Happy holidays, y'all. This is...I think I should admit...my second favorite time of year. Largely because of how it tends to bring out the good in people. I love seeing the warmth and smiles and consideration that people show one another. It warms the cockles of my black-black heart. Yes. I know that it's awful that humanity doesn't seem to catch a clue that we can create room for our inner light all year round, but at least we have this time, no matter how short. And that's why I'm repulsed by efforts to make it less than that. This world doesn't suffer from a surplus of love, joy, and light. One month a year isn't too much to ask, for fuck's sake. But is everything associated with this time of year perfect and beyond reproach? Fuck no. It's important to see things as they are--even the flawed things we love. If we're aware of the flaws, we're less likely to cause harm to others. No one is saying ditch the happy memories or that you're a terrible person for liking something problematic. If they are, they're probably hypocrits. Our entertainment is definitely fraught with flaws because the human beings that create them are flawed.
And that brings us to an argument I had with a friend of mine about the song Baby It's Cold Outside.
Do me a favor, regardless of your feelings on the matter, watch that video before we continue. That is the original version of the song which was taken from the movie Neptune's Daughter. The plot of this film is (from IMDB): "Scatterbrained Betty Barrett mistakes masseur Jack Spratt for Jose O'Rourke, the captain of the South American polo team. Spratt goes along with the charade, but the situation becomes more complicated when they fall in love. Meanwhile, Betty's sensible older sister Eve fears Betty's heart will be broken when Jose returns to South America. She arranges to meet with the real O'Rourke and love soon blossoms between them as well." For the record, Ricardo Montalban is the José O'Rourke that Eve is attempting to protect her sister from. O'Rourke is a known womanizer. Okay. Now we have the full context for the song and can move forward with the discussion.
Remember: context is important.
First, can we agree that women are grown-ass adults with adult mental capacities and the freedom to choose how to run their lives? Can we agree that they are equals to other genders? Okay. If so, we can continue. If not, you're not going to like a word of what I'm going to say and there's no point in continuing.
Okay, everyone else, let's start with NO MEANS NO. Consent is vital in matters of sex between respectful adults. If you don't have consent, can't get consent, and you feel the need to coerce someone into bed...you're in rape territory. The End. There is no finagling around this. It isn't a grey area. Don't kid yourself. Any other stance is either due to internalized rape-culture (which affects all genders,) or if you're unwilling to admit to having internalized it, then you're actually a person with rapist tendancies. In the first case, (that of internalized rape-culture) this isn't a reflection upon you personally. That embarrassment you feel is the Universe slapping you with a fresh education. We all feel stupid at first. No sweat. You flunked the pop quiz. It isn't a permanent mark on your record, unless you refuse to learn the lesson. In the second case, you need serious help. So, let's assume you aren't a rape-y person. Let's assume you've internalized some misogyny. That's easy. We all have, regardless of gender. The only way we stop this kind of shit is by becoming aware of it and stopping with furthering the internalization of rape-culture in others.
Please note: I'm not suggesting that we burn this song in a giant bonfire and vilify everyone who claims to love it. I'm suggesting that we learn something from it. This is a very different thing.
Now, observe the first woman's body language. Watch her face. Look closely at her actions. Also, note that she never sips the drink he's practially forcing upon her. When she asks "What's in this drink?" she's not commenting upon how strong it is or isn't. She's clearly wondering why he's pushing so hard for her to drink it. Why do I use the word "clearly"? We know via the plot that she's aware that he is a womanizer. She doesn't trust him. She's only there to protect her sister from him--to tell him to push off. Slipping drugs into women's drinks in order to have sex with them when you know they wouldn't normally do so isn't a newly invented idea. It's been around a very long time. The year is 1949. Trust me. They might not have called it a roofie, but your grandparents damned well understood the concept. And so does she.
Second, everything isn't made okay because she eventually decides to fall in love with him even though the movie tries to make us think so. This is the 'good women can't take responsibility for their sexual desires, and therefore, use the "alcohol made me do it" excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway' routine. This is victim blaming, and is the basis for every awful defence against rape charges ever thrown at a rape victim. Please stop now and re-read the paragraph on consent. Either a woman is a grown-ass adult with the power to choose who she wishes to sleep with and who she doesn't, or she's an infant-object who doesn't know what she wants. (In which case, we can talk about pedaphilia and how gross that is.) There is no grey area here. Do women internalize rape-culture and act accordingly? Fuck yes, they do. That is still no excuse.
Okay. I hope I made it clear that it's okay to like that song and do whatever mental gymnastics you need to do to continue to be okay with it. Happy memories are happy memories. I'm not into harshing on people's happy. I only ask that you understand that the song is, in fact, problematic, and that you are undergoing mental gymnastics to make it okay. This is pop-quiz level stuff. You can still enjoy the subject of the pop-quiz for whatever your reasons are. We do this all the time with literature. Just do so like an adult. Look at the whole. For example, alcohol isn't 100% a good thing--for some, it's more problematic and dangerous than it is for others. Denying that fact makes it worse for those who are harmed. Adults can accept that and still enjoy alcohol responsibly. Can't we? It doesn't make people who drink terrible people and neither does liking problematic things.
 Do not get me started on the Krampus craze. Oh, okay. I'll go there. I see it as more authoritarianism making it's way into main stream. "Be good, or else!!" is never a good position to take. And while we're at it? The elf on a shelf thing creeps me the fuck out too. "Hey, kiddies! Get used to the surviellance state early! It's fun!" Yeah. Fuck that. This is the reason why I won't watch Christmas themed horror films. Fuck that too. Yes. I adore The Nightmare Before Christmas and isn't that dark? Sure. But it's a playful perky goth dark. It doesn't take away from the charm of the holidays. In fact, the moral of the story is that we need a positive holiday season sans the darkness. Without it, Halloween isn't nearly as much fun. I know people will disagree with me. And that's fine. But include me out.
 Also, read some damned Dickens already. We need to stop vilifying those in need. No, misers are not cool. They're evil and do a great deal of harm. Can we please take that to heart now?
 Marrying your rapist doesn't remove the crime. It takes the relationship from a single instance of rape and straight into a lifetime of abuse. Isn't that romantic?
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.