Even as time marches forward into the unknown, we can all find collective certainty that each year in early December, the same handful of Christmas carols and holiday hymnals will be unleashed across the airwaves, played ad nauseum until a certain someone climbs down your chimney. Though with an increasing cultural awareness of gender dynamics and rape culture—and the re-evaluation of past pop culture that comes with it—that yuletide playlist might just be one song shorter this year.
Cleveland radio station WDOK Star 102.1 has pulled consent-agnostic carol “Baby It’s Cold Outside” from its holiday rotation after receiving listener complaints regarding the song’s questionable lyrical themes which, especially in 2018, increasingly defy any sort of generous reading.
The station agrees with complaints that the song’s call-and-response interplay between a man begging a woman to spend the night despite her continued protests is one that time hasn’t been very kind to. WDOK’s afternoon host Desiray stated “People might say, ‘oh, enough with that #MeToo,’ but if you really put that aside and listen to the lyrics, it’s not something I would want my daughter to be in that kind of a situation. The tune might be catchy, but let’s maybe not promote that sort of an idea.”
The station’s larger listener base, as evidenced by a Facebook poll, seem to believe otherwise:
Despite this story inviting panicked, reactionary screeds of “political correctness run amok” from the level-headed commenters of the Internet, the President and CEO of Cleveland’s Rape Crisis Center, Sondra Miller, agrees with WDOK’s decision. “The character in the song is saying ‘no,’ and they’re saying well, ‘does no really mean yes?’ and I think in 2018 what we know is consent is ‘yes’ and if you get a ‘no,’ it means ‘no’ and you should stop right there,” Miller said in a statement.
There’s still 2 days left on the station’s Facebook poll, though there’s no word as to whether or not its results – which are overwhelmingly pro-“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – will influence any further decisions.