The 1944 song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" gets a bunch of play around the holidays, and I had long ago written it off as being super creepy (some have even called it the "Date Rape Christmas Carol".) This is why I was surprised to read the feminist magazine Persephone had published a defense of "Baby, It's Cold Outside." The feminist reading of the song claims that the message conveyed is actually one of sexual independence, at a time when a woman could not blatantly voice her desires. The woman in the song is having a great time and wants to stay over, and her date is simply offering her excuses that she needs to give her family and community in order to do what she wants to. The fact the song ends with the woman doing what she wants to do, not what everyone expects her to do, is inherently a great message. The biggest criticism of the song is centered around that "say, what's in that drink" line:
"Say, what’s in this drink” is a well-used phrase common in movies of the time period, and isn’t used in the same manner any longer. The phrase generally referred to someone saying or doing something they thought they wouldn’t in normal circumstances; it’s a nod to the idea that alcohol is “making” them do something unusual. But the joke is almost always that there is nothing in the drink. The drink is the excuse.
That brings up some interesting points, but even in versions that reverse genders—like the duet by She and Him—in the recording of the song, the traditionally male aggressor being sung by a woman, still sounds pushy and creepy, never taking "no" for an answer.
"Baby, It's Cold Outside": is it creepy, or misunderstood?