A singing group at Princeton University has removed a Little Mermaid song from its repertoire amid recent concerns that it promotes misogyny and “toxic masculinity.”
The Princeton A capella group Tigertones has decided to cut its rendition of the Little Mermaid song “Kiss the Girl” after one student took offense to it and scrutinized the group in an op-ed, accusing them of performing “an offensive violating ritual” that allegedly promotes a non-consensual kiss.
“The premise of the song,” wrote the concerned student, Noa Wollstein, “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.”
The student added that the song is still “clearly problematic,” even though “an evil sea-witch cursed Ariel’s voice away, making verbal consent impossible” in the Disney film.
“The song launches a heteronormative attack on women’s right to oppose the romantic and sexual liberties taken by men,” adding that the performance overwhelms the audience with “themes of toxic masculinity,” which can “catalyze violent tendencies toward, and assault against, women.”
Wollstein went on to express her discomfort in witnessing the group’s performance, explaining that during the song’s rendition, the Tigertones call one male and one female audience member up on stage to join them.
“They then proceed to sing and dance with the ‘volunteers,’ who are often pressured to join the singers by their friends’ cheers — and attempt to goad the oft-reluctant pair into kissing,” wrote Wollstein.
“The fervor with which the all-male Tones press the man to kiss the female subject eerily amplifies the song’s assertions of toxic masculinity.”
The student concluded her piece by demanding the Tigertones “stop singing this song — now,” a demand to which the A capella group complied.
The group issued an apology for their lighthearted rendition, admitting that it “advocates for a peck on the cheek,” thus, affirming that the song would be removed.
“Because of these concerns, we are removing ‘Kiss the Girl’ from our active repertoire” said Tigertones president Wesley Brown in a statement published to the university’s student newspaper, “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.”