Open any news site and you’ll find another piece of art under the microscope, and lately we’re seeing a lot of songs (and movies, and cartoons, etc…) – many which are lifelong favorites – pointed out as problematic. Is it justified? Is it outrage culture gone too far?
The debate about “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” certainly isn’t new. It’s been called a “rape anthem” for some time. This year, we’re seeing more arguments in favor of keeping the song, as, in historical context, it’s actually a story of female empowerment.
A little closer to home, the Princeton Tigertones recently made national news for deciding to remove “Kiss the Girl” from their set list after a student journalist called out the song for “toxic masculinity.”
The original song was sung by a crab, on behalf of a mermaid princess who was in pursuit of the prince being encouraged to kiss her. It’s not only fictional, it’s animated fantasy. However, the journalist, Noa Wollstein, may have a point – not with the song itself, but with the way it was performed. In the Tigertones’ performance, they would bring up a female audience member and attempt to end the song with an unsolicited kiss.
We’re not here to make a decision for you, but here are the conversations for consideration we see:
- Should art be stopped if it makes someone uncomfortable? Is there a gradient?
- Can we pick and choose which topics are are ok or not ok? Can we continue to sing about suicide, guns, sex, and other topics?
- Have we gone too far? Not far enough?
- Is intent important? Does it bear any weight in the appropriateness of a song?
- Does presentation matter? What about context?