When Hollywood Men Spanked Women

Values and mores were greatly different in years long gone.

Christmas song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” has become a controversial song. And with this latest anger at American culture, it’s an interesting time to look back at how Hollywood used to portray relationships between men and women, including how it used to have men spank women in movies.

In case you haven’t heard, some people are rewriting the lyrics to “Baby It’s Cold Outside” to make the song more consensual … or something like that. Okay. But if that innocuous song now offends a sizable portion of the nation, then there is going to be mass hysteria if America ever rediscovers Golden Age Hollywood.

One of the first things I thought of when I heard about the indignation over the Christmas song was the movie version of Gone With the Wind. In particular, I thought about the following scene where Rhett picks up Scarlett for a night with him.

Cue outrage.

As my thoughts progressed I recalled a scene from The Silencers. Dean Martin’s character literally rips the clothes off Stella Steven’s character after he suspects her of being a spy.

After that I thought about The Black Swan with Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara. Watch the two scenes below.

(Spoiler alert for this 70+-year-old movie: At the end of the film, O’Hara’s character professes her love for Power’s character.)

And then I thought about how Hollywood used to like portraying men spanking women. I don’t know how often this occurred, but it was done enough that someone created a montage of various scenes with it happening.

The ones I specifically remembered were done by John Wayne, the definitive American movie star. Watch the two clips below. The first one is from McLintock! where he spanks Maureen O’Hara. The second clip comes from Donovan’s Reef where he spanks Elizabeth Allen.

People today would be apoplectic if they still watched such films. And they’d need medical assistance if they knew Wayne was around 56-years-old while Allen was only around 34 when the Donovan’s Reef spanking and make-out session occurred.

A movie sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey is coming soon. So at first glance it seems odd that Americans are infatuated with that series even as they decry “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and ancient American culture.

But then you remember how modern society rationalizes things: Fifty Shades supposedly is consensual; “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and old Hollywood spankings supposedly weren’t.

Actually, I guess it doesn’t make things seem any less odd; it just explains why they are.