Female intoxication on the Finnish screen in the 1950’s and 1960’s


Hanna Kuusi

Drunken female characters have been very rare in Finnish feature films. However, in the 1960’s portrayals of women drinking heavily became common. Both the representation of drinking and its role in the plot were transforming. Female intoxication was not represented in a moralistic way or with the purpose of a survival narrative as in earlier times. It was used to illustrate feelings of defiance and or revolt. The masculine-like intoxication of women challenged masculine supremacy and participated in the promotion of gender inequality.

Furthermore, a new kind of narrative strategy took place, where the dramatic suspense was based on what happens when the characters get drunk. The radicality of women drinking heavily was also an end in itself in the avant garde cultural products. In real life Finnish women still consumed very little alcohol.