An all-male a cappella group at Princeton University will no longer sing a well-know Disney song because some students believe that the entire performance is “uncomfortable.”
The Princeton Tigertones performed its rendition of “Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid , during which the group would invite a female member from the audience and “playfully dance with her for a bit,” according to Inside Higher Ed. As the song reaches its end, the group would select a man from the audience, bring the two people together and then, as the song suggests, the Tigerstones would ask the man and the woman to kiss.
“The couple will comply, sometimes on with a peck on the cheek, sometimes briefly on the lips,” reported Inside Hugher Ed.
The group’s performance is harmless and fun, however, sophomore Noa Wollstein and other modern feminists disagreed.
Wollstein wrote an opinion article for the Daily Princetonian, claiming that the song “is more misogynistic and dismissive of consent than cute,” asking the a cappella group to stop singing the song altogether.
“Its lyrics raise some serious issues. The premise of the song, originally sung in the Disney film The Little Mermaid, is that the male Prince Eric, on a date with the beautiful female Ariel, should kiss her without asking for a single word to affirm her consent. Despite the fact that an evil sea-witch cursed Ariel’s voice away, making verbal consent impossible, the song is clearly problematic from the get-go,” Wollstein wrote.
Without the magic and the mermaids, the “message comes across as even more jarring,” according to Wollstein.
She says that the lyrics: “It’s possible she wants you too/There’s one way to ask her/It don’t take a word, not a single word/Go on and kiss the girl, kiss the girl” and “she won’t say a word/Until you kiss that girl,” are problematic, insisting that they “unambiguously encourage men to make physical advances on women without obtaining their clear consent.”
Ever since California introduced “affirmative consent” law, students like Wollstein have been mixing up “clear consent” with “verbal consent.” According to the law, the students need to follow some unnatural and awkward steps if they don’t want to face unnecessary consequences. Non-verbal consent is regarded as valid as well but, the students who fail to prove verbal consent are usually punished.
Furthermore, Wollstein claimed that “Kiss the Girl,” “launches a heteronormative attack on women’s right to oppose the romantic and sexual liberties taken by men” while promoting “toxic masculinity.”
Her claims are a far cry from what’s actually happening in the well-known Disney film. Ariel is the one who wants Eric to kiss her as she made a deal with Ursula to get him to do so, not the other way around. What’s more, no man has decided to approach a girl and kiss her because he heard the song when he was a child.
Wollstein also didn’t like that Tigertones invited people to kiss on stage. According to her, volunteers “are often pressured to join the singers by their friends’ cheers and the unrelenting appeals of a Tone,” adding that “unwilling girls being subjected to their first kisses.”
Despite the absurdity of her complaints, the a cappella group obliged.
“Our group is always striving to impart joy and positivity through our music, and we take very seriously any indication that we fall short of this goal. For that reason, we want to make sure that all audience members feel encouraged to reach out to the group and initiate a dialogue if they ever feel that any aspect of our show is upsetting or offensive. Our repertoire, traditions, and group as a whole are constantly evolving, and thus we value this opportunity to ensure a more comfortable performance environment moving forward,” said Wesley Brown, president of the Tigertones.