Baby, It’s Consensual Outside

I’m reposting some of my previous holiday posts, as part of my holiday tradition thing. Enjoy!

I’ve been seeing discussion about the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” It’s unsurprising, what with (a) it being the winter holiday season, and (b) there being a lot of discussion of rape culture. Yes, the song is troubling at best and rapey at worst (more on that after the video). And I don’t care that Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt reversed the gender roles: men deserve to have their sexual boundaries respected just as much as women, ignoring boundaries and treating it like a flirtatious game is fucked-up no matter what the genders are. But the main thing I want to say right now is this:

Have you heard the consensual version?

There’s a really cute, sweet, funny parody version of the song on YouTube by Chase Gregory, titled “Baby It’s Consensual Outside,” in which the guy respects the woman’s boundaries. I thought some of you might enjoy it.

I’ve transcribed the lyrics, for the deaf and hard of hearing (below the jump).

by Chase Gregory

I really can’t stay
Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go ‘way
Remember, it’s cold outside
This evening has been
Thanks, baby, for stopping in
So very nice
Was wonderful, to be precise
My mother will start to worry
Oh, then you’d better hurry
My father will be pacing the floor
Let me walk you out to the door
So really, I’d better scurry
That’s okay, please don’t worry
Well, maybe just a half a drink more
Only if you’re really quite sure

The neighbors might think
Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink?
I’ll pay for your taxi fare
I wish I knew how
Your eyes are like starlight now
To break the spell
And here’s your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no sir
Say it, we’ll end up closer
At least I’m gonna say that I tried
It’s okay, I’ll take it in stride
I really can’t stay
Baby I’ll hold out
And it’s cold outside/and it’s cold outside

I simply must go
Baby, it’s cold outside
The answer is no
Oh good, I think that’s your ride
This welcome has been
I’m lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm
Look out the window at that storm
My sister will be suspicious
Don’t want to seem malicious
My brother will be there at the door
Waiting for the girl I adore
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious
Man, this feels repetitious
Well, maybe just a half a drink more
Say “when,” so I know what to pour

I’ve got to go home
Baby, don’t freeze out there
Say, lend me your comb
It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand
I totally understand
But don’t you see
I know it isn’t up to me
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow
Here’s some gloves you can borrow
At least there will be plenty implied
It’s not really mine to decide
I really can’t stay
I trust you, there’s no doubt [may be mangling the transcription of this line a bit – GC]
And it’s cold outside/and it’s cold outside


So. About the rapeyness.

In response to the commonly-voiced objection that the woman in the song doesn’t really mean No, that she wants to say Yes but is worried about social disapproval (voiced here in these comments as well as many other places), I have this to say:

1: When women want to say say No (or indeed are saying No and aren’t having it accepted or listened to), they often place the blame on others. We’ve been socialized to think that saying No to what other people want is rude and mean and selfish — so we place the blame for the No on others. “I’d love to stay at the party, but I have work tomorrow.” Etc. As A. Noyd said, “If a guy is pressuring a woman for sex/companionship and she doesn’t want to stay with him, she often has to bring up other reasons, such as disapproval from family members making her life difficult, when her wishes alone aren’t being listened to.”

2: It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference what the reasons for her objections are. No means no. If she were saying No because she thinks sex will make her nose turn blue or that space aliens will invade if she says Yes — she’s still saying No. Over and over and over again.

3a: Yes, there probably are some women — and some men — who say No as part of a flirtatious game, to get their pursuers to pursue them. That is also part of rape culture. The idea that you really know someone wants you when they ignore your boundaries and keep pushing past your objections — this is also part of rape culture. (It’s also really sex-negative, reinforcing the idea that it’s bad and wrong to enthusiastically say Yes to sex when you want it.) I don’t like it when pop culture encourages, celebrates, and reinforces this idea.

3b: When pop culture reinforces the idea that ignoring boundaries is part of a flirtatious game, it doesn’t just encourage the recipients of attention to say No when they really mean Yes, and to think that if someone takes No for an answer it means they really don’t like them. It encourages pursuers to think that No means Yes, or that it means Maybe, or that it means “I want you to keep trying.” And that makes them more likely to push past someone else’s boundaries.

I’m just sayin’, is all.

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Greta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

Baby, It’s Consensual Outside
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2 thoughts on “Baby, It’s Consensual Outside

  1. 1

    “The day bed in my library is super cozy and has a down comforter, and there’s a door that locks from the inside. Make yourself at home up there, just holler if you need anything. Unless I hear otherwise I’ll probably be making popovers with a selection of jams and butter for breakfast, but if you’re a carnivore and would prefer bacon and waffles let me know when you first hear the tea-kettle scream… OK?” I know that’s a lot for someone who’s smashed to remember (it’s a lot for someone who’s smashed to say!) but the defaults are all safe, if not gluten-free.

  2. 2

    With the way women are treated for even the perception of sexual activity, expressing concern for how she might be is an treated in the future by others can have extreme validity as a reason. We don’t know what sort of background anyone else comes from and what consequences they may face from others. I have known young people to be beaten for arriving home after drinking or even being a bit late.

    We can add qualifiers and excuses all day, but it all boils down to a simple statement –

    No means no, and the reasons don’t matter.

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