Baby It's Cold Outside," a holiday song from 1944 which attracted controversy in recent years, is making a comeback in several markets. In San Francisco, the KOIT radio station said it would return the song to its playlist following a vote of its listeners, with a reported 77 percent voting to keep the song.
"After hearing from thousands of Bay Area listeners via polling, phone calls, emails and social media, KOIT has concluded that the vast majority consider the song to be a valuable part of their holiday tradition, and they still want to hear it on the radio," KOIT Program Director Brian Figula said in a statement on Monday.
In Denver, listeners to radio station KOSI voted 95 percent in favor of keeping the song.
“We value the opinion of all our listeners and appreciate the feedback we received,” said KOSI program director Jim Lawson in a statement.
"While we are sensitive to those who may be upset by some of the lyrics, the majority of our listeners have expressed their interpretation of the song to be non-offensive.”
"Baby It's Cold Outside" has been a source of debate for the past few years. Some argue it displays key signs of rape culture:
"Even if the intentions aren't sinister, it’s simply exhausting to be a woman in that situation," wrote USA TODAY's Mary Nahorniak. "In the original score, the male part is written as a 'wolf' and the woman as a 'mouse' – that speaks volumes about male predatory behavior. Many women know what it’s like to feel trapped by a man, whether emotionally or physically. In those situations, it doesn’t matter how it began or why she wants to leave, it only matters that she wants to go, now."
Others have countered to say it ought to be considered from a historical standpoint: after all, it was written in the 1940s, a time when it would have been a scandal for an unmarried woman to spend the night at a man's house.
A "kind of culture of repression that would forbid this kind of hanging out,” Karen Tongsonm an English and gender studies associate professor at the University of Southern California, told USA TODAY last year. "The song itself is an effort to furnish female sexuality with a set of excuses as opposed to a coercive song.”
Radio stations in Cleveland, Denver and three major Canadian markets have recently banned the song.
WDOK 102.1 in Cleveland, a station that only plays Christmas music during the holidays, went viral in late November after removing the song from its playlist
"When the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong," Glenn Anderson, one of the station's hosts, wrote in a post on the WDOK website. "The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place."
USA TODAY contributed to this report.