Toronto radio stations pulling classic holiday song from the airwaves
Is an Academy Award-winning love song from 1944 "too rapey" for Christmas in 2018?
This is the question behind a raging online debate this week as North American radio stations pull the classic holiday tune "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from their rotations.
The controversial call-and-response duet, which includes lyrics like "I ought to say no, no, no," and "baby don't hold out," has been coming under fire around this time of year with some regularity over the past decade.
Keep this meme handy as radio stations decide to ditch “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” pic.twitter.com/jO8mfbYver— @firstname.lastname@example.org (@mikeyil) December 3, 2018
Critics have blasted the song using such terms as "date rape anthem," "undeniably, unquestionably predatory" and "unforgivable" in recent years, arguing that it should be considered a relic of a less inclusive era.
Others, like Canadian actor William Shatner for some reason, say it's much ado about nothing.
After all, the song is a holiday classic. It won an Oscar for best original song after appearing in the 1949 romantic comeday Neptune's Daughter and has since been covered by everyone from Louis Armstrong and Dean Martin to Anne Murray and Michael Bublé.
For those that are complaining Baby it’s Cold Outside is misogynistic (my favorite word!🙄) have you actually seen the 1949 Neptune’s daughter premiere of the song? I’m claiming misandry for Red Skelton!😤🤣😂 https://t.co/bYvhvJxJR1— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 3, 2018
This year, it was a radio host from Ohio that sparked the blaze of hate on Twitter with a blog post explaining why his station, Star 102 in Cleveland, would no longer play the song.
"I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time," wrote Glenn Andersen in a post on the station's website last week. "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," he continued. "In a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place."
@TheView For the past nineteen years (since first really hearing that song as an adult), I've always referred to "Baby It's Cold Outside" as the date rape Christmas song. What seemed innocent once upon a time isn't so innocent anymore. #TimesChange— KJW (@kjwatson2) December 3, 2018
Today, three of Canada's largest radio broadcasters (Rogers Media, Bell Media and the CBC) confirmed that they, too, had decided to pull the carol from their holiday playlists.
"The song wasn't scheduled for airplay on any Bell Media Radio stations and there are no plans to play it in the future," said Bell Media spokesman Scott Henderson to the Canadian Press.
Rogers, which runs the all-Christmas music 98.1 CHFI-FM in Toronto, said similarly that it would not be playing "Baby It's Cold Outside" this year.
Awful lot of y’all offended by “Baby it’s cold outside”’s “predatory undertones” that are still out here listening to rap 🐸☕️— Jason (@jfit21_) December 4, 2018
Some are applauding the move online, while others are holding it up as a symptom of political correctness gone too far.
Others still, like comedian and noted feminist Jen Kirkman, say the lyrics are being misinterpreted by those living in the age of outrage.
I’m so tired of this. The song seems odd now not cuz it’s about coercing sex but about a woman who knows her reputation is ruined if she stays. “Say what’s in this drink” is an old movie line from the 30’s that means “I’m telling the truth.” She wanted to get down and stay over. https://t.co/3TaQbUSoB1— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) December 1, 2018
"The song has a lot to teach us about how society views women’s sexuality. But the lesson of this song is NOT that it's about forcing a woman into sex," said Kirkman on Twitter this weekend in response to the debate.
"If you want to be outraged, be outraged about what the song is actually about," she continued.
"The double standard in regards to sex that women face and how nothing much has changed. And then enjoy the song. It's a delight."
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