Yes, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is still pretty creepy

Are you tired of Christmas songs yet? I know my bah, humbug, cranky-ass is. I know! I feel terrible, maybe it’s the bitter cold or possibly the lack of sunlight.

But out of all the saccharine feel good tunes of the season that make me feel like I’m living a yuletide version of “Groundhog Day,” the duet, “Baby, it’s cold outside” always stood out for somehow managing to be both cutesy and flesh-crawlingly creepy.

It’s an odd combo.

Back in 2012, Stephen Deusner referred to the song as a “date-rape anthem.” While that may be a bit hyperbolic, it’s hard to deny the song’s predatory vibe, especially from the following lyrics:

Her: The neighbors might think…
Him: Baby it’s bad out there…
Her: Say what’s in this drink…
Him: No cabs to be had out there…

or this

HerI simply must go…
HimBaby, it’s cold outside…
HerThe answer is no…
HimBut baby, it’s cold outside…

Recently, South Park mocked the creepy Christmas classic with Bill Cosby and Taylor Swift singing a “Baby, it’s cold outside” inspired duet.

In light of all the rape allegations against Cosby that have recently gained media attention, some felt the scene took things too far -even for South Park.

I for one, thought this was the funniest scene in the entire episode and that it was using recent headlines to illustrate just how icky “Baby, it’s cold outside” really is when you actually focus on the lyrics.

It’s very tricky to talk about rape via comedy. You stand the risk of seeming like you’re trivializing of rape or worse, blaming the victim. But there have been numerous comedians who have used comedy to make illuminating points about rape culture in ways that you wouldn’t be able to without humor.

In fact, it was a stand-up routine by comedian Hannibal Buress that that  ultimately led to the rape allegations against Cosby (which had previously been swept under the rug by many in the media) to finally gain traction. Buress pointed out the absurdity of Cosby, an accused serial rapist, feeling he had the right to chastise anyone in the black community for not acting properly.

Now that everyone is finally talking about the rape allegations against Cosby, there’s been back and forth speculation as to whether or not he’s guilty. But one thing people aren’t debating, (from what I’ve gleaned) is whether or not drugging someone and then having sexual contact with that person, is rape or sexual assault. I haven’t come across any of the infuriatingly ignorant arguments rape apologists have used in the past such as, “she didn’t verbally say no”, or “she didn’t put up a fight” or even “how can it be rape, if she doesn’t even remember what happened to her?”.

But this wasn’t always the case. Check out this disturbing comedy bit Bill Cosby did back in 1969, in which he jokes about using Spanish Fly to drug women.

Some have argued, that Spanish Fly was considered an aphrodisiac and not something that would knock you out. People made similar arguments in defense of rapper, Rick Ross, back in 2013 due to the following lyrics from the song “U.O.E.N.O.”

“Put molly all in her champagne/ She ain’t even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that/ She ain’t even know it.”

The troubling point has nothing to do with the potency of the drug, but that that the drug is slipped to a woman without her knowledge.

Reebok eventually dropped Rick Ross as a spokesperson due to the controversy of the song’s lyrics, but back in the late 60s Cosby’s “Spanish Fly” bit received laughter. It’s hard to imagine such a joke receiving the same kind of reception today, and that’s a good thing.

What was once considered a coy game of cat and mouse, is now considered creepy and predatory. If it leads to non-consensual sex, it’s considered rape. The fact that most people would agree with that statement is a huge sign of progress!

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