THE COMPLICATED, CONTROVERSIAL HISTORY OF “BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE”

Once a piece of art is released into the world, people are free to debate its meaning and merits until the end of time. This is especially true if the work in question is a holiday song that pops back into the public consciousness each December. If the song is “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”—a ’40s-era American standard that some modern listeners hear as a misogynistic depiction of sexual misconduct—it’s cause for an annual barrage of controversies, radio bans, and think pieces.

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