CLEVELAND -- Chill out on "Baby it's Cold Outside."
So suggests a Kent State University professor who teaches a course on #MeToo.
"Blowing up over a Christmas carol? It's not appropriate when there are genuine crimes and harassment being committed constantly that need our attention," said Dr. Vera Camden, professor of English at KSU.
WDOK 102.1, a Cleveland-based station that exclusively plays Christmas music during the holidays, went viral last week when it announced the song, "Baby it's Cold Outside," would be removed from rotation after a listener called to say it was inappropriate amid the #MeToo movement.
"When the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong," wrote Glenn Anderson, one of the station's hosts, 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."
"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."
Sondra Miller, CEO of Cleveland Rape Crisis Center said, "The song pushes the line of consent." Since making her stance public last week, Miller said that she has gotten plenty of hate mail for being too "politically correct."
But as an advocate for rape victims, Miller is unapologetic.
"I do believe that we should be talking to our daughters and our nieces and our granddaughters about being an empowered girl and having a voice," she said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Camden encourages vigorous debates, but is concerned that they may trivialize the #MeToo movement.
"There's so many songs [that could be deemed inappropriate] -- 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus' -- Give me a break!" said Dr. Camden.
"I hope that these are small pebbles that are being thrown at a giant of a movement. That is my hope and expectation."