Enjoy your favorite problematic holiday song with these feminist remixes.
Raise your hand if you love the song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" but also find it creepy.
Since Frank Loesser wrote the song in 1944, famous people have been clamoring to cover it — from Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. (separately of course, not as a duet, though that would've been something) to Zooey Deschanel and Will Ferrell in the Christmas classic "Elf."
It's not hard to imagine why. The tune is super catchy.
Through 1940's eyes, the lyrics may have all the warmth and romance that you'd want in a holiday classic, telling the story about a woman saying she has to leave a man's house while he begs her to stay, saying, "Baby, it's cold outside."
Think a little deeper though, and the lyrics sound pretty darn sinister, with the man at the very least pressuring the woman to stay and outright ignoring her protests, "I ought to say no, no, no, sir/Mind if I move in closer," at the very worst, straight up roofie-ing her, "Say what's in this drink/No cabs to be had out there."
In an age where discussions about consensual sex are at the forefront, it's common to find thinkpieces debating the song's feminist credentials, whether it's 2012 or just last year.
The good news is that now we have some alternative versions of the song, in the form of amazing feminist remixes.
There's this version by YouTube user caseymh2010, which is from 2013, but has started making the rounds again as the holiday season approaches.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/embed/-RBU6bFSwZg?wmode=transparent&showinfo=0&controls=1&enablejsapi=1&rel=0&version=3&color=white expand=1]
In the updated version, the lyrics start out the same as the original:
"I really can't stay/But, baby, it's cold outside. I've got to go away/But, baby, it's cold outside. This evening has been/Been hoping that you'd drop in ..."
Then, instead of the man answering, "I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice," when the woman sings, "so very nice," he sings a friendly warning:
Rather than trying to coerce the woman into staying, the man supports her decision to leave, and wishes her safe travels.
Other lyrics from the man combine to show that he'll only move forward with the evening if she wants to, singing "Saying yes is your right" and "We've got consent, and that's enough.”
This updated version also addresses the woman's concern in the original lyrics that she'll be judged for staying the night, as implied by "there's bound to be talk tomorrow."
At one point, the female singer uses a lyric straight out of the original, "at least there will be plenty implied," but in this version, the man, instead of ignoring her concern, sings this sex-positive response:
This song reflects the fact women may still be judged for having sex, but the man models a response showing that neither of them should feel any shame for having had sex or even just "staying the night."
Then there's another parody of the song from 2014 that lasts only 11 glorious seconds.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/embed/48Xg0FS-O6Y?wmode=transparent&showinfo=0&controls=1&enablejsapi=1&rel=0&version=3&color=white expand=1]
"I really can't stay," this woman sings. "It's totally fine. I'll call you a cab," the man replies.
If you don't want to watch a 40-second video, this Facebook post models a similar conversation:
Lots of people love "Baby, It's Cold Outside." Given how catchy it is, it's hard to blame anyone for wanting to enjoy it without thinking too deeply about certain ingrained stereotypes that it promotes.
It's also great, however, that these progressive alternatives exist. As someone who finds it hard to separate art from a bad creator, or from a bad message, these reimaginings make "Baby, It's Cold Outside" even more enjoyable.
And it gives me hope for humanity — that messages of consent are catching on.