Ban­ning Christ­mas song does noth­ing for # metoo

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - OPINION - JES­SICA LAWS

It’s the sea­son of poor road con­di­tions, traf­fic, crowds in ev­ery store and the in­escapably joy­ous Christ­mas mu­sic.

While ac­cept­able in small doses, most Christ­mas mu­sic is highly over played and pop­u­lar for artists’ re­makes.

This week one Christ­mas song in par­tic­u­lar took a hit when select ra­dio sta­tions banned the song ‘ Baby It’s Cold Out­side’ for its im­pli­ca­tion of rape.

Writ­ten back in 1944, the song ‘ Baby It’s Cold Out­side’ is a re­flec­tion of the so­ci­etal and cul­tural norms of its time... not the cur­rent times.

This ban has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve heard in a long time, as well as ex­ceed­ingly hyp­o­crit­i­cal.

While the line “say, what’s in this drink”, trig­gers some peo­ple I too am trig­gered by the fact that we have bla­tantly lost our way for show­ing real con­cern for things that ac­tu­ally do pro­mote a misog­y­nis­tic rape cul­ture.

I re­fer to the re­spon­si­bil­ity that we place on women for pre­vent­ing rape, when we blame vic­tims of rape, slut­shame and tell women how to dress in a way that caters to the male gaze.

Tout­ing the # metoo move­ment as a rea­son to ban such a song shows a dis­tinct lack of un­der­stand­ing of what the # metoo era is fight­ing for.

‘ Baby It’s Cold Out­side’ is a back and forth con­ver­sa­tion be­tween two love­birds who fear the reper­cus­sions of ex­tend­ing their time to­gether and hav­ing to face the gos­sip and whis­pers that would fol­low the next day.

Al­most all women are faced with this predica­ment of want­ing to stay but not know­ing how to de­fend their de­ci­sion.

‘ Baby It’s Cold Out­side’ is the an­swer to de­fend the choice of stay­ing be­hind there is noth­ing “rapey” about the duet, if any­thing it’s a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the plight of women and even then I feel like I am grasp­ing at straws.

The # metoo era is a move­ment for the em­pow­er­ment of women; it’s also about vic­tim ad­vo­cacy, it is not about sen­si­tiv­ity and emo­tions.

Blam­ing the # metoo era for the re­course of ban­ning such a song is just a weak ex­cuse for be­ing afraid of be­ing sued by some­one who might pos­si­bly find it of­fen­sive.

The lines aren’t blurred. This song is clearly writ­ten for a dif­fer­ent time pe­riod, one I might men­tion could do with mak­ing a reap­pear­ance to teach peo­ple a thing or too.

And if the # metoo move­ment has made the con­scious choice of mark­ing songs for of­fen­sive lyrics that con­done sex­ual as­sault and rape cul­ture then they cer­tainly have their work cut out for them with the nu­mer­ous amounts of cur­rent songs in the hip hop and rap main­streams, not to men­tion the mu­sic videos as well.

Song lyrics are al­ways open to in­ter­pre­ta­tion, that’s why it falls un­der the cat­e­gory of art be­cause it’s all per­spec­tive, if you don’t like the song change the sta­tion, turn the ra­dio down or, bet­ter yet, turn the ra­dio off al­to­gether.

A ban on this song isn’t the type of act first, think later that is needed to help re­duce the cul­ture of rape.

Be­sides that, it’s a great hol­i­day clas­sic and right up there with such out­ra­geous and ‘ ban’ wor­thy ti­tles like ‘ I Saw mommy kiss­ing Santa Claus,’ ‘ Grandma got ran over by a rein­deer,’ and ‘ Santa Baby’ plus who could for­get the bul­ly­ing clas­sic ‘ Rudolph the red nose rein­deer.’

The fact is this song was writ­ten for a dif­fer­ent era, a dif­fer­ent time when women didn’t have much more to fear but gos­sip.

The song it­self is a part of our his­tory and there is no sense try­ing to change some­thing that has al­ready hap­pened in the past.

If we want to end rape cul­ture we need to start with what is hap­pen­ing in our present day and if that means ban­ning songs then start with those that are writ­ten in this era be­cause baby, the rest is just point­less.

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