Marianne Kirby at XOJane negatively critiques the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from a feminist perspective, responding to this positive critique at Persephone Magazine.
So, in the case of the Persephone Magazine piece, I know that “What’s in this drink?” was a common rhetorical question people asked to sort of blur their own responsibility for actions they wanted to take but that weren’t considered proper. But I also know that “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was produced by a culture with a really specifically gendered power dynamic. The culture doesn’t excuse the line. The line reveals something about the culture.
Both responses to the song are thoughtful and worth reading. Personally, I’ve always (where by “always” I mean “since I was old enough to think about such things”) thought that “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was pretty rape-y, which is why my favorite version is this playful one by Over the Rhine, who are happily married.