I read a feminist defense of the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The song had been accused of being a little bit “rape-y” in the last couple of years due, mostly, to the line, “Say, what’s in this drink?”
There are those, now that they’ve read the defense, who are joyously shouting vindication for the song. And those who are finding other details still on the sexist side.
Is there offense in it? It depends.
Certainly it was written in a much more sexist time than our own and is clearly a product of its time. Which doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it now. Ultimately, for me, like Shakespeare and other classic texts, it comes down to how it is performed.
If Bill Cosby sings this song to a woman, like, say, Beverly Johnson (or ANY woman) it does feel VERY rape-y.
Which doesn’t mean he shouldn’t sing it with Beverly Johnson. It would be the creepiest, most uncomfortable and interesting “Baby, it’s Cold Outside” ever.
When Luke Wheeler and Rayna James on the TV show, Nashville, sang it to each other, well, that’s just fine. Those two characters were hot for each other and in love. We want to see a nice sexy duet like that.
It all depends on how into the gentleman the Lady is and how uncreepy the Gentleman is. Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zoey Deschanel sang it, it would have a sweet quirky niceness.
But if Deschanel sang it with Christopher Walken in Deerhunter mode? Creepy. Scary. Not okay. But again, interesting!
It’s always always interpretation.
And then there’s the fun gender reversed way.