offensive and dehumanizing to vast portions of humanity. Context is a way of understanding, not excusing.

    Also, it’s important to note that this is not a case of wide-scale censorship. This was one radio station making the decision not to play a song that they felt was inappropriate for a family-friendly Xmas lineup. They’re within their rights to run their business like that. This isn’t like when Clear Channel banned all of its stations from playing tons of songs (such as Cat Stevens’s “Peace Train”) after 9/11. That was overreactive blanket censorship by a corporation.

    I think it’s an overreaction to get bent out of shape over a radio station not wanting to play a Xmas song that could potentially be interpreted as date-rapey. They’re trying to be thoughtful and considerate. Normally this would earn someone praise, but instead they’re being taken to task for censorship and not taking historical context into account? It just seems strange to me.

  60. Sparker says:

    Jethro Tull – Ring Solstice Bells, is the only song necessary for the season.

  61. polionna says:

    I don’t believe in banning things or rewriting things to make it more palatable to modern sensibilities. It’s really close to censorship. Some songs are open to interpretation anyway. I remember everyone was saying that Shangrilas song was about rape but Mary Weiss denied it.

  62. Mew says:

    I have never thought of it that way, honestly. I’ve always just thought of it as woman being torn between what she wants to do and expectations. That she’d kinda want to stay too. But seeing the video and being explained that context, I can now see why it’s rapey and creepy.

  63. RuddyZooKeeper says:

    @HistoryBuff keeps claiming this song is sung by Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas. It most definitely is not. Maybe they did a duet somewhere, sometime – but not in that movie.

    — I wasn’t able to reply directly to their comments

  64. Catlady says:

    It’s a shame that all those so up in arms don’t have the insight to look at this song in it’s historical context. This song is NOT “date rapey.”
    This song is about a woman who wants to have the freedom to have unmarried sex, but is held hostage by the social binds of the time, and is worried about appearances and those that would judge her as being a slut. Fortunately, a writer for Variety gets it:
    https://variety.com/2018/music/news/baby-its-cold-outside-song-war-1203080834/?fbclid=IwAR3er_ErxgIEh_EC-yuG7CtnJ_v6g5U5BlaIcLlb5AB8kNuvi9xSdeTLelk

  65. Deeanna says:

    There is a very listenable version of this song by the unlikely duo of Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton. I kid you not.

  66. Jo says:

    Apparently some kind of classic in the US? The ‘classic’ argument goes out the window for anyone who’s never heard the song before, or only vaguely remembers maybe hearing it before. It’s painful old people earbleed music, nothing really Christmassy either, except that winter is associated with Christmas in the northern hemisphere, and yes the lyrics to that non-classic non-Christmas song I’ve never heard before are offensive.

    • Jo says:

      p.s. I’m Australian. It’s generally stinking hot on Christmas Day here, 35 to 40. Christmas fare is seafood and salad, cold desserts, all served in front of an air conditioner with an ice cold beer or wine. It’s not cold outside, which is partly why that song has zero traction here.

  67. melinda says:

    I think the lyrics are flirty, I enjoy listening to the song and I will continue to have it in my play list. Me and my boyfriend listen to it every Christmas when we put our tree up. I think the videos that were made for the song is what people are actually reading into not the lyrics. I my self have no problem with the videos either. Banning the song to play is ridiculous!!!