Baby, It’s Cold Outside!!!

There are about a bazillion posts out there claiming that ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ perpetuates rape culture. I didn’t think another post was particularly necessary, but my hat ended up in the ring before I realized it left my hand.

I’ve never been particularly attached to the song, but it always seemed light and fun. A holiday staple. Initially, I scoffed at the idea. I mean, sheesh, not everything has dark undertones. Then I watched the clips. Indeed, I watched the video of Ricardo Montalban’s oily advances on Esther Williams with wide-eyed horror. I could practically feel the razor-sharp snowflakes shredding the already tattered remnants of my faith in humankind. I forged on, but kept hitting the same wall. Interpretation after interpretation, opinion after opinion, there it was, in black and white (well, technicolor, but that’s beside the point).

In searching for a better quality version of the clip from 1949’s Neptune’s Daughter on YouTube, I happened upon the one below. It’s amazing what an extra two minutes of film yields. The game-changer starts at 2:03. BAM!!!!! The tables are turned. *Gasp*. Fresh-faced Betty Garrat sings those same words to Red Skelton, and the words magically morph back into a harmless musical number. Granted, Ricardo following Esther around whilst repeatedly collecting her outerwear has a pretty high creeper factor.  I get it.

But…

We’ve got bigger fish to fry. Rape culture is Eminem. Tyler, The Creator. DMX. Rick Ross. Check out those lyrics. Watch those videos. Worry about those. Drugging and duct-taping women before beating and raping them? Go for it! Wear one out or kill her? Just find another. When in doubt, grab your Mom or sister!  Violent. Evil. Reprehensible. That’s rape culture. That’s TODAY. Figure out how to change THAT.  There’s no role reversal or change of perspective that could possibly make it morph into anything remotely harmless.

I really hope that, 65 years from now, there won’t be someone describing Eminem as simply ‘creepy’.  I’ll take my chances with Ricardo Montalban…

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