In 2018’s #metoo era, awareness of sexual violence against women is at an all-time high. This holiday season WDOK, a local Cleveland radio station dedicated to Christmas music has decided to stop playing “Baby it’s Cold Outside” on the basis that it is inappropriate in an age where the #metoo is so prevalent. The removal of the song from the stations’ rotation has sparked controversy over the questionable lyrics
The track was composed in 1944 by Frank Loesser and his wife, Lynn Garland. The song was originally written by Loesser to sing with his wife.
Throughout the song, many advances are made by the male voice which all earn a negative reply from the female voice. From “I really can’t stay” to “the answer is no” the lyrics come off as aggressive. For many listeners, this comes off as a little too coercive.
Following the Ohio radio station’s action on the removal of the song from their rotation, many stations across the U.S. have followed WDOK decision. Radio stations in Colorado and California have followed suit in removing the song as well.
Although the lyrics may seem outdated today, many listeners have called and written in to KOIT, a San Francisco radio station petitioning for the song to be put back on air. According to Brian Figula, KOIT program director, he has received ten times more letters requesting the song be placed back in rotation than letters demanding it be removed.
These listeners have argued that the song must be regarded in a historical context. At the time, spending the night at a man’s house as an unmarried woman was considered scandalous.
A feminist perspective on this song argues that the woman would like to stay at her date’s house but is too preoccupied about her image and what others may think. The feminine voice may be heard singing “what will the neighbors think,” and “my mother will worry,” all lyrics relating to other’s perspective on her escapade.
Currently, many stations that have removed the song from air have placed polls on their website to determine whether the song should be placed back on air.
Although the song may be interpreted in an explicit manner, I believe that the lyrics, written by Loesser and his respected wife, Garland subtly reveals the woman’s envy to stay over.