Art: is it still okay?

Singing along to one of the most famous Christmas songs ‘Baby it’s cold outside’ is not as innocent as it used to be. Lately all forms of art like music, books and paintings, cause a discussion for their, now considered, controversial content.

By Thirza de Raad 

The discussion to change the lyrics of the Christmas song, or not to change it, has been going on for a couple of years. The song should be rewritten, because it would suggest rape. The sentence that got the most backlash is; “Say, what’s in this drink?”, which could be seen as the woman being drugged. During the duet the man keeps asking her to stay, even though the woman says no.

American sinters Kelly Clarkson and John legend took the step and modernized the song, for example they changed the lyrics into; “What will my friends think? I think they should rejoice if I have one more drink? It’s your body, and your choice.”

Looking at the original and literal lyrics of the song, we can all understand why people think it comes across as if the man is demanding the woman to stay against her will. But the text only, doesn’t define the purpose and atmosphere of a song.

People had a completely different state of mind.

When this song hadn’t received so much backlash yet, I found the chemistry and conversation between the man and woman flirty and in some way even funny. So because of all the criticism, the context of the song has completely changed and is giving another message.

This song was written in 1944. This is a time where people had a completely different state of mind. It was a time wherein the society accepted that the roles between a man and a woman were more unequal and the man had more influence. This is something that we’re fighting so hard against. But because we think in a different way, we can’t understand what was meant back then.

Deena Martin, daughter of original artist Dean Martin, spoke out about the change. “It’s a piece of art…. to change an innocent lyrics, that’s what it is, ‘your mind and your body?’ What the hell are you on? That’s ridiculous.” She said at the ‘The Talk’ show, after the modern version of the song was released. But beside criticism the song also got a lot of support on social media. People think it’s a new and good step in the for instance #metoo movement and find it delightful. 

My generation stands for equality, diversity and acceptance.

Me being a 19-year-old student, people will probably expect that I’d fully support these actions.  My generation stands for equality, diversity and acceptance. I also stand for these topics for 100 percent, but in a different way. I believe that being a feminist stands for finding a man and woman equal and dare to speak that out in certain situations (either in public or personal situations).  Taking the song lyrics as an example, I agree with the fact that Some things that are being said don’t fit in our society anymore and are often racist or denigrating. But changing a traditional song is crossing a boundary in my eyes. Is that making me less progressive or feminist?

So, why do we keep looking back in the past and think why something was made and wanting to change it, instead of using it as an example on what we’re trying to avoid. Artist these days have more power than ever to spread a message. Music, arts and books are being more seen, because of the use of social media. They’re able to start New movements and create more awareness. We will never be able to change the past, I’d say: let’s focus on creating our own new modern accepted art.