Merry Christmas, You Old Misogynists!

I'm a big sucker for nostalgia and Christmastime delivers me no shortage of it. Part of that nostalgia makes it easy to overlook and forgive otherwise-terrible cultural moments because they tap into that sweet, innocent childhood familiarity. But man, y'all, some of this shit is just rapey.

Classic Hollywood has a special allure for me, but I'm willing to admit that some of our worst Christmas culprits come from my favorite era. Funny or Die had a great treatment of the worst offender, Baby It's Cold Outside, a date-rape anthem so rapey that it doesn't really even try not to be rapey.

She and Him (that band with Zooey Deschanel and that other guy, aka the Andrew Ridgeley of indie music) performed a gender-reversed version of the song to try to rehabilitate it, but, like, I think that's sexist, too? It's hard to tell these days. 

I really liked Kelsey Wallace's take on it the idea that that song is "creepy (yet catchy—creetchy?)" and that you kind of want to like it, because it sounds pretty and duets are fun and holidayz parties! But, gender-swapped or no, there's just no getting past those crappy, creetchy lyrics.

There's been no shortage of internet outrage over the continued place this song has in the sacred Christmas cannon. Other writers have lobbied to outlaw other anti-women songs, like "Santa Baby" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." Some have even decried Maria Carey's completely perfect and totally unassailable "All I Want for Christmas is You" as not feminist enough because all she wants for Christmas is a dumb, controlling, man-baby. But at this, I draw the line, because that song is perfect holiday eggnog for the ears and, man or no man, I'm dancing around in my underwear to dem jams FOREVER.

But I'd like to volunteer another Christmas classic as being subversively misogynist: "Winter Wonderland."

That's the song that starts, "Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening..." HAH! Now it's in your head. Pretty innocuous so far, a lot about snow and bluebirds, a pretty lovely Currier and Ives nature scene we're painting here. (Note: Currier and Ives are actually referenced in another pastoral winter jingle "Sleigh Ride," so let's not get confused.) BUT THEN:

In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say "are you married?"
We'll say, "no man, but you can do the job while you're in town!"
Do you get it? Do you see the rapey?? So, what's happening (in my head) is that this guy is taking this girl out in the winter wonderland and they're building this snowman all innocent-like. But presumably she won't put out until they're married so he's all like, "let's build a snowman and pretend that he's the preacher and pretend that he married us so now we're pretty much married and let's get freaky in this snow, girl!" He's totally conning his girlfriend into a pretend-snow-elopement so that they can have real snow sex! Right???

And tough luck, little lady, because he's gonna be GONE and ain't nobody around to help you raise your illegitimate snow-babies!

Merry Christmas, snow-babies. 
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January 5, 2016 at 5:00 PM delete

Well happy... happy... happy!
You are my hero, thank you!


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