Baby, What Else Can We Do?
It’s getting out of hand. The outrage over the lyrics and the backlash over the banning of the song, Baby It’s Cold Outside. I will admit that am not a fan. As someone who is about to send a daughter off to college, any song about a man trying to keep a woman who has queried “What’s in my drink?” from leaving his house sends off warning bells in my head. In fact, it was my teenager who pointed out to me just how creepy the song was–some three years ago.
And even if that wasn’t the intent of the songwriter, we have to acknowledge how tone deaf and wrong it sounds today. But do we need to ban the song from the airwaves? Can we not just admit that it’s an antiquated song that doesn’t play well to modern audiences? Can we simply turn the dials, punch the button or tell Alexa to move on when it comes up on our playlists?
No. I don’t think we can. At least not right now. Why? Because we live in world where rape is still treated as a youthful indiscretion or an unfortunate mistake rather than crime. We hear female prosecutors say things like, “Juries aren’t ready to convict for only one rape,” as an excuse for outrageous plea deals for rapists. Less than one percent of rapes end in a felony conviction.
Why don’t we protect what we claim to value?
How dissonant is it to live in a culture where, for generations, we have upheld the image of the ideal female as chaste and sexually pure, but fail to protect or even side with that same female when she is assaulted? Little girls who are coerced, yet committed, to wearing purity rings and signing pledges of chastity become suspicious, slutty sirens if they dare accuse a man of forcing them to have sex–even if they have the black eyes and bruises to back up their story. Where is the church, which has long held virginity as the ultimate female virtue, when their females are violated?
We spend more time and money teaching women how to avoid being raped than we do teaching men that it’s not okay to rape or creating real consequences when they do. We have a sitting Supreme Court Justice whose reply to the accusation of rape was to wail about the damage to his own reputation rather than immediately order an FBI investigation to prove it wasn’t true (like prosecutor Robert Mueller did when we was accused). We have young men who have admitted to assaults skate by because no one wants to “ruin a promising future” but don’t give flying f&%* about how the crime has destroyed the victim’s future.
So yeah, as much as I detest censorship and as ridiculous as it seems, I say ban the freaking song. Is it a fairly hollow gesture? Sure. Will it change minds? Will it change our broken system? Will it keep another woman from being raped? Probably not, but what the hell else are we supposed to do? When the opportunity to oppose and erase the acceptance of rape culture arises, we have to take it. At least until the people of this country decide that one rape is one too many.