Canadian radio stations announce that they will no longer play the classic "Baby It's Cold Outside" due to backlash from P.C. groups linking it to sexual assault. Is there merit in the claim, or is it another example of our bizarre culture war?
According to research body More In Common, approximately 80% of Americans view Political Correctness as a major, irritating problem. What began as a very small minority group questioning seemingly harmless things has now blossomed into an equally small minority group with an uncomfortable level of power and influence. The latest victim in their campaign to sanitize the world is the classic song "Baby It's Cold Outside," which will no longer be played on many Canadian radio stations. The reason?
Nobody really knows.
According to the social justice community, the song promotes sexual assault against women. A quick skim of the lyrics seems to suggest otherwise, however. In truth, the song focuses on two characters, one male and one female. The female character is conflicted as to whether she should stay with the attractive male suitor who has seemingly charmed her, while the suitor is doing everything he can to seduce the woman in question. This is obviously not rape, nor does it imply it. The female character is always in control of the outcome, and clearly makes her own decision at the end of the song with absolutely no force or coersion.
This comes hot on the heels of skewed studies proclaiming that University and College campuses are breeding grounds for sexual assault and an instutionalized rape culture, which have since been proven categorically false. However, it's important to note that while "Baby It's Cold Outside" has suddenly been targeted by political correctness groups and radical feminists, far more explicit and offensive songs have managed to stay under the radar and out of the crosshairs. Enimen's "Low Down, Dirty" is frank about murder, necrophilia and spousal abuse. Ice Cube's "Givin' Up The Nappy Dugout" glamorizes statutory rape and sex trafficking of a 17 year old girl. Even Taylor Swift has taken swipes at her rivals by "slut-shaming" them in her songs.
There's a double-standard at play here, but it may not be as clear and transparent as we'd like to believe. The debate about censoring music has been going on for decades, finally hitting its peak in the 1990s with Tipper Gore's feverish campaign to hold musicians responsible for the content of their lyrics, which eventually led to the formation of the infamous PMRC. At the time, the PMRC signified everything wrong about Big Government oversight and intrusion into society and free expression. Suddenly, musicians like Dee Snider were forced to go toe-to-toe with Washington lawmakers and defend their lyrics by providing the proper context. In Snider's case, said lawmakers took issue with Twisted Sister's "Under the Blade," which was thought to reference sadomasochism and BDSM. In truth, it was a song about a throat operation.
Context plays a big part in determining how one interprets music. Thrash band Slayer has frequently been accused of Nazi sympathies for "Angel of Death," a brutal third-party examination of the brutal Josef Mengele's experiments on P.O.W.s and Jews during WWII. Similarly, The Clash brushed a little too close to extreme controversy with the release of "Killing An Arab," which was merely a musical essay regarding certain points of the classic book "The Stranger," by Albert Camus. If pressed, certain people will find an excuse to take offense in anything at all, and it's a problem which seems to be growing, despite the backlash from the overwhelming majority of the population.
At a time when Superbowl ratings are plummeting due to politicization of the sport, it seems incomprehensible that companies are bowing to pressure from a tiny minority of extremely vocal people who have made it their mission to erase another part of popular culture. Yet, once again we face another round of attempts to suppress and censor music that has been falsely accused of a crime it never committed in the first place. Their bile might be better directed at music which is actually designed to be offensive, in which case they might have a worthy fight on their hands. To falsely label "Baby It's Cold Outside" as a song which encourages sexual assault and misogyny seems like desperate over-reaching.
If political correctness groups are intent on attacking the song due to perceived objectification of women as sex objects, then they must also sound off with equal fever against Salt-N-Pepa's "Shoop," Lil' Kim's "How Many Licks," Liz Phair's "Flower," the Donna's "40 Boys in 40 Nights," and yes......"It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls, all songs which feature sexual objectification of men. I'm certain that very few of us would be willing to go down that road.
What do you think of the decision to pull "Baby It's Cold Outside" from radio? Is it an example of political correctness once again going too far, or is there merit to the decision?