Criticizing Christmas? A Rebuttal to Critics of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer & Baby It's Cold Outside
Here we go again. It seems every other day something is being over analyzed and critiqued. It is really hard to apply "today's standards" to things that were created decades before, but here we are doing it to not one, but two Christmas classics. The first being Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the second, the Christmas song "Baby It's Cold Outside". I have some thoughts on both of these hot topics.
You may recall my rebuttal to Mindy Kaling when she called The Little Mermaid "problematic" and I also pointed out the flaws in Keira Knightly's takedown of Cinderella. Now, I have some thoughts on the humbugs coming for two Christmas staples.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
When I first came across the tweet from the Huff Post calling Rudolph "seriously problematic" I thought it was satire. Then I discovered it was real. Very, very real.
The tweet in question is a video with other tweets from viewers saying Santa needs "diversity and inclusion training" and that "Rudolph's father verbally abuses him" over his red nose when he tells him to cover it up. They go on to point out the bullying that both Rudolph and Hermey (the elf who wants to be a dentist) endure.
My question to Huff Post and these viewers is, did you not watch until the end?
The ENTIRE POINT of both the song and TV special is that everyone realizes they were wrong. As soon as it's too foggy for Santa to leave and Rudolph's nose shines through he becomes the hero. Santa apologizes! It isn't like the song and special just end with Rudolph on the Island of Misfit Toys (all of whom find a home, by the way) miserable and alone. The story tells children not to bully someone for being different and to encourage those who have a different dream. Remember Hermey? He becomes the workshop dentist! Everyone lives happily ever after and with cleaner teeth to boot!
Baby It's Cold Outside
This hurts because it happens to be my favorite Christmas song (alongside "Last Christmas"). A radio station in Ohio has banned the 1944 classic, "Baby It's Cold Outside" due to the "#MeToo" movement. I am not trying to discredit anyone's feelings here, I am not trying to speak out against the movement. I do however disagree with the way this song is being dragged through the mud for I feel it is misinterpreted.
The song was originally written in 1944. It should go without saying but, the times were different then. Women who stayed out all hours of the night or even worse, weren't seen until the next morning, were not viewed in the best light. The lyrics suggest the woman still lives with her parents to boot so one can assume she's under a strict curfew.
The woman in the song says she "ought to say no" not that she necessarily wants to say no. She mentions her reasons for saying she has to go and none of them are because of her; there is the thought of her father "pacing the floor", the fear of her brother being "there at the door", she mentions her neighbors and states that her "Maiden's Aunt mind is vicious".
The woman then allows herself to stay for "a half a drink more", "a cigarette more", and finally "another drink then". She isn't being pressured to stay. she's fighting her own internal conflict of knowing she shouldn't stay because of society standards but wanting to stay anyway.
The man in question keeps giving her excuses to use because he knows that she might take some heat for spending the night, so he says "it's bad out there", "no cabs to be had out there", "never such a blizzard before" and that she could catch "pneumonia and die".
By the end she playfully says that theres "bound to be talk tomorrow" but throws caution to the wind and decides to stay, agreeing that if anyone asks she'll just say it was "cold outside".
I challenge critics of this song to take another look. Instead of removing her agency and calling her a victim, see how empowered she is and how she broke societal rules when she decided to have an overnight stay with a man. Taking a "walk of shame" in 1944 is a lot different than taking one in 2018 and I think it is almost lazy for one to dub this as a "rape anthem" when there is so much more to it than that.
Applying today's standards to this song totally takes away the wrath this woman faced the next morning when she arrived home from an overnight stay at a man's house. Do we really need to discuss the thoughts of premarital sex in 1944? I rest my case.