An all-male a cappella group from Princeton University is ending one of its tradition. The Princeton Tigertones group has pulled a rendition of “Kiss a Girl” from “The Little Mermaid” from their active repertoire after a student newspaper column suggested that it promotes “toxic masculinity.”
During the performance of the Disney classic, the group brought a random man and woman on stage before encouraging them to “do as the song says” and give each other a kiss on the cheek. In her column, Noa Wollstein expressed her concern as she thought that the song is sending the wrong message. In addition to that, she noted that too many women had been pulled on stage for unwanted encounters.
“The song launches a heteronormative attack on women’s right to oppose the romantic and sexual liberties taken by men, further inundating the listeners with themes of toxic masculinity,” she wrote, before explaining how she had witnessed many homosexual students being forced to kiss her male companion and “unwilling girls being subjected to their first kisses.”
She continued, “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. The absense of opportunity for the chosen women to protest at a Tigertones show mimics the song’s acceptance of the woman’s lack of consent to being kissed.”
In response to the column, Wesley Brown, the president of Tigertones, apologized to anyone made uncomfortable by the tradition. He also noted that the group would be taking song out its repertoire until they could figure out a way to make it “comfortable and enjoyable” for the audience.
“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,” he wrote in a statement. “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.”
In “The Little Mermaid”, the song was sung by Sebastian the crab as he encouraged Prince Eric to kiss Ariel, who couldn’t talk because she traded her voice in order to become human for him.
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