Baby, It’s Cold Outside

by Diana Cihak

serena-joy-offred-hulu-handmaids-tale-1200x716We have come along way, baby.  But we are going backwards, and quickly.  I have a recurring nightmare that the conservative women who aspire to wear green every day and want to force the rest of us into red, brown, blue or grey, are just salivating over the way the Left is eating its own in the wake of #MeToo.

Let me explain.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas favorite that was written in 1944.  At that time a young, single woman was deemed a whore if she dared to go to a man’s house unaccompanied by her chaperone.  In the song she has gone to the man’s house and is trying to decide whether to stay or not.  He is trying to talk her into it.  But it is clear he is not forcing her and that the choice is hers.  She is fighting society and it’s perception of her, not him.  It’s clear she would love to stay and fulfill some of her desires and needs.  Seems like an empowered woman to me!  She was fighting the good fight for those of us that appreciate the freedom to explore our sexuality (the very thing that scares the wits out of conservatives).

But last year this outrage over the song started and this year it is reaching crescendo.  People are saying this is rape culture, that he is trying to drug her drink, that there is a lack of consent!  Radio stations are banning the songs and frantic mothers are holding hands over the ears of their precious daughters lest they be led to this den of inequity.

This hysteria is going to create a nasty backlash of prudish sensibilities that is going to be the downfall of women and our choices about our bodies, our sexuality and our working lives.

I strongly believe in the #MeToo movement.  I have, and know many other women who have been, the victims of sexual diminish-ment and abuse.  I have been the victim of rape.  I have also been on the receiving end of flirtation.  There is a difference. If we cry wolf at every single remark a man makes to a woman we will soon all be wearing those long, heavy wool garments and covering our hair lest the men be “tempted” and those women in green will win.

An article in Bloomberg News the other day outlined how the men of Wall Street are dealing with #MeToo.  They are taking the Pence approach.  They are following the lead of our VP and not dining or socializing with women without their wives or others present.

You know what that does?  That leaves women without the networking ability of the old boys.  It leaves women without mentors and sponsors who can help them rise up in their careers.  And it lets the men off the hook.  That is the battle we need to be fighting now.  Not fake outrage about the words to a song that was written at a time when women were expected to be prudish and controlled by the families until they were “safely” married.  I’m not interested in going back and I don’t want my teenage daughter to ever have to think about this.

Ladies, let’s choose our battles carefully.  Because it’s cold outside.

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