As the holidays approach most people are spending a lot more time in shopping centres than usual, listening to the same 10 Christmas songs that are overplayed each season. But one song is missing from the roster this year.
‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’, a song that has been re-imagined by countless singers, has been taken off of select radio stations and store playlists. This is over the implications the song has about sexual assault.
Among those who have researched the history of the song is Ashley Sprague. Sprague insists that this song was taken off because of the sensitive culture we live in.
“I think people are way too sensitive nowadays and the fact that they try hard to not stigmatize rape culture, they are actually doing just that,” Sprague said. “This song was written in an era where women were not allowed to show any sexual autonomy. They were not allowed to have one-night stands, whether they wanted to or not. They were taught they needed to say ‘no’ and if the man persisted, then ‘oh well’.”
But others see the song being removed as a blessing. Retail employee Jules Duplessis has noticed that the song being taken off of the radio has generally upset the older generation.
“Older people disagree with it being removed and most younger people don’t care or like that it isn’t being played anymore,” Duplessis said.
While Duplessis doesn’t think the song is about a woman being sexually assaulted, she prefers it is not played on the radio because “it can be triggering for some” during the holiday season. The way in which it can be triggering for some is specifically from the line “say, what’s in this drink?,” Duplessis explains.
“For those who were taken advantage of in that specific way, it can be triggering. I personally would much rather the song not to be played, than to cause someone anxiety and discomfort while they are out shopping.”
Jamie White, a radio co-host for the online show Indiereview Behind the Scenes, believes that it should not have been taken off the air.
“I believe that it happened because people have become very hyper-sensitive to anything that may be upsetting or offensive to someone, which I feel sets a bit of a worrisome precedent, especially in regard to art,” White said.
Instead of removing the song, White feels that starting a campaign to raise funds for an organization or charity that supports victims would have been a better idea. “[Get] a volunteer from one of these organizations to take calls, off the air and give victims advice,” White told Spoke.
Another concerned citizen is Trevor Gough. Gough does not agree with the song being taken off although does agree that the lyrics can be linked to predatory actions.
“Let’s remember that this was written in a different time when the lyrics were harmless and playful,” Gough said. “I support the #MeToo movement, I have two daughters and I was raised by a single mom, but sometimes even with a good cause, we can overstep.”
“I would rather see a dialogue about the changing times and what that song meant when it was written,” Gough added. “Those who are the most upset tend to be religious and quote the Bible, which is fine and dandy until their views that a woman who was raped should be stoned to death with her rapist. I mean that is what it says in Deuteronomy 22:23-24.”
Gough points out that really anything in our history would not fit with today and our standards. But maybe we should try to be less hasty in throwing away things that may have implications now, but back then those implications were not existent.
“If you want to throw one thing out—then fine. But be advised, we will be coming for the bible and for the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, let’s not glorify suicide, shall we.”