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Baby I Hate This Fucking Song

Baby I Hate This Fucking Song

The yearly debate about ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ has begun and I’m seeing a lot of comment threads about context and era and acceptability and sensitive snow flakes and #metoo getting out of hand, so I thought I’d swoop in and throw in my cents that nobody asked for.

The debate is roughly framed between whether it’s rapey and misogynistic or whether it’s censorship and we’re all just too sensitive and it needs to be read in context with it’s time.

The song was written in 1944 - a time where women had no sexual agency and had only had the legal vote for 20 years. (Most women of colour in the South wouldn’t see that right until the 1960’s.) Segregation was still in full swing and Chinese immigrants had only had the right to vote for one year - yay progress!


There’s a feminist defence of the song that has a lot of really great and valid points - most distinctly is that this was a time where women had zero sexual agency of their own without male consent. However the sum up is:

“So it’s not actually a song about rape - in fact it’s a song about a woman finding a way to exercise sexual agency in a patriarchal society designed to stop her from doing so. But it’s also, at the same time, one of the best illustrations of rape culture that pop culture has ever produced. It’s a song about a society where women aren’t allowed to say yes…which happens to mean it’s also a society where women don’t have a clear and unambiguous way to say no.”
— bigbutterandeggman

This song is rapey as fuck and I don’t want to hear it five times a day at work and then again at the grocery store and at the mall. Have you ever read the lyrics?? Holy god they’re TERRIBLE. My three favourites:

Baby don't hold out

What's the sense of hurtin' my pride?

How can you do this thing to me?

No thanks.

Privilege, entitlement, a woman as object and a man’s job is to wear her down until she just gives in. Consent in the 40’s.

The actual names given to the male and female roles in this duet are “wolf” and “mouse”. One is an alpha predator, one is the prey to be consumed. It’s a creepy model of courtship in any generation.

Bitch I said no.

The Boeskool published an article about this today where I found this video for the first time. I had no idea it was made famous by the movie “Neptune’s Daughter” - but it’s still creepy as fuck.

Don’t lie. That’s not cute.

 

In the second half of this video the role of “Wolf” is playing by a woman and the predator comes off as a humourous and harmless role reversal. When a male plays the role as Wolf there is always the understanding that if he wants, he can overpower the Mouse.

I love ELF and I love how this perfectly encapsulates the nuance of this song for the present day. Buddy is singing with a co-worker and doesn’t MEAN to be a creepy motherfucker - but you can’t get away from present day ideas of boundary and consent in this sequence.


We can’t apply our present day standards to the past & what about all the WAY WORSE STUFF???

Yes we can. We do it all the time.

Here’s a small example:

  • Slavery, Apartheid, Segregration

  • Black face and cultural appropriation

  • smoking / second hand smoke

  • leaving kids in the car while we pop out to get a carton of smokes

  • sugar / fat / butter - good? not good? I don’t know anymore - do what you like

  • seat belts / letting kids ride in the wide open back of the station wagon

  • also the wood paneling on the station wagon

  • drunk driving

  • bike helmets

  • Nickelback

That’s what progress IS. We decide something isn’t working anymore and we change what is considered socially acceptable.

Yes there are WAY worse songs out there.

I listen to them.

Vybz Kartel is a NIGHTMARE of misogyny and homophobia. Rap is a NIGHTMARE of misogyny and domestic violence. The difference is that neither of them would EVER be considered appropriate for public broadcast at work or in a shopping mall or other general public broadcast space.

Between the two, who is America most likely to consider “rapey”?


Baby it’s Cold Outside is sung by some clean, presentable white folk, so that’s not bad, that’s not a problem - why do you have an issue with that? why do you have an issue with what I like and haven’t ever considered problematic because it doesn’t impact me?? said all the white men.

Not ban, just not play on repeat at work

I think ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’ is a rapey nightmare of consent problems, but I don’t think it should be banned. If you want to curl up to your rape anthem and stroke it to sleep - you do you. You have every right to like what you like.

If you like poop porn - you have a RIGHT to enjoy your poop porn, on your time, at your leisure. No one should take away your poop porn. However, I don’t want to be forced to watch your poop porn at work.

No poop porn when I can’t turn it off.

No rape anthem when my personal choice is diminished

- like on the Christmas playlist at my work. This puppy plays several times a day and it always makes me feel uncomfortable, unheard, insignificant and enraged.

No one wants to take away your poop porn - just don’t force me to watch it at work.
— Everybody Everywhere

No one wants to take away your enjoyment of the rape anthem - but the time has come where it is no longer acceptable for broadcast in public spaces where personal choice is diminished.

When you can't move on until...

When you can't move on until...

Public Penis

Public Penis