A male a capella group at Princeton University removed a song from the Disney cartoon movie The Little Mermaid after the song selection was criticized by a student newspaper writer. The group, the Tigertones, will no longer sing the song, “Kiss the Girl,” from the 1989 cartoon film, according to Campus Reform.
A female columnist, Noa Wollstein, write an opinion editorial blasting the decision to sing that specific song. Part of Wollstein’s criticism was an allegation that the song was misogynistic.
Wollstein began her piece, stating, “Even when gently crooned by an animated crab, the song “Kiss The Girl,” from the Disney hit “The Little Mermaid,” is more misogynistic and dismissive of consent than cute.” She added, “By performing the song multiple times each semester, the Tigertones elevate it to an offensive and violating ritual.”
Continuing the consent criticism, Wollstein said, “the song is clearly problematic from the get-go” because it encourages a male to make “ambiguous physical advances” on a female without obtaining consent to do so.
A part of the TigerTones performance is inviting a male audience member and a female audience member to kiss in front of the crowd, which became another part of Wollstein’s criticism:
“The singers reinforce the heteronormativity reflected in the words of the song by selecting one male and one female audience participant. 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 absence of opportunity for the chosen woman to protest at a Tigertones show mimics the song’s acceptance of the woman’s lack of consent to being kissed.”
Wollstein claimed that the song is an example of “heteronormativity,” or in other words, it is too focused on heterosexual relationships. She said one queer participant was uncomfortable when called on, and how other girls did not want to participate when called on because it would be their first kiss. Wollstein called for the song selection to change and to remove the Disney song at the end of the editorial.
Because of the opinion editorial, the student a capella group removed the song from its lineup four days after the editorial ran. The group’s president, Wesley Brown, wrote a letter to the editor to announce the decision, saying that the song won’t be sung “until we can arrive at a way to perform it that is comfortable and enjoyable for every member of our audience.” Brown apologized for the song selection, “We sincerely apologize to any of our past participants and audience members for whom our performance of this song was uncomfortable or offensive.”