It’s Christmas time. I love the traditions: Christmas trees, maulings at Walmart, Hannukah celebrated two weeks early and the annual rant about a stupid Christmas song:
Regardless of what you celebrate, December in the US means hearing holiday music just about everywhere you go. And if you spend your time in gentrified shopping districts or “hip” martini bars (that’s where kids hang these days, right?) you’re bound to hear a shitload of renditions of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”
I doubt the sexual assault message of this ever-present holiday jam (about a man trying to get a woman to spend the night at his place against her will, and then maybe drugging her to ensure it happens?) has been lost on anyone reading this. Dubbed the “Christmas Date Rape Song” by Urban Dictionary, “Baby It’s Cold Outside”‘s sex-predator-y lyrics are no secret. In fact, Frank Loesser’s original 1936 version labeled the two singing parts “wolf” and “mouse”—not exactly a casting call for a dream date. (For those of you still not convinced—or distracted by the song’s musical charms—review the lyrics here. Especially the “what’s in this drink?” section.)
You will rarely see a … wait a minute. They’re citing the urban dictionary as a source? The website that just puts things up regardless of whether it means anything or not? That’s your source? Seriously? For all we know, you put that definition on there. OK. If that’s the way you want to play this.
You will rarely see a more blatant illustration of the neofeminists’ desire to conflate sex and rape than in the “Baby It’s Cold Outside” bull. You can read the lyrics here. Most of you know the basics. It’s a duet. A woman is at a man’s house and is trying to leave. He’s trying to persuade her to stay. And … well that’s it. It’s the seduction dance that has been played out a billion times in real life.
At one point she says, “the answer is no”. But it’s clear, in the context, that “no” does not mean, “no, never, go away, let me out of this house”. It’s more in the “no, not right now” vein. It’s the experience that everyone is familiar with: a woman trying to conform to societal norm that says she can’t be interested; a woman wanting some more romancing before she even thinks about it; a woman who is frankly making up her mind and leaning toward “yes”.
(The newest version of the song reverses the genders so it is the woman persuading the man to stay. This is common, too. The first time I ever had a woman stay the night at my place was literally because she said it was too snowy to drive home.)
Trust me. I know “no”. In college, I majored in being turned down my women. This is not being turned down. This is, “I guess I should be leaving … unless you really want me to stay.” But such subtle human interaction is unacceptable to radicals.
And even if it weren’t, talking someone into staying at your house is not date rape. Trying to talk someone into having sex is not date rape. Giving someone a drink or a cigarette when they ask for one is not date rape. You know what’s date rape? Date rape is date rape. Forcing or coercing someone into sex or having sex with someone who is incapacitated is date rape. In fact, it’s not even date rape, it’s just rape, plain and simple. No date prefix required.
To listen to the radicals, you’d think that if a woman says “no” to a man’s advances, his proper course of action is to jump out of the window, even if it’s his place. But if no sex ever happened when one or the other party initially said “no”, 90% of the sex on the planet would simply not happen. A colorful definition of “seduction” would be turning a “no” into a “yes”. But the difference between that and rape is not a fine line; it’s a yawning chasm. Seduction shows a respect for your partner, a belief that they are entitled to say no and you are supposed to respect it — hence the persuasion. Rapists, however, don’t seduce; they rape. They don’t turn “no” into “yes”; they ignore the “no”. They fundamentally see their victim as something less than human whose wishes are irrelevant to their pleasure. Attempts to seduce can be creepy, jerkish; even harassing. But they are not rape. And in this song, given the tone of voice, this is not even creepy or harassing — it’s just playful banter.
Get a grip, people. There’s enough sexual violence in the world and enough songs that actually call for violent abuse of women to deal with. We don’t need to be reading things into some 1940’s jazz song. Christ, get some perspective.