Op-ed called it an 'offensive and violating ritual'
A Princeton University a capella group will no longer perform a well-known song from the Disney classic "The Little Mermaid," responding to backlash about the song's lyrics and the nature of their performance, according to The Washington Post.
The Princeton Tigertones used to perform the song "Kiss the Girl" every year, and during the performance they would pull a man and a woman from the audience to dance onstage and kiss at the end.
"By performing the song multiple times each semester, the Tigertones elevate it to an offensive and violating ritual," student Noa Wollstein wrote in the school newspaper. Wollstein called the performance "more misogynistic and dismissive of consent than cute."
Questionable lyrics? The song features the character Sebastian, a crab, encouraging Prince Eric to kiss Ariel so she won't turn back into a Mermaid. Ariel gave up her voice in order to become human, so she can't speak.
"Yes you want her, look at her, you know you do. It's possible she wants you too. There is one way to ask her, it don't take a word. Not a single word. Go on and kiss the girl."
What's the backlash? Opponents of the song cite issues with consent both within the song lyrics, which encourage a man to kiss a woman who can't speak to offer informed consent, and with the performance, which has reportedly created some uncomfortable moments in the past between the male and female selected to dance and kiss on stage.
"I have seen a queer student brought on stage have to uncomfortably push away her forced male companion," Wollstein wrote. "I have heard of unwilling girls being subjected to their first kisses. I have watched mothers, who have come to see their child's performance, be pulled up to the stage only to have tension generated between them and the kid they came to support."
What did the group say? Wesley Brown, president of the Tigertones, said "until we can arrive at a way to perform it that is comfortable and enjoyable for every member of our audience" the song would no longer be performed.
"Performances of this song have made participants uncomfortable and offended audience members, an outcome which is antithetical to our group's mission and one that we deeply regret," Brown wrote in a letter to the editor published in The Daily Princetonian.