Everyone has a different opinion on which Christmas song is the absolute worst. For most people, the pendulum swings between Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” Paul McCartney’s “(Simply Having A) Wonderful Christmas Time,” and Band-Aid’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas,” which is ridiculous because of course they know it’s Christmas, they’re hungry, not stupid.
For feminists, though, the traditional worst Christmas song is “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” a classic crooner duet featuring a man trying to convince his young date to stay the night, even though she has to get home to her family or rumors will start to spread about her decorum and lack of mid-century mores.
According to Stylist, feminists fret endlessly about the (entirely fictional) woman in the song and are “deeply troubled” by the message a song written more than four decades ago sends in this era of rape culture. It’s adorable, sure, but it’s totally triggering.
Luckily, a duo has re-written and “updated” the horrifying ditty into a holiday themed ode to consent.
In this version, while the woman struggles with whether to go home in the freezing cold, the man, who is worldly and modern, pressures her to follow her heart out into the snow and make the trek back home.
When she says “I’ve got to go home,” for example, he answers, “baby, I’m fine with that.” He continues by telling her that “I’m hoping you get home safe,” offers to give her directions back to her apartment, and reassures her that, “you reserve the right to say no.”
It does, of course, sound a little like he’s ending the date early so that he can go back to surfing Tindr for someone without a Gender Studies degree. “Respecting one another’s boundaries” does help encourage healthy relationships, but the man in the song sounds less like he’s trying to communicate his own responsibility in the physical nature of their coupling, and more like he’s trying to weasel his way out of another hour of conversation about “intersectional feminism.”
Stylist, of course, calls it a “wonderful love song,” free of impending sexual assault. “Charming,” they say.
This isn’t the first time feminists have tried to flip the script on the cad in the song, however — just the latest. And based on the collection of consent-themed rewrites, this version is a standout. An earlier version, from last Christmas, called “Baby, Its Consent Outside,” leaves a great deal to be desired.