Groove with G

Gretchen Sweeney, Staff Writer

WARNING: I will be talking about a touchy subject that might be triggering for some readers.
Christmas time is among us, which means so is the blasting of those iconic Christmas carols. But in recent years, one song sparks controversy over its deeper meaning. Frank Loesser’s 1944 “Baby It’s Cold Outside” has been viewed as a romantic love song, but it’s deeper meaning could be that of sexual assault and date rapes.
The song seems like a harmless duet between two people. The woman is contemplating whether she should stay or not and what her family and neighbors will think of her if she does. She determines that she simply cannot stay, but because “it’s cold outside,” the man in the duet is pushing her into staying with him. She does end up staying with him after much pressure from the man. This might appear to be a way of flirting, but specific lyrics raise eyebrows as to what is really going on in this scene.
The lyrics “say, what’s in this drink?” raise red flags immediately to modern society. Roofying is a tactic used by predators on their victims when committing an act of sexual assault. They put a drug in the victims’ drink which makes them drowsy and forgetful, this way the predator can easily take advantage of them. The lyric implies that the man had roofied her drink, attempting to take advantage of her.
From the start the pressuring is shown in the lyrics, “I really can’t stay (but baby, it’s cold outside) I’ve got to go away (but baby, it’s cold outside) This evening has been (been hoping that you’d drop in) So very nice (I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice).” In 1944, women were expected to be kind when denying men’s advance, as she is seen doing. She denies his requests multiple times, but he continues, trying to force her to give consent.
The man in this song continues to push her boundaries in the lyrics, “I ought to say, no, no, no, sir (mind if I move in closer?) At least I’m gonna say that I tried (what’s the sense in hurting’ my pride?).” She says to him that the answer is simply no, but he does not seem to care. He moves in and makes advances on her, whether she likes it or not. In an attempt to make her feel guilty, he also said that she will be hurting his pride. He is forcing himself upon her without consent, which would be categorized as sexual assault.
The woman consistently contemplates the social consequences of staying at his house, “My sister will be suspicious (Gosh your lips look delicious!) My brother will be there at the door (Waves upon a tropical shore) My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious (Gosh your lips are delicious!).” In that time period, women were expected to be pure and not give in to sexual activities unless married. He is not respecting her wants and pushes it. He switches from “your lips look delicious” to “your lips are delicious” implying that he kissed her and forces himself on her, yet again.
Although “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is a staple song to Christmas playlists all around, the song raises some concern. Some argue that it was just the time period when the song was made, but regardless, we should not be justifying the implications of sexual assault.