Is the song old fashion seduction or date rape?
Is the song old fashion seduction or date rape?

Should this creepy Christmas song be banned?

The coolest of Christmas songs has the PC Grinches hot under the collar and calling for Baby, It's Cold Outside to be banned from the airwaves, claiming the lighthearted lyrics suggest date rape is OK.

Radio stations in the US and UK have started pulling the song from their playlists in response to public campaigns deriding it as inappropriate in the age of #MeToo, fuelling a similar push in Australia.

But even some feminists have rejected the outrage as over the top and calling on the naysayers to lighten up.

The Academy Award-winning song was written in 1944 and recorded on Christmas albums by everyone from Dean Martin to Michael Buble ever since.

The loved-up duet tells the tale of a man who is trying to convince a woman to spend more time with him. It was first played in 1949 film Neptune's Daughter starring Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban.

The song’s most controversial line involves the woman asking what the man has put in her drink?
The song’s most controversial line involves the woman asking what the man has put in her drink?

One particular line causing outrage is: "Say what's in this drink? No cabs to be had out there," which cynics allege implies drink spiking.

Another is: "I ought to say no, no, no - Mind if I move in closer?", which is being blamed for implying non-consensual sex.

British writer and feminist Daisy Buchanan inflamed the issue when she claimed on TV show Good Morning Britain: "This is a song about trying to get away from a man and being assaulted. She's trying to say no."

Host Piers Morgan disagreed and went on the attack, saying: "Radical feminists like you want to suck the joy out of everything and make this look like sexual assault. She gave consent, she stayed. Do you not read the lyrics? She's flirting with him."

In Sydney, Anna Kerr, from Feminist Legal Clinic, said the song's lyrics are "definitely creepy".

"There is even a line that seems to subtly reference the female being drugged by the male," she said. "Songs that normalise and even celebrate predatory sexual behaviour by men are never OK."

The original version of the song featured in the film Neptune’s daughter starring Esther Williams and ricardo Montalban.
The original version of the song featured in the film Neptune’s daughter starring Esther Williams and ricardo Montalban.

Jazzlyn Breen, 20, from the University of Sydney Women's Collective agreed.

"In this day and age, especially in the light of the #MeToo movement, I find it really unnerving that people would enjoy listening to content which insinuates the use of date rape drugs," she said.

But author and sex therapist Bettina Arndt said the push to ban the song was ridiculous.

"This … ludicrous campaign against a funny, traditional Christmas song is the reason people are turning off feminism," she said.

"It's a sweet, lighthearted portrayal of a man trying to seduce a woman - nothing more. Why are we taking any notice of this tiny group of narrow-minded, man-hating nut cases who see this as date rape? Ordinary people still enjoy this type of lighthearted banter and flirtation and need to stand up against the puritanical feminists."

Many people believe that banning the nostalgic song would be overkill.
Many people believe that banning the nostalgic song would be overkill.

Twitter users weighed in, with one writing: "The song Baby it's Cold Outside is about rape … I'm disturbed."

But another wrote: "Christmas songs being offensive and banning them, this is bloody ridiculous."

Of radio stations contacted by The Daily Telegraph yesterday, only iHeartRadio confirmed it would continue to play the song. Triple J, Nova and 2DayFM all declined to comment.

Grinches really need to get a grip

Comment by Louise Roberts

It might be a blistering Aussie summer but it's not Christmas unless Dean Martin's lush baritone is swirling around me, crooning one of his most festive easy-listening duets Baby, It's Cold Outside.

The nostalgia, the fantasy of roaring fires and sugar white snow while my grandpa carved me roast turkey with the aircon on full blast.

It's a trigger for me in the best possible way.

Frosty beers and BBQs, my mum and aunt making salads in the kitchen. Gravy bubbling away. Dino on the turntable. Beautiful.

Dean Martin’s version of Baby, It's Cold Outside.
Dean Martin’s version of Baby, It's Cold Outside.

But we know the approach of December 25 also signals the destruction of another cherished tradition and this time Baby, It's Cold Outside is on the feminist hit list, accused of encouraging date rape.

The cherished woman in the song chose to stay but of course the perpetually offended suggest her amour has slipped something dodgy in her martini, awarding her victim status so it has "no place" in our "extra sensitive world".

No one is dismissing the seriousness of rape and sexual assault.

But let's put our energy in helping real life victims rather than trawling nostalgia for manufactured offence.

Time to give tune the cold shoulder

Comment by Katy Hall

Even the most unlucky in love will tell you that if you have to ask your date what it is they've put in a drink they just poured you, then you should probably leave.

Preferably sooner rather than later.

And yet, when it comes to Christmas, a tune about a man relentlessly badgering a woman into staying the night is up there with our most beloved songs.

I'm talking about the duet Baby, It's Cold Outside, of course, which come December every year is blared through shopping centres across the world with reckless abandon and includes lines like, "the answer is no" (from the female part) and "Mind if I move in closer?" (from the male part).

The songs includes the woman saying: “The answer is no”.
The songs includes the woman saying: “The answer is no”.

Now, this may have been a fine exchange way back in the 1940s when it was first written, but like many things that fall under the "it was a different time" banner, when held up to a modern light it no longer holds.

It's the kind of song that, when you really listen to it, makes your skin crawl.

So sorry folks, but #MeToo has claimed its latest victim.

Judge for yourself

Baby, It's Cold Outside song lyrics

I really can't stay (Baby it's cold outside)

I gotta go away (Baby it's cold outside)

This evening has been (Been hoping that you'd dropped in)

So very nice (I'll hold your hands they're just like ice)

My mother will start to worry (Beautiful what's your hurry?)

My father will be pacing the floor (Listen to the fireplace roar)

So really I'd better scurry (Beautiful please don't hurry)

Well maybe just a half a drink more (I'll put some records on while I pour)

 

The neighbours might think (Baby it's bad out there)

Say what's in this drink? (No cabs to be had out there)

I wish I knew how (Your eyes are like starlight now)

To break this spell (I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell) (Why thank you)

I ought to say no, no, no sir (Mind if move in closer?)

At least I'm gonna say that I tried (What's the sense of hurtin' my pride?)

I really can't stay (Baby don't hold out)

Baby it's cold outside

 

Ah, you're very pushy you know?

I like to think of it as opportunistic

 

I simply must go (Baby it's cold outside)

The answer is no (But baby it's cold outside)

The welcome has been (How lucky that you dropped in)

So nice and warm (Look out the window at that storm)

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!)

Well maybe just a cigarette more (Never such a blizzard before) (And I don't even smoke)

 

I've got to get home (Baby you'll freeze out there)

Say lend me a coat? (It's up to your knees out there!)

You've really been grand (I feel when I touch your hand)

But don't you see? (How can you do this thing to me?)

There's bound to be talk tomorrow (Think of my life long sorrow!)

At least there will be plenty implied (If you caught pneumonia and died!)

I really can't stay (Get over that old out)

Baby it's cold

Baby it's cold outside

Okay fine, just another drink then

That took a lot of convincing!

What do you think?
What do you think?