If you grew up watching Disney, then you understand just how amazing it felt to watch Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human, discover the world above the sea and fall in love with the ever so handsome Prince Eric.
The Little Mermaid not only gave us a chance to get lost in a story that is very different from all the other Disney princess movies, it produced one of the best soundtracks.
With hits like "Under the Sea" and "Part of Your World," the album achieved multi-platinum status and even won a Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children.
Since its 1989 release, we have all been jamming out to the original version and covers of the songs, but it looks like that is soon about to change.
This week, one of the popular tunes from the hit soundtrack has been called into question over claims that it contains misogynistic themes.
"Kiss the Girl," the calypso ballad sung by Sebastian the crab in the movie, has recently been pulled out of an all-men's a capella group's repertoire after people pointed out concerns about consent.
In the film, Sebastian belts out the tune to encourage the prince to kiss Ariel.
“My oh my / Look like the boy too shy / Ain’t gonna kiss the girl./“Ain’t that sad? / It’s such a shame / Too bad / You’re gonna miss the girl.”
The Princeton Tigertones had been performing the song for years, but a student newspaper recently published a piece in which they argued that the tradition of singing the song while encouraging two audience members ( a male and a female) to kiss each other on stage promotes "toxic masculinity."
The column's author Noa Wollstein explained that in addition to the song's misogynistic message, women have frequently been forced to go onstage and participate in an uncomfortable encounter.
"I have heard of unwilling girls being subjected to their first kisses," Wollstein wrote. "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."
She added that the lyrics "ambiguously encourage men to make physical advances on women without obtaining their clear consent," noting that once the "mermaids, magic, and PG ratings" are removed, the film and song's message "comes across as even more jarring."
The Tingertones president Wesley Brown has since issued and apology on behalf of the group and confirmed that they would cut the track out of their lineup until they come up with a better way to perform it without making the audience feel offended.
“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 said.
He came to the group's defense by explaining that in the last few years the group has "taken intentional steps towards ensuring that audience participation is more voluntary and consensual."
Christmas song controversy
The controversy over the "Kiss the Girl" lyrics come on the heels of radio stations in the United States and Canada putting a ban on the Christmas classic "Baby It's Cold Outside."
According to Cleveland's Star 102 WDOK-FM, who were the first to stop playing the song, listeners complained that the lyrics are inappropriate. They added that the song feel "manipulative and wrong," especially in the light of the #MeToo movement.
"People might say, ‘oh, enough with that #MeToo,’ but if you really put that aside and listen to the lyrics, it’s not something I would want my daughter to be in that kind of a situation," midday host Desiray told Cleveland’s Fox 8. “The tune might be catchy, but let’s maybe not promote that sort of an idea."