ESSAY: 'Baby It's Cold Outside' not about sexual assault, quite the opposite

In recent years, the song "Baby It's Cold Outside" has been the subject of much debate because of the modern contextual interpretation of lyrics written in the 1940's.

Lines like, “I really can’t stay,” “I simply must go,” “The answer is no,” and the particularly troubling, “Say what’s in this drink?” all make the song sound like a woman is trying to leave a man’s company and he’s attempting sexual advances without her consent to the point of possibly drugging her… at least that’s what many contemporary ears hear.

Key and Peele even wrote a song mocking the contemporary undertones of the lyrics (WARNING: Some foul language is used in this basic cable sketch):

But one interpretation making the rounds on social media argues that the song is actually a glimpse into how women had no sexual independence or empowerment at the time it was written and the lengths to which women had to go in order to gain any kind of sexual freedom.

The post originated in 2016 but has gained more attention this year because of the rash of sexual assault allegations emerging against powerful men in politics and entertainment that has people rethinking whether “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is an appropriate song to play this holiday season.

“See, this woman is staying late, unchaperoned, at a dude’s house. In the 1940’s, that’s the kind of thing Good Girls aren’t supposed to do — and she wants people to think she’s a good girl,” the post reads.

Yeah. Remember chaperones? If you do, you’re probably really old. But for you millennials, it’s not just an adult keeping kids from dancing too sexually or spiking the punch at the school dance. Chaperones used to accompany unmarried women and sometimes unmarried men in public at social gatherings, on dates, or, depending on the woman, at all times.

As for that, “Say what’s in this drink” line?

“’Hey what’s in this drink,’ was a stock joke at the time, and the punchline was invariably that there’s actually pretty much nothing in the drink, not even a significant amount of alcohol,” according to the post.

You can read the full post here. And maybe it’ll change your mind about whether “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is an offensive song to listen to this time of year.

© 2018 KENS-TV


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