“Baby It’s Cold Outside”

Oda

This is one of the many album covers for the song,

EMI Music

This is one of the many album covers for the song, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

Abigail Frank, Journalist

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” is a classic wintertime song, originally sung by Dean Martin in 1959. However, starting in 2004, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” became a subject of controversy. The controversy originated from the content of the song. Many individuals believe that this song contains evidence of date rape. These individuals argue that the man in the song gets the woman drunk during her protests to leave in order to take advantage of her. Many people though, don’t believe this fact to be true. A majority thinks that this song is a classic wintertime favorite.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” was written by Frank Loesser in 1944. He wrote it for him and his wife to preform at their housewarming party when their guests were beginning to leave.

Then in 1948, the song was recorded for the musical Neptune’s Daughter. The male part in the musical is labeled as “the Wolf”, while the female part is labeled as “The Mouse.” The premise of the song, in the musical, is that the mouse is making excuses to leave the wolf’s house after a date. However, the wolf is urging her to stay despite the excuses she’s giving.

This is Frank Loesser, the writer of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” (frankloesser.com)

Over the past few years, the controversy expanded past the small blogs and into more main stream writing platforms. For example, The Wall Street Journal has weighed in on the controversy. Everybody has an opinion on the subject. There is a large group of people that do believe this song is inappropriate. Another large group of people believe that the song is a classic and people are reading too much into the lyrics. And then there is always the group of people who have no knowledge of any controversy regarding the song.

The musical adaptation and some of the music videos do give off the impression of the male pressuring the female into staying when she doesn’t want to. The people who think this song is inappropriate, no longer want it to be played on the radio or be in movies. Individuals don’t want impressionable children to hear this song and think this behavior is acceptable.

One student, Samantha, thinks that the song should no longer be played on the radio. “I think the controversy regarding the song is a hundred percent valid.” She went on to explain that, “sexual assault is a huge problem in society and nobody chooses to acknowledge it. This song does nobody any good.”

A scene from Neptune’s Daughter, during the “Baby It’s Cold Outside” scene. (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

The other majority of people don’t understand where this controversy arose from. These people think the song lyrics were taken out of context.

The song was written in 1944. The lyrics were written in a different era than we are in currently. For example, the lyric “What’s in this drink?” is interpreted today as the male trying to give the female alcohol with something in it, in order to take advantage of her. However, in 1944, it was a stock joke. The punchline was that there is close to nothing in the drink, not even a significant amount of alcohol.

Fellow student, Christian, agrees that the song is being taken out of context. “In today’s society there are so many things taken the wrong way and this song adds to the list.” He continues, “The song was written long before any controversy erupted. The controversy is just a way to try and get rid of the song. The reason for that is unknown to me.”

Although the controversy is still very apparent in society, the song continues to be played on lots of radio stations today. This debate will continue, most likely for many years to come. But, does this song truly contain evidence of rape or is it all just taken out of context?