In the wake of many sexual harassment claims, is 2017 the year we retire ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’?
One local radio station has decided they “ought to say no, no no” to the now-controversial Christmas song, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”
WDOK 102.1, a Cleveland-based station that exclusively plays Christmas music during the holidays, went viral last week when it announced the song would be removed from rotation after a listener called to say it was inappropriate amid the #MeToo movement.
“When the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong,” wrote Glenn Anderson, one of the station’s hosts, in a post on the WDOK website. “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.”
WDOK told a local TV station last week that a poll on the radio station’s website showed a clear majority of listeners voted to remove the song. Anderson also wrote on Facebook that the decision factored in multiple phone calls and emails, “not just” the poll results.
It seems, however, since news of the radio station’s decision went viral, some have vigorously voted to keep the tune around.
As of Monday afternoon, a poll on Star 102 Cleveland’s official Facebook page showed 94 percent of 8,610 voters were in favor of keeping the song, with only 6 percent arguing it was “inappropriate.”
“We’re never gonna please everyone, but it does start a healthy conversation about things that may or may not be offensive to people around the holidays,” Anderson said in a response to a listener’s Facebook comment.
USA TODAY has reached out to the station for further comment.
“Even if the intentions aren’t sinister, it’s simply exhausting to be a woman in that situation,” wrote USA TODAY’s Mary Nahorniak. “In the original score, the male part is written as a ‘wolf’ and the woman as a ‘mouse’ – that speaks volumes about male predatory behavior. Many women know what it’s like to feel trapped by a man, whether emotionally or physically. In those situations, it doesn’t matter how it began or why she wants to leave, it only matters that she wants to go, now.”
Others have countered to say it ought to be considered from a historical standpoint: after all, it was written in the 1940s, a time when it would have been a scandal for an unmarried woman to spend the night at a man’s house.
A “kind of culture of repression that would forbid this kind of hanging out,” Karen Tongsonm an English and gender studies associate professor at the University of Southern California, told USA TODAY last year. “The song itself is an effort to furnish female sexuality with a set of excuses as opposed to a coercive song.”
Ultimately, WDOK is arguing, the lyrics take on bring upon a new meaning in 2018.
“It really pushed the line of consent,” Cleveland Rape Crisis Center President and CEO Sondra Miller told a local TV station. “The character in the song is saying ‘no,’ and they’re saying well, ‘Does no really mean yes?’ And I think in 2018 what we know is consent is ‘yes’ and if you get a ‘no,’ it means ‘no’ and you should stop right there.”
Contributing: Mary Nahorniak
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