‘Baby it’s cold outside‘ is one of my fave Christmas songs. Perhaps this is why, until 2018, I had no idea of its problematic connotations. Critics are arguing that the song normalises rape culture. I completely disagreed the first time I heard this theory, but after a few more listens, you can’t unhear lines like “what’s in this drink?” and “I ought to say no, no, no”. And the blatant fact the man (or Lady Gaga in this version) won’t take no for an answer. Regardless of what you think of this, it still remains in my top five favourite Christmas songs. Which got me thinking about all the other ‘problematic’ things I love…
Time and time again on Romesh Ranganathan’s Hip Hop Saved My Life podcast do guests cite the misogyny of hip hop as one thing they hate. And I agree with them completely, but it doesn’t stop me from listening to over 500 hours of it in 2018. Do I object to how women are continuously called bitches, hoes, thots, skanks, etc? Yes. Do I still listen to it? Yes.
For me, Nicki is the undisputed queen of rap. But she’s not without her flaws. She’s had beef with more artists than I can remember, she uses homophobic slurs, and she’s associated with artists who have been convicted of violent offences. People are so quick to attack her on this (partly because she’s a woman, obvs) but as a rapper there’s no one of her calibre with as much variety or quick-witted lyrics, and she will always be one of my favourite artists.
THE BEST CHRISTMAS FILM EVER. I recently read an article outlining all the issues with it, and I have to admit, I agree with them all. Before reading it, the only problem I had was with ALAN RICKMAN GIVING THAT NECKLACE TO THE BITCH FROM THE OFFICE. But it turns out it’s actually full of problems, including being sizeist and anti-feminist. People argue that Emma Thompson forgiving Alan Rickman at the end is bad, but Beyonce forgave Jay-Z for the whole “Becky with the good hair” fiasco, so I’m going to ignore that part. It’s still a staple of my Christmas watchlist though, and it won’t be coming off any time soon. Especially now it’s on Netflix.
There have been so many issues with the Kardashian/Jenner clan over the years. From the Pepsi ad to Kim’s braids, and the whole ‘Kardashian effect’ craze which sees women getting lots of face fillers/plastic surgery in order to look like their fave (and sometimes appropriating black culture), they have more issues than Vogue – a magazine they regularly grace the cover of. All this aside, I’m way too emotionally invested in their family. I love the drama, I love how they look, and I love how trashy it is. If Kris Jenner taught a business class I would 100% sign up, because that woman knows how to create a whole empire.
Stylish and easy to keep clean, but really not a goer if you follow a vegan diet. (Check out what trainers vegans can wear here). For a while I got round this by only buying second hand trainers (so as not to add to the demand and give them a new home) but it doesn’t really make sense for me to preach about dairy being scary and then wearing a cow’s skin on my feet.
I ate McDonald’s twice this weekend which is Very Bad for lots of reasons. They are one of the worst food chains when it comes to meat production, deforestation, and the huge amount of salt in all the food. I order vegan at McDonald’s – veggie deluxe with no mayo and extra gherkins, chips, and apple pie – but there’s no denying they kill shitloads of cows each year and I probs shouldn’t be funding it. (Because I’m vegan. In case you didn’t know. I don’t really bang on about it much.)
Friends/Sex and the City
These absolute faves are more riddled with problematic storylines than Samantha would be with STIs if SATC was real life. But they were made in the 90s, an era before fake news, superfast broadband and Brexit. They’re very much “of their time”, so if you wanna spend your Sundays binging on them, do so without Woke-Millennial guilt. (Nothing excuses that SATC 2 film though. Samantha half-naked acting out sex positions in front of a group of enraged Islamic men in the UAE? Ridiculing women in niqab? Who signed that off as okay in 2010?! Rushdie got a fatwa issued against him for much less…).
Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments what your problematic faves are.