The conversation surrounding consent on college campuses has been reignited in recent months, spurred by both the #MeToo movement and reports of sexual harassment and assault. Now, the Princeton University Tigertones, an all-male a cappella group, have decided to stop performing “Kiss the Girl” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid after one of their audience participation traditions came under fire for “toxic masculinity.”
Wesley Brown, the president of the Tigertones, announced the group’s decision in a November 30th letter published in the student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian. He noted that the group traditionally brings one male and one female audience member onstage during the song, encouraging them to kiss. And while Brown wrote that the Tigertones had tried to make the audience participation “more voluntary and consensual,” he acknowledged that it was not enough.
Brown went on to write that the group would stop singing the tune “until we can arrive at a way to perform it that is comfortable and enjoyable for every member of our audience.”
Concerns over the way the Tigertones performed the song surfaced in a November 26th column for The Daily Princetonian. In it, columnist Noa Wollstein wrote that the tradition frequently results in awkwardness for the “volunteers.”
Wollstein also pointed out that, in the movie, when Sebastian encourages Eric to kiss Ariel through song, she has no voice to say yes or no, making the song “clearly problematic from the get-go.”
It’s important to prioritize consent in any romantic or sexual interaction, and sometimes that means taking a hard look at beloved movies in pop culture. What are your thoughts on the “Kiss the Girl” ban?