Should we Sing Along? Questionable Christmas Song


Jenny Crum, Editor

As soon as the Halloween candy is passed out and the decorates torn down, the holiday season chills our faces in a red and green gust of finery. Suddenly, Christmas trees are in frosted windows and peppermint lattes are warming  frozen hands.

Possibly the most significant sign of the holiday season is the music—whether modern classics from Kacey Musgraves and Justin Bieber or oldies sung by Nat King Cole, these tunes signify the joy and warmth that tie November and December into a gold-foiled, nostalgic bow.

Yet when you listen to some of the top Christmas songs on the charts today, there are a few that perhaps should be questioned. What are they really singing about? and should any of us be singing along?

One questionable Christmas song is the 1944 classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Written by Frank Loesser, the tune became famous when it was included in the movie “Neptune’s Daughter.” Some famous covers of the song include duets by Dean Martin and his chorus, and country singer Brett Eldridge and Meghan Trainor, among others.

Although the tune is catchy and fun to sing with a significant other, the lyrics are more questionable than you might realize. It is a conversation between a man and a woman, the man being “Wolf” and the woman being “Mouse” (which is derogatory towards women, making them seem like the more vulnerable/ less capable individual). The woman wants to leave the house after what is assumed to be a date. She says “I’ve got to go away,” and he responds with “Baby Its Cold Outside”. This banter goes back and forth for a few lines, but isn’t necessarily creepy until the woman says “What’s in this drink?” after he pours her a drink. It’s almost as if the woman is worried that the man put a sedative in her drink to take advantage of her.

Since 2015 and the #metoo movement, date rape is an issue in numerous headlines and media outlets. Actors and civilians alike have brought their horrifying stories of rape and date rape to light. One in every five teens are victims of date rape. 15-20% of women alive today have experienced some form of rape. The statistics are staggering. People are becoming more and more aware of the use of drugs to influence women so they can be taken advantage of.

Lines like “What’s in this drink?” make us wonder if we want our children listening to this song. During the forties when this song was written, gender roles were an underlying force in many relationships. Women were often perceived as objects for men to take advantage of, so a line like the one in “Baby Its Cold Outside” wasn’t deemed as questionable– it was probably something people chuckled about with nervous smile or simply didn’t notice at all.

But in the changing world that we live in, where stories of date rape are being brought forward so that guilty parties can be prosecuted, it might behoove us to make sure that the music we listen to and television that we watch is something that we feel reflects our values. Especially in the season of joy!