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'Baby, It's Cold Outside' and Consent (Read time: 2.5 min)

‘Baby, it’s cold outside...’ The lyrics of this #frankloesser song have been described as problematic by many and the @cbc pulled it. After feedback from listeners, the song was returned to rotation.

I am not posting this to state whether the lyrics are OK, if they are being misinterpreted, or what the right decision was. I am posting to provoke thought and reflection that we need to challenge ourselves always to ensure safety for all.

This debate highlights an important conversation that is occurring more of late about #consent and #coercion in relationships.

The topic of consent is timely with #metoo creating awareness of how society needs to better promote equity & equality.

Interestingly, some are opining concern for the ‘safety of their sons being accused falsely’ in the dating world with #metoo gaining momentum. I find this interesting and highlights the need for consent education across society.

If we are ethically asking for, giving, and receiving consent with our intimate partners, then there would be no need for such fear.

When it comes to consent, here is an acronym to think of - #FRIES, which stands for:

1. Freely given. Doing something with someone is a decision that should be made without pressure, manipulation, or while under the influence of substances.

2. Reversible. Anyone can change their mind at anytime, even if previously consented or during any act.

3. Informed. Be honest and follow through with exactly what was stated.

4. Enthusiastic. If someone isn’t excited or really into what you’re asking, it’s not consent. I guess so, is not consent.

5. Specific. Saying yes to one thing is not saying yes to anything else.

We should question past ideals and behaviours consistently in society and not be complacent. This conflict provides a backdrop to begin doing just that. Is not hearing this song detrimental to people’s lives that it ‘must’ be reinstated?

For example, it wasn’t until 1987 that homosexuality was removed from the DSM as a mental disorder. Times change. Nostalgia is not a good enough reason to not have discussions that validate concerns instead of acting outraged by them.

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