A male a cappella group at Princeton University is scrapping its tradition of performing “Kiss the Girl” from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” after students complained it violates consent.
Wesley Brown, president of The Princeton Tigertones, announced the group would stop its tradition of singing “Kiss the Girl” after student newspaper The Daily Princetonian published an editorial calling it an “offensive and violating ritual.”
“We sincerely apologize to any of our past participants and audience members for whom our performance of this song was uncomfortable or offensive,” Mr. Brown wrote in an op-ed last week. “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. We hope to continue fostering an open dialogue with our audiences both on and off Princeton’s campus.”
An editorial titled, “Dear Tigertones, please stop singing ‘Kiss The Girl,'” published by The Daily Princetonian last month argued that the song “unambiguously” encourages men to make physical advances on women without their consent.
“The song launches a heteronormative attack on women’s right to oppose the romantic and sexual liberties taken by men, further inundating the listener with themes of toxic masculinity,” wrote The Daily Princetonian’s Noa Wollstein, Inside Higher Ed reported Monday.
Part of the Tigertones’s performance included choosing a female and a male member of the audience and encouraging them to dance together, then requesting that they “do as the song says” before then suggesting a peck on the cheek.
Ms. Wollstein argued that the performance forced participants into uncomfortable situations. The Tigertones president agreed, saying the group has been reconsidering the performance “for some time.”
“In the last few years, we have taken intentional steps towards ensuring that audience participation is more voluntary and consensual,” Mr. Brown wrote. “These steps have clearly not succeeded in guaranteeing total comfort for both participants or in obtaining continual consent. 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.”
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