An all-male a cappella group at a prestigious university will no longer sing one well-known Disney song because some audience members — and one sophomore who wrote an article about it for the student newspaper — found it to be “uncomfortable.”
Of course, this is all happening at an Ivy League college: Princeton University.
One of the school’s all-male a cappella groups, the Princeton Tigertones, will no longer perform its popular rendition of “Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid after the complaints. During their performance, the group invites a woman from the audience to join them as they sing and “playfully dance with her for a bit,” according to Inside Higher Ed. As the song reaches a close, the group invites a male audience member, pretend to groom him, and then put the two together, asking that they kiss, as the song suggests. The random couple complies, “sometimes on with a peck on the cheek, sometimes briefly on the lips,” Inside Higher Ed reported.
The entire scene is harmless and done in good fun, which of course does not sit well with the modern outrage crowd.
On November 26, sophomore Noa Wollstein wrote an opinion article for the Daily Princetonian asking the Tigertones to stop singing the song because it “is more misogynistic and dismissive of consent than cute.”
“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.
She claims that if you take away the mermaids and the magic, the “message comes across as even more jarring.” She cites 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,” as problematic. These lyrics, she insists, “unambiguously encourage men to make physical advances on women without obtaining their clear consent.”
Wollstein conflates “clear consent” with “verbal consent,” something that has been happening on college campuses since California introduced its absurd “affirmative consent” law, which essentially defines all sex as rape unless an awkward and unnatural set of steps are followed. Even though the law ensures that non-verbal consent is valid, in practice, students who can’t prove verbal consent (or who are accused of not obtaining affirmative consent) are punished.
Wollstein wasn’t done criticizing “Kiss the Girl," insisting this song “launches a heteronormative attack on women’s right to oppose the romantic and sexual liberties taken by men” and promotes “toxic masculinity,” all phrases modern “feminists” use after taking an Outrage Studies class.
There is no indication that Ariel didn’t want Eric to kiss her — just the opposite, in fact. No one hears this song without thinking about the movie and the context involved. A few points about this scenario:
1. This is a Disney movie, people.
2. It is abundantly clear that Ariel DID want the kiss because she loved Eric and had a contract with Ursula to get him to kiss her.
3. No man, ever, has thought he could walk up to strange women and kiss her because he heard this song in a cartoon when he was a child.
Wollstein implored the Tigertones to drop the song, not just because of the lyrics, but because the group invited volunteers to kiss on stage. Wollstein claimed the volunteers “are often pressured to join the singers by their friends’ cheers and the unrelenting appeals of a Tone.” She claims to have seen “a queer student” forced to “push away” the male participant and heard that “unwilling girls being subjected to their first kisses.”
Because one can’t guarantee that the audience participants don’t view a simple peck as a debilitating sexual assault, Wollstein wanted the performance canceled.
Here’s the kicker: The Tigertones 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,” said Wesley Brown, president of the Tigertones, wrote to the Princetonian. “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.”