Ulla Lipponen. Helsinki

The notebook tradition of Finnish girls changed fundamentally as the 1980s approached in terms of both content and those who used them. The older memory albums of schoolgirls, which have been known in Finland since the 1870s, contained instructional, religious, patriotic and humorous verses written by classmates, teachers and family members. Beautiful scrap picture decorations were also an important part of the albums1 (see Lipponen 1992 a, b; Penttinen 1971, 1983).

The memory album tradition began to die out in the 1950s and 1960s (Virtanen 1988,287), and within a couple of decades they were replaced by a new genre, the poetry notebook. Here I examine the intensive collection practices often- to fifteen-year-old girls today.2 The poetry notebooks of three girls from Helsinki from the start of the 1980s form the basis of my presentation.


The poetry notebook tradition can be characterized as part of the so-called "own room" culture of girls. This apt term originated from British research of the 1970s. At that time female researchers of youth culture began to look for girls' culture which was not visible on the streets, which was "in hiding", and found it from the intimate sphere of the girls' own bedrooms: a space filled with daydreams, make-up and teenage pop-music albums (Näre & Lähteenmaa 1992, 9).

Scandinavian research on girls' culture begun in the 1980s perceived the same phenomenon, that is, the world of girls' intensive friendships, of which day dreams and fantasies about boys form a central element (Näre & Lähteenmaa 1992, 9-10; Topo 1988, 52; Mc Robbie & Garber 1986, 213; Carter 1984, 187; Drotner 1986, 11; Koske 1988; compare also Anttila 1994; Tahvanainen 1993; Aapola 1992). The love fantasies of Finnish girls have found concrete expression in poetry notebooks. The "notebook craze" as one girl put it, becomes timely in that period when childhood identity begins to decline and girls' interests become directed towards youth, with its expectations of falling in love, dating relationships and possibly, within a few years, starting a sex life.3

The poetry notebook is a collection notebook. It is filled with short texts and poems received from girlfriends which are transmitted from notebook to notebook, just as the memory verses were earlier.4 The titles of the notebooks in fact refer to boys and fantasies, for example "Love poems", as do the romantically sentimental illustrations: hearts of different sizes and colors, the silhouettes of two lovers against a setting sun, the trace of a kiss on a blushing cheek. The impression of blissful happiness created by the notebook's appearance is often deceiving, however, since the sentimental illustrations, textual contents and tone may seriously contradict each other. The girls I interviewed also recognized this contrast. They characterized their poems as wonderful (ihania), emotional (tunteikkaitd), gloomy (synkeitä), funny (veikeitä), nonsensical (hömpsäkoitä), awful (hirveitä), obscene (härskejä). In the discussion following I will attempt to examine the contents of this "wonderfulness", "awfulness" and "obscenity" more closely.

Using the two central themes of the poetry notebook tradition: the romantically-colored experience of falling in love and physical sex, I focus on the question of how the genders and relations between the genders are constructed in the texts.5 The division between the semantic fields of romance and sex is justifiable, since in both the interviews with the girls and the texts themselves the idea of "love" (that is, feelings, the longing for emotional gratification, kissing and hugging) is clearly separated from physical sexual relations (petting, intercourse, and the birth control associated with it, pregnancy and sexual diseases).6 Within the framework of appearance and behavior stereotypes which determine gender, as well as norms of morality which limit the activity of the role-occupier, it is possible to identify the cultural models through which social gender is renewed.

The theme of love and romance runs through the poetry.7 Each notebook in my material contains love poetry. The texts depict primarily the nature of love and the beloved-one as well as the girl's emotional experiences which are rich in nuance: these include perseverance in waiting, endless longing, the beauty of falling in love, as well as the inevitable pain of breaking up. For example:

 Great is the power of the sun, it removes snow from the ground. Still greater is the power of love, it removes sleep from one's eyes. - Suuri on voima auringon se viepi maasta lumen. Suurempi voima on rakkauden, se viepi silmästä unen. (RV1, 704)  
 I am a prisoner, but nonetheless free. I am a slave, but the happiest of slaves. 1 am a prisoner in the chains of love. 1 am the slave of blue eyes. - Olen vanki, mutt vapaa kuitenkin. Olen orja, mutt orjista onnellisin. Olen vankina kahleissa rakkauden. Olen orjana silmien sinisten. (RV II, 2605)  
 The cutest thing about you is your moustache, which isn't actually there. -Söpöintä sinussa ovat viiksesi. joita ei oikeastaan ole. (RV II, 2465)  
 Love is a hope, a dream, the stars, the moon and a kiss. - Rakkaus on tone, unelma, tähdet, kuu ja suudelma. (RV I, 1137, 867)  
 Oh why did I fall in love with you, why did I ever lay eyes on you, oh why did bitter memory remain in my heart! - Oi miksi sua rakastin, oi miksi sinut näin, oi miksi muisto katkera mun sydämeeni jäi! (RV I, 66 1b)  
 I believed, hoped, loved, you played, deceived, forgot. - Mind uskoin toivoin rakastin, sinä leikit, petit, unohdit. (RV I, 1138)  

The female subject of love poems is most of all an emotional activist, a true specialist.

The boy is described as the object of longing from afar, as a potential dating partner, as a sweet, childlike object of infatuation or as an actor with a goal in mind, as one who takes, owns, betrays or leaves the girl.

The attitude taken by the sexual poems towards a sex life can be characterized as objectively neutral, favourably curious or even enthusiastic.8 For example:

 Adam and Eve invented it. Sex, for the everlasting joy of the people. -Aatami ja Eeva sen keksi. Ihmisten iloksi ikuinen seksi. (RV II, 201 d)  

Active sexual poems describe, either explicitly or implicitly, the genital, heterosexual intercourse and petting.9 The poems emphasize in particular masculine dominance, initiative, determination and potence as well as the woman's passivity and compliance with the man's demands. For example:

 You went together to the movies - the boy treated. You went together for a soda - the boy treated. You went for a smoke together - the boy treated. You went home together - it was your turn to treat. -Menitte leffaan — poika tarjosi. Menitte limulle — poika tarjosi. Menitte röökille -poika tarjosi. Menitte himaan - oli sinun vuorosi tarjota. (RV I, 1133)  

Male stereotypes also emphasize the inexhaustibility of masculine potence and the man's desire for intercourse. For example:

 Boys are like golfballs, they run from hole to hole. -Pojat ovat kuin golfpalloja, juoksevat reijästä reikään. (LM400, 11 f)  


In both love poetry and sex poetry there are texts which limit activity through commands, prohibitions and warnings. This demand for self-control is directed toward only one gender, toward girls. Falling in love is regulated by norms of morality which require a girl to be absolutely faithful to one boy and to exhibit solidarity toward other girls.10For example:

 Love one, love two, even eleven will do, but one at a time, never two.- Rakasta yhtä, rakasta toista, rakasta vaikka yhtätoista, mutta yhtä kerrallaan, kahta älä milloinkaan. (UL.2832.1987)  
 Four words as hard as stone: Never make love with another's own. -Neljä sanaa kiven kovaa: Älä lemmi toisen omaa. (RVII, 138)  

Violating the norms of faithfulness is sanctioned by the loss of one's reputation. The girl is labelled as "loose". In the next example the letters of the word "huora" (whore) spell out11:

 She Forgets Her Own Beloved Always. - Hän Unohtaa Oman Rakkaansa Aina.  

In the sexual poetry, strict warnings and demands are directed towards the girl. The girl is responsible for how far one can go and on what terms. Since in those situations with sexual overtones described in the poetry the boy's desire for intercourse is taken for granted, the girl is required to control the boy's sexual activeness as well as the boundaries of her own compliance. For example:

 Never rush headlong into a boy's arms, for the boy can betray you. Rather, look and think and listen and only then kiss. - Älä suinpäin ryntää pojan syliin, sillä poika voi sinut pettää. Vaan katsele ja ajattele ja kuuntele ja sitten vasta suutele. (RV II, 65)  

Women's sexual activeness is generally not permitted in the poems. The girl who decides herself to initiate intercourse and even dares to evaluate the boy's sexual abilities is labelled a whore, one who has a bad reputation:

 I give for a mark but for a penny I won't. A penny is small and you know that. I'll give in the bed, but in the car I won't. A car is small and that you know. I'll give to others, but to you I won't. Yours is small and that you know. - Markalla annan pennillä en. Penni on pieni tiedäthän sen. Sängyssä annan, autossa en. Auto on pieni tiedäthän sen. Muille annan, sulle en. Sulla on pieni, tiedäthän sen. (RV II, 1986e)  

The sexual poetry also conveys information about the dangers of sexual relations as well as adds its possible negative consequences to the girl's burden of responsibility: these include unwanted pregnancy and sexual diseases. Birth control poems stress that it is precisely the girl who is at risk. The poems remind the girl that she will become pregnant, that she will give birth, and in the worst case, that she will have to care for the child alone.12 For example:

 Calm your desire, control your lust, since one night's lust can mean nine months' fat. - Hillitse halusi, hallitse himosi, sillä yhden yon ihannuus voi olla 9 kk'.n livavuus. (RVII, 1963f)  
 The child seeks the mother's breast, the mother seeks welfare aid, the welfare office seeks the child's father. -Lapsi hakee äidin nisää. Äiti hakee lapsilisää. Huoltoviranomaiset lapsen isää. (UL. 2830.1987)  

This moral obligation also concerns the girl's responsibility in contracting possible sexual diseases, primarily AIDS.13 For example:

 When you cuddle with a boy, don't let him lick, for in a time of disease one can die from a kiss. - Kun sä lemmit poikaa, älä anna nuolla, näin tautisena aikana voi suudelmiinkin kuolla. (RVI, 654b)  

The sexual poetry does not place any kind of moral obligations on men. In the following popular poem the man is not assumed to bear responsibility for the woman, for his child nor for any possible infection of sexual diseases.14 In the poems condoms are usually perceived to be the man's responsibility, but it is a birth control device which he rejects. For example:

 Sailor Ding Dong, goes to the land of Hong Kong, sees miss Tsing Tsong, pulls down his Kal Song, forgets his Kortong (Condom), is born little King Kong, Made in Hong Kong. -Merimies Ding Dong, Mennä maahan Hong Kong, Nähdä neiti Tsing Tsong, Vetää alas Kal Song, Unohtaa Kortong, Syntyi pikku King Kong, Made in Hong Kong. (RV II, 203 0a)  

The poems convey a hierachical model of male-female relations, in which the double standard is clear, and the girl is forced into normative control and thus her sexual activities are restricted: the girl bears the responsibility for her own body and reputation, and the boy satisfies his desires without any moral obligations.

Romance and sexual relations do not exactly go together in the poetry's world of the double standard. Descriptions of the experience of erotic pleasure are found only in a few idiosyncratic texts. A link between emotion and physical sex is forged by those poems which stress that sexuality is permissible for a girl only if she is in love. For example:

 Love is blue, love is red, love is something in the bed. (Original in English) (LM400, 8h)  

The poetry which unites love and sex tells that according to Finnish sexual morality, love legitimizes sex life. A girl who loves and dates steadily may agree with a sexual relationship without losing her reputation (for example Hukkila 1992, 66; Tirkkonen & Hukkila & Kontula 1989, 87-88; Vuori 1987; Helve 1988, 9).


The sexual-ideological model of female romantic love and the male double standard is a central, basic model through which the poetry renews traditional gender discourse (compare for example Lähteenmaa 1989, 33-35). In so far as girls, in their dating and sexual relationships, observe this model which subordinates women, they are forced to gird themselves with a tight, sexually restrictive corset which also keeps their reputation intact.15 Finnish women gave up corsets already in the 1960s. Can we see the same attempts at liberation in the poetry?

Those who study girls' culture have stressed the fact that the changes in the gender system which have taken place in Western industrial countries have had far-reaching consequences in the lives of girls (for example Näre & Lähteenmaa 1992, 11; Helve 1988, 10). The findings of sociological research are consistent with this, and have shown that the lives of girls are characterized by the conflict between the traditional female role and modem thinking concerning gender equality. Researchers have especially stressed that girls living in the midst of the change are not passive objects of socialization, but are active and creative. Within their own girls' culture, they shape the boundaries of their freedom. Although the socialization of girls still occurs primarily within the framework of the traditional female role as the poetry notebooks demonstrate, girls growing up under these conflicting pressures produce practices within their peer groups which they use to test the limits of the woman's role (for example Näre & Lähteenmaa 1992; Lipponen, 1990; Koske 1988,247; compare also Nenola 1993,21). The poetry notebook is namely a girls' tradition, and thus one of those cultural representations from which we can justifiably seek the weak points and fractures in the traditional female role.

Concepts of gender equality have penetrated the worldview of most Finns, at least on the level of opinions. In interviews, girls have demonstrated their awareness of their gender's unequal status, namely in dating relationships, and their readiness to question and dismantle the ideologies which limit their freedom (for example Vuori 1987, 37; Helve 1992, 253). My own informants clearly expressed having been annoyed with the double standard in which a girl is quickly labelled as being sexually too free. It is thus relevant to ask: are there any features visible from the poetry material which deconstruct traditional genre discourse?

The poetry shows that the traditional gender system has begun to falter. Points of weakness can be perceived in the gender roles in the areas of both romance and sexuality - particularly with regard to the role of the girl.


Within the framework of romance, the most eye-catching feature is humour, sometimes even acid humour, directed towards the experience of romantic love, the area which is clearly the girls' own. The following examples shed light on the issue:

 Love is like watery shit, you can't prevent it from coming. -Rakkaus on kuin veteld paska, sitä ei voi esfää tulemasfa. (RVI, 516)  
 Cow's shit in an alder grove, it is so fragrant. You, darling, beloved, are just the same. —Lehmän paska lepikossa, on niin tuoksuvainen. Sinä kulta, armas olet samanlainen. (RVII, 3095)  
 A kiss is the fat slap of two slimy muscles. - Suudelma on kahden limaisen lihaksen Iäskinen Iässähdys. (SV 1084)  
 You little piece of gold, you shitty little devil. I loved you tenderly. You, damn you, betrayed me. - Sinä pikkuinen kullan siru. Sinä saatanan pikku piru. Mind hellästi rakastin sinua. Sinä perkele petit minua. (UL.2937.1987)  

The large number of these types of poems using romantic parody and irony raises the question: Is the ideology of love, which is so central to our culture, losing its significance in organizing dating relations and legitimizing the start of sexual relations among the youth? Particularly in sociological interviews it has been shown that not all young persons need the love ideology to justify and create security in sexual relations. The forging of a good and secure relationship is also possible without the experience of love (for example Tirkkonen & Hukkila & Kontula 1989,174; Vuori 1987, 32; Koske 1988, 340). Of the girls 1 interviewed, only a few tried to classify their own relationships in terms of sexuality and dating by disregarding the experience of falling in love. Most did not question the importance and existence of romantic love, but rather interpreted a romantic love relationship as the ideal, and the "funny", "nonsensical" and "awful" humorous poems meant that the ideal does not always come true in everyday dating relationships. In the humorous love poems the issue is thus perhaps the recognition of the double standard rather than direct questioning of it. The ideology of love appears to have retained its status as a coping strategy of Finnish girls in the Finnish institution of dating with its double standard, at least in the light of this material.


A number of women's studies researchers have commented on the fact that girls have difficulty in speaking of their own sexuality in terms other than those of romantic love ( Koske 1988, 339; compare Mc Robbie 1991, 81-134). This is also true about the poetry notebooks. From the first ecstasy of falling in love up until kissing the language of romance is sufficient, but from that point on the poems speak of sexuality from the male point of view, in the physical language of sex. Seen against this background, the sexual tradition cultivated by girls is in itself a feminine territorial conquest. The type of sexual tradition practised by young girls described above was not reported in Finland prior to the 1970s.16

There are some sexual poems in the poetry notebooks, in which the man's right to sexual freedom is also seen as belonging to women. In these poems the features of girls' and boys' roles are exchanged. When a girl plays a boy's role a surprising situation arises: we see the dimension of sexual desire, activeness and decision, which does not belong to the traditional female image, this time without any clearly expressed sanctions. In these "role-switching poems" the role of the girl now includes the rights which have traditionally belonged to males: the recognition of sexual desire and its unhindered gratification, the right to evaluate a partner's sexual usefulness and also in some poems, irresponsible risk-taking.

When I was a little girl I want toys toys toys. Now I'm a big girl and I want boys boys boys. (Original in English.) (LM400, 9c) Evenings are our joy, boys our passion. - lllat ovat ilomme, pojat intohimomme. (RVI, 665c)

 Desire doesn't go away just by hugging. [Inside the heart). -Ei halu halaamalla Iähde. (RV II, 2005g)  
 It's hard to be near a cute boy, because you can't kiss him and you can't not kiss him. - On paha olla nätin pojan vieressä, koska häntä ei voi suudella eikä suutelematta olla. (RVI, 717d)  
 One should screw when one gets the urge. - Silloin pitää panna kun paneltaa. (RVI, 657a)  
 Oh boy, two dames want a hairy hammer of leather! -Huh huijaa 2 muijaa tahto karvasta nahkanuijaa! (RVI, 682a)  
 The moon shines in the sand pit. Sari puts herself to bed. In the heart of the night she shouts: Oh! Hasn't Pasi come yet, my my! - Hiekkakuopalla loistaa kuu. Sari sänkyyn asettuu. Illan suussa se uutaa: Hoi! Eikö se Pasi jo tuu, voi voi! (RVI, 678b)  
 Hey, how goes it, hi! Does it stand or not? If not then bye! - Terve moro, hei! Seisooks vai ei? Jos ei, niin hei! (RVI, 65 8c)  
 Rather have AIDS than to always go without. - Mieluummin aidsi kuin aina paitsi. (LM 400, 3b)  

In a few cases the girls' tradition dares to also put the boy's role in a comic light. In these poems the girl evaluated the boy's sexual usefulness and thus the boy is forced into the typical role of the girl, as a sexual object and bearer of a bad reputation.

 Boys are like toothbrushes - use diligently and change often. -Pojat ovat kuin hammasharjoja - käytä ahkerasti ja vaihda usein. (RVI, 515g)  
 Use them like toys - they are only boys. (Original in English.) (UL.2914.1987)  
 I love all boys in common and common boys particularly. -Rakastan poikia yieisesti ja yieisiä poikia erityisesti. (UL.2914.1987)  

It is possible to interpret these "reversed" poems as emancipatory texts which deconstruct the traditional images of male and female. The tone of the poems, which are to be interpreted as humorous, nonetheless give one cause to suspect that in reality they support traditional male dominance after all: the girl acting in the boy's role is comical. They can be thought of as indicating that girls are aware of the double standard in their poetry and are questioning it (compare Nenola 1990, 18). This is supported by the concept, clearly expressed by my interviewees, that the same moral obligations should apply to both girls and boys, even if such is not the case in practice (compare Vuori 1987,35,59; 1988,35). This sort of material containing a feminine double standard is rare, so that by its very quantity it does not topple the basic dichotomy which supports masculine dominance.


In conclusion, I ask the question: is it possible to see from the poetry aspects of an ideology of gender equality, a way of thinking which allows both genders the same possibilities for action? This much can be assumed, since the demand for equality in boy-girl relationships showed up clearly in the interviews with girls, as previously noted. I would thus answer a cautious "yes" to the above question. In a few poems the girl's sexual role is not defined by the double standard: instead, the girl is the subject, rather than object, other own sexuality and is responsible in her sexual relationships without fear of being labelled. From the girls' perspective, the poems focus on taking care of birth control and the girl's right to decide whether she (and not the boy) would like to begin a sexual relationship / initiate intercourse or not. As far as 1 can see, these texts do not contain comedy which would be directed at the negation of the girl's active role.

 All Day I Dream About Sex [=ADIDAS]. - (Original in English.) (RVI1, 2003i)  
 There is joy where there is love. And where there's a pack of rubbers in the pocket. - On ilo, kun on rakkaus. Ja taskussa varmuuskumi-pakkaus. (RVI, 280)  
 Shake and wiggle I open the zipper and out unwinds the love hose! - Hetkun letkun avaan, vetoketjunja esiin kelaan lemmenletkun! (RVI, 643d)  
 1 would rather jump from spruce to pine than into my own love's bed. - Mieluummin hyppään kuusesta mäntyyn kuin oman kullan sdnh'yn. (UL.2914.1987)  
 1 love you, but I won't come into your bed! -I love you, mut sänkyyn en tun! (LM400, 3d)  

The role of the boy in girls' poems remains nearly unshaken. There are only three poems in my material which could be interpreted as dismantling the traditional male role. Of the following examples, one boy is freed from the demand for sexual risk-taking, and is described as using condoms naturally. In the other example, the father of a newborn child is made practically responsible for his "accident". Thus the self-evidence of and perhaps even demand for the taking of responsibility, which is typical of the female role, is here associated with men:

 When I saw a cute boy, the boy said: Come quickly, I've got Näkkis (a brand of condoms). It's quick to use and doesn't mess up the bedcover! - Kun katselin poikaa nättiä, poika sanoi: Tule äkkiä, mull on Näkkiä. Se käy äkkiä eikä sotke täkkiä! (LM400, 12b)  
 First love filled my stomach, then the midwife emptied it. The little one's head grinned at his father. - Ensi lempi vatsan. täytti, kätilö sen tyhjensi. Pienokainen päänsä näytti isällensä irvisti. (RVII, 1995c)  

Actually, these texts show the gender discourse of the poems to be more multi-faceted than I have presented up until now. In them, one can perceive influences from the social health ideology which stresses the importance of birth control and safe sex, as well as from the modern ideology of the family, which has emphasized the importance of the father-child relationship and which has required the father to be present at the birth ever since the beginning of the 1970s.

As gender researchers have often noted, sexuality is one of the areas of a gender system based on patriarchy which is most persistent and slowest to change. The poetry notebook tradition demonstrates the accuracy of this. The "wonderful" and "obscene" poems of girls, boys and dating are structured primarily on a traditional gender discourse of inequality. Gender discourse which rests on the modem concept of gender equality can be seen only with difficulty, but is nonetheless visible in the pressures for change which is directed at the role of the girl. In so far as girls follow this script in their dating relationships they can, at least slightly, loosen the tight corset of the "reputation", laugh within their group of friends at this troublesome piece of clothing and dream of a time when it might even be thrown completely away.17 In order to make this possible, boys too must be liberated from the tight straitjacket of the traditional male role. Only then can the dating relationship correspond to the ideal of reciprocity and equality which the girls long for. This seems to be the direction of change: in the notebooks from the 1970s, texts which contested traditional role models were practically non-existent, while there were some in the 1980s and even more at the start of the 1990s.

Translated by Laura Stark

Archival references

The poetry notebooks and interview materials are preserved in the Folklore Archives of the Finnish Literature Society. The references following quotes from the poetry refer to the bound volumes in the Folklore Archives.


1) Examples from a 10-year-old girl's memory album of 1951: Always live in the world, always live so that your mother's loving eyes do not fill with tears - Eld aina maailmassa eld aina niin, ettei äiäin hellät silmät kastuis kyyneliin; The rose is certainly beautiful but the lily more beautiful still. Father and mother are certainly dear but Jesus dearer still -Ruusu kyllä on kaunis on vaan lilja kaunihimpi. Isä, äiti rakas on, vaan Jeesus rakkahampi; Young girl like a blooming dogwood, remember that Finland is the land of your birth - Tyttönen nuori kuin kukkiva tuomi, muista et syntymämaasi on Suomi; Little Ulla plump and chubby, red-cheeked and round, if porridge isn't good enough, put a candy in your mouth, go ahead and take two so that you get fat! - Ulla pieni pulleroinen, punaposki palleroinen, jos ei maistu puurovelli, pistä suuhun karamelli, ota oikein kaks et tulet lihavaks!

2) I have collected my research materials between 1990 and 1992 as part of the Finnish Literature Society Folklore Archives children's folklore collection program, using questionnaires appearing in the press and distributed in grammar and high schools, as well as information from the Folklore Archives' network of respondents. The material comprises 350 original albums and notebooks representing a variety of different types, as well as over 5,000 pages copied from poetry notebooks. In my material the notebooks have been classified according to the type of user, as follows: 1. Personal use: teinarit (calendars intended especially for students, to which poems are copied). 2. For use among girlfriends: letter notebooks and poetry notebooks. 3. Among both boy- and girlfriends of the same age: slämärit (friendship notebooks), prediction notebooks and sketchbooks.

3) The age at which young people become sexually active decreased in Finland during the 1980s. According to research, approximately 50% of young people experienced their first intercourse before the age of seventeen (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila 1993, 454).

4) The background of poetry texts has not been studied. Nonetheless, many texts familiar from other folklore genres and performance contexts can be recognized from the pages of the notebooks, such as memory verses, proverbs, rhymes, rhyming folk-songs, parodies of hit songs or advertisement jingles, xerocopy folklore, and jokes. Among the poems are also fragmentary phrases from hit songs and pop music, or sometimes the whole song is included. The following selection of examples serves as an illustration: Memory verse: Two small boats sail the Atlantic. One takes Sari and the other Sari's boyfriend. - Kaksi pientä laivaa Atlantilla seilaa. Toisessa viedään Saria ja toisessa Sarin heilaa. (RVI, 618); Proverb: Women like simple things such as men. -Naiset pitävät yksinkertaisista asioista, kuten miehistä. (RVII, 1231); An imitation of • a child's rhyme: We saw each other on Monday. We met on Tuesday. We talked on Wednesday. We fell in love on Thursday. We kissed on Friday. We got tired of each other on Saturday. We broke up on Sunday. -Nähtiin maanantaina. Tavattiin fiistaina. Tutustuttiin keskiviikkona. Rakastuttiin torstaina. Suudeltiin perjantaina. Kyllästyttiin lauantaina. Erottiin sunnuntaina. (RVII, 1956); Rhyming folk-song: A boy has two things to carry. A bottle of booze and a hunting knife. A girl has two dreams: a warm heart and a kiss. - Kaksi on pojalla kannettavaa: viinapullo ja puukko. Kaksi on tytöllä unelmaa: Iämmin sydän ja suukko. (RVII, 1973); Parody of a hit song: Because of your eyes I release the clutch and leave. - Sinun silmiesi tähden nostan kytkintä ja Iähden. (RVI, 668); Xerocopy folklore: 1. The person who cheats on their lover is a pig. 2. The person who cheats often is a big pig. 3. The person who cheats continously is a wild pig. — 7. Joka menee vieraisiin on sika. 2. Joka menee usein vieraisiin on iso sika. 3. Joka menee lakkaamatta vieraisiin on villisika. (RVI, 693); Joke: A father called out to his daughter: What are you doing? - I'm watching the moonlight. - Tell that moonlight to hop on his moped and get lost. - Isä huusi tyttärelleen: Mitä sinä teet? — Katselen kuutamoa. - Sano sille kuutamolle, että ottaa moponsaja ajaa tiehensä. (RVII, 3629); Hit song: I sit in a rocking chair and reminisce of you. On the dull ice-skates of my memory I skate to you. - Kiik-kustuolissa istun ja sinua muistelen. Muistini tyisillä luistimilla luoksesi luistelen. (RVII, 2283 = Eppu Normaali: Vihrean joen rannalla, 1985). It is difficult to recognize the girls' own compositions, but it is likely that their proportion is quite large in the poetry notebooks of some girls. The notebook owners' familiarity with fiction literature and that of her circle of friends can be seen from the selection of poetry. One girl was moved by Tommy Taberman's poetry, another copied aphorisms and haiku-poetry. Postcards and the youth columns of periodicals are often mentioned as sources.

5) In addition to basic relationships, the poetry also deals with such themes as social relations within the peer group and subjects closely associated with the girls' life-style, such as friendship, the art of living, and alcohol consumption. For example, on friendship: When you look for a friend, look carefully, for a friend you'll surely get, but a faithful one only rarely. -Kun etsit ystävää, niin etsi tarkoin, sillä ystävän kyllä saat, mutt uskollista harvoin. (RVII, 1974e). On the art of living: Live your life smiling, smile through the tears. - (RVII, 1966d). On alcohol: In the evening, jolly with beer. In the morning, pale and silent. -Illalla hilpeänä kaljaa. Aamulla kalpeana hiljaa. (RVII, 2010a).

6) This division corresponds to a classification based on sociological interviews: those lacking experience (kissing and caressing over the clothes), those who have experienced petting (caressing under the clothes or naked), and those who have experienced intercourse (Kontula 1991,11). A few poems emphasize this division. For example: Love is more than dropped trousers. - Rakkaus on muutakin, kun alas valuneet housut. (RVI, 652). According to Helga Tahvanainen, at the beginning of the 1980s, eleven- and twelve-year-old girls felt that "kissing boys and walking hand in hand" was romantic. It was also a step toward adulthood, since a child does not have her own boyfriend (Tahvanainen 1993, 12-13).

7) The number of sexual poems may vary widely in individual notebooks. My material includes notebooks in which they are missing altogether, while in others they are visibly emphasized. The greatest proportion of sexual poetry in a single notebook is 25%. In the same notebook, the proportion of love poems is 69% and that of other themes is 6% (LM400, 1992).

8) Sexual prohibition is an alien concept in the poems, and strong tones of shame or disapproval associated with sexuality do not appear to be present. The material displays an almost complete lack of aggression or sexual injury directed at women. Sometimes, very rarely, girls allow their boyfriends to write in their poetry notebooks. The only text which describes this kind of violent sex is in the handwriting of such a boyfriend. Neither sexual disgrace nor rape belong to the normal themes of the poetry.

9) Sexuality is narrowly defined in the poetry, and heterosexuality is taken for granted. The poems generally do not ponder the dimensions of human sexuality or challenge the boundary between "normal" and "abnormal". The poems contain haphazard mentions of oral sex, anal sex, group sex, homosexuality, nymphomania, sadomasochism and incest. On oral sex: pushed it between my lips... = parody describing the first time smoking a cigarette - ... sä työnsit sen väliin mun huulien... (KVI, 846). On anal sex: ...I made an odyssey into the ass... - ...perseeseen tein harharetken ... (RVI, 713-714a). On group sex: Group sex, said the earthworm when he saw the tippaleipä (a confection in which thin noodles are fried together in a mass) -Ryhmäseksiä sanoi kastemato, kun tippaleivän näki. [Unnumbered]. On homosexuality: Happiness could thus probably always go on, if there were no nasty homos in the West, they took all the city's condoms away... - ...Näin onni kai aina jatkua vois, ellei Iännessä ilkeitä homoja ois, ne veivät kaupungin kortsut pois... (RVI, 677a). On nymphomania: A woman who clobbers a man on the street and manages to get under him before he hits the ground - Nainen, joka kolkkaa miehen kadulla ja ehtii alle ennen kuin mies on maassa. [Unnumbered]. On sadomasochism: Whip me! Beat me! Suck me! Fuck me! [Original in English] (RVI, 643a). On incest: Brother: Give me some money so I can get laid! - Sister: No! Why waste your money? Screw me! The matter was agreed upon, the pants were taken off and both went to the sofa. Brother: Yours is better than Mom's! - Sister: Dad says that too! - Veli: Anna rahaa, et pääsen naisiin! Sisko: En! Mix tuhlaat rahojas? Nussi mua! Asiasta sovittiin, housut riisuttiinja käytiin sohvalle. Veli: Sullahan on parempi kun mutsilla! Sisko: Sitähän se faijakin sanoo! (RVI, 672).

10) In the material there is only one prohibition directed at boys: Hey guy, don't play with the human heart as if it were a flower, for the flower withers in time, but not the human heart -Älä jätkä leiki ihmissydämillä kuin kukkasilla, sillä kukka kuihtuu aikanaan, mut sydän ei milloinkaan. (RVI, 730a, RVII, 2651). There are no poems which penalize boys. The boy in the poems is not called a randy old goat (pukki) if he abandons his beloved (hylkää oman armaansa). In the interviews, on the other hand, this term was well-known in referring to boys who had many relationships.

11) Labelling women as disgraced or a "whore" was common earlier in Finnish culture.

12) The birth control methods recognized in the sexual poems are condoms and birth control pills, which in the 1980s were and still are the birth control devices most used and most recommended by sex educators. They are also easy for young persons to obtain. The poems refer in one case to the withdrawal method. Intrauterine devices are not mentioned, apparently because they are not usually implanted in young women who have yet not borne children. Examples: Fraud, fraud, cried out the tiny sperm and banged against the rubber wall. -Petosta, petosta, huusi pieni siittiösoluja koputti kumista seinämää. (RVII, 2026c); A pill a day keeps the midwife away. - Pilleri päivässä pitää kätilön loitolla. (RVII, 2030d); Not so often, not so deep, even if it feels good. -Ei min usein, ei niin syvälle, vaikka se tuntuu hyvälle. (RVII, 2007f). There are two poems with abortion themes in my material. One is an over-sentimental prose text which blames the mother and follows the day-by-day development of the fetus, and which does not even mention the father of the fetus to be aborted. The last sentence of the text is also presented separately: MOTHER! Why did you let them end my life? We would have had so much fun together!!! -ÄITI! Miksi annoit heidän lopettaa elämäni? Meillä olisi oilut niin kivaa yhdessä!!! (SV 1076.1992.). The second poem represents a completely different style, racy humour: Love a boy in the evening...kiss a boy on the bridge, ..rinse your lips with booze...cover your love-bites with a scarf...don't do anything too bad.. .you might get a big stomach.. .then Mom will get angry and the doctor will come into the picture... - Rakasta poikaa illalla...suutele poikaa sillalla...huuhdo huulesi viinalla...peitä fritsut liinalla...Älä tee liian pahoja...voi vaikka tulla isoja mahoja...Silloin mutsi suuttuu ja Iääkäri asiaan puuttuu... (RVI, 506d)

13) This AIDS interpretation has been constructed by girls. In the 1960s, the term "tauti" (disease) was connected to the flu among students. In the poems, AIDS is usually associated with homosexuality. In Finland, AIDS came to public attention in 1983. AIDS fears have given rise to a multi-faceted folklore tradition (Pöysä 1988; Lipponen 1994).

14) In a poem one can perceive features which suggest even direct resistance to birth control and safe sex. For example: I put the rubber on my organ. The girl immediately grabbed it and said: I don't like this at all and thrust it bare, inside. Well I agreed to let it be bare when I pushed it inside... - ...kumin vedin päälle kalun. Siihen tyttö tarttui heti ja sanoi: Siitä en mä yhtään tykkää, paljaana se sisään lykkää. (RVI, 713-714a)

15) In the end, romantic love always makes the woman subordinate to the decision-making power of the man. Women's freedom is limited to the sphere of emotions. The man has the freedom to decide when the relationship starts and finishes (see for example McRobbie 1991, 81-34).

16) The poetry notebook tradition is not the only territorial expansion. Sexual themes are brought up also in girls' oral traditions - this can be seen in the large number of sexual jokes told by girls, found for example in the material from the Finnish-Estonian children's folklore collection, 1992. There is very little available information from earlier decades concerning the sexual folklore of girls and women. It is unclear whether this is due to the lack of collection efforts in this area or the nonexistence of such folklore itself. Certain sexual texts copied into the poetry notebooks have also circulated in earlier soldiers' notebooks, where young men undergoing their military service had written them down (compare Kokkinen 1980). In Finland there has been little folkloristic collection of and research on the sexual traditions of children and youths. The subject has been touched upon in for example Bregenhaj & Johnson 1988; Kaivola-Bregenh0J 1991; Lipponen 1987, 1992a, 1994, 1995; Virtanen 1970,1972.

17) It should be stressed that the poems do not directly address the experiences and behavior of individuals, but they give indications of the predominant stereotypical concepts, values, attitudes, hopes and fears which are collectively produced and maintained in girls' culture, (e.g. Apo 1986, 241; Nenola 1986, 99-104, 193).


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