When I was in camp many years ago, all of the girls would sing “Miss Suzy had a steamboat”, and do the hand motions along with it.  However, this clapping gave was not just done at camps, it was everywhere.  Girls would do it while standing in line, or in the car on the way to school.

Miss Suzy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell (ding ding)
Miss Suzy went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello operator, please give me number nine
If you disconnect me, I’ll cut off your
Behind the ‘frigerator, there was a piece of glass
Miss Suzy fell upon it and it cut her in the
Ask me no more questions and tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom zipping up their
Flies are in the meadow, bees are in the park
Miss Suzy and her boyfriend were kissing in the
D. A. R. K. D. A. R. K. Dark. Dark
Darker than the ocean,
Darker than the sea,
Darker than the underwear
My mommy puts on me!
I know you know my mommy,
I know you know my pa,
I know you know my sister
With the 42 inch bra!

Upon first hearing the song and watching the young girls play the game; the song does not seem bad at all.  However, when you listen closer, there are many “bad” words that young girls should not be using.  However, the girls are not actually using the bad words because the words are cleverly disguised in the phrasing of the song.  For instance, in “the steamboat went to Hello operator”, the word hell is disguised.  However, the word hell is the obvious word that was meant to be placed there.  Other phrases about boys zipping up their flies, or 42inch bras, are all taboo for these young children.  The children are not allowed to use these words in their everyday speech so they have found a clever release through the song.

Freud would say that this song is representative of the young children’s repressed sexuality.  Their sexuality is not allowed to show through in everyday society, but this song allows them a safe outlet to express and experiment with it. Another interesting point is that girls are the main singers of this song.  This could be for many reasons.  First, in our society boys are not “suppose” to sing.  Singing is a female gendered activity according to the gender roles of today’s society.  Also Boys are often allowed to be “bad”, it is expected of them to break the rules and go against the grain.  However, girls are supposed to be refined and appropriate at all times.  This song allows the girls to release their developing sexual energy without being inappropriate.