Autoriarhiiv: Rea Uudeküll

Female nude in Soviet-era art: hidden eroticism, politicized gesture or protofeminist image?

Katrin Kivimaa

The aim of the article is to study the use of the female nude in examples drawn from the unofficial art and visual culture created in the Soviet cultural space in the 1970-80s. Using examples from Estonian, Latvian and Russian art, the article asks what gendered images are being produced in the artistically innovative and/or socially radical avant-garde art produced in the late-Soviet period and what their relationship is with both Soviet and Western gender ideology. Our art-historical memory carries a deeply entrenched belief that the use of the female nude was hindered in Soviet-era art both by official sanctions on art and wider public morals. Restrictions and opportunities were different, depending on the era, the medium or artistic language used and whether the approach followed official norms. However, the control of the images of the naked body was one of the main reasons why the female nude came to be associated with the free expression of the artist and the democratization of visual culture. The use of the nude genre as a symbol of resistance proved to be a different practice for female and male artists. When we look at the late-Soviet avant-garde art or art photography, we can see the dominance of the male gaze in the processes of the representation of and looking at the female nude. If the dominant meaning of the (erotic) female nude as an expression of artistic freedom was constructed by male artists and photographers, what options did it leave to women artists? In the 1970s and 1980s we can speak about the emergence of the so-called feminine figurative language, which for example in Estonian art was most notable in the work of women graphic artists. One of the examples of this approach is Marju Mutsu, whose work focused on the formation of female identity in relation to the people and events surrounding her. The use of the female nude in Mutsu’s work stresses the erotic-bodily being of the woman and hints at lesbian sexuality. Innovations in avant-garde art (performance, happening, use of photography) led to the use of the artists body as a medium of art. While independent women performance and body artists emerged in many socialist countries (Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary), nothing of the kind happened in the Soviet Union. This can be explained by more strict social and artistic rules, as well as the internal gender relations of the avant-garde circles. However, there are numerous examples in the history of Russian, Latvian and Estonian late-Soviet avant-garde of the radicalization of the female artist in co-operation with a male partner in life and art. In Estonian art, one of the exciting examples in which the female artist was the one to take the first step, is a pair of nude autobiographic images by Sirje Runge and Leonhard Lapin. The analysis of the work allows us to shed light on not only the importance of the artists biography but also on the link between the social circumstances and gender ideology on the one hand and the act of creating a work of art and its later reception on the other.

Main trends in the textual construction of men in the women’s magazine “Cosmopolitan”

Grete Kempel and Andra Siibak

The aim of the article is to explore how men are represented in the Estonian version of the women’s magazine Cosmopolitan. Content analysis of Cosmopolitan articles from 2005- 2008 was carried out with the aim of studying the topics prevalent in the articles about men and masculinity, and analysing the main trends used in the textual construction of men in the articles. Self-representations of well-known Estonian men whose interviews appeared in the magazine were also studied. The findings of the study indicate that the traits and values associated with hegemonic masculinity mainly appear in the articles of Cosmopolitan. Although the results of the comparative analysis of magazine issues allow us to claim that there are slight changes in the textual constructions of masculinity and manhood, the majority of the articles studied were still built on stereotypical assumptions about men and masculinity. For example, rather than emphasizing the plurality of masculinities, the articles of Cosmopolitan mainly characterized men as very active sexual beings who are totally incapable of being romantic, emotional and communicative. However, the analysis of interviews with well-known Estonian men indicates that the interviewees were far more willing to express values and norms that were formerly not considered to be masculine (e.g., emotions, focus on family). Although the findings of the study illustrate the presence of some shifts in ideas about masculinities, lasting change in values, norms, perceptions and attitudes about masculinity depends on the dominant thought-patterns of the general public and future generations.

Gender in Estonian phraseology

Anneli Baran

The present study is the first attempt to analyse Estonian data on gender marking in figurative language use. The article will take a closer look at gender-specific reference in figurative speech, more specifically in Estonian phraseology. on the basis of examples, the article will highlight the primary characteristics that have been attributed to women in different periods, primarily in the 19th-early 20th century. It will attempt to draw a collective portrait of the woman as it appears in Estonian phraseology. The present study is based on studies conducted on German phraseology, an important influence on early Estonian phraseology. The results show that the opinions and attitudes are quite similar in the case of the two cultures: in the specific sarcastic-teasing manner of phraseology, women have above all been criticized for talkativeness, power, argumentativeness, frivolity, etc. As can be seen from examples about men, presented here as a contrast, men have been ridiculed for obeying women or being defeated by them. As archival sources are inconsistent, it is hard to draw firm conclusions about what lies behind these expressions. Similarly to other recordings of past folklore or language, the material does not give us sufficient information about specific language users to enable us to make valid generalizations about peoples worldview. On the other hand, we also cannot overlook these texts. Rather, we should attempt to analyse why such expressions have endured in language for centuries and why they continue to be used today.

Language proficiency, income and unemployment among Russian-speakers: why are language skills more important for women?

Ott Toomet

The present article analysis the correlation of proficiency in Estonian and the unemployment and incomes of Russian-speakers from the perspective of gender. The article is based on the data of the Estonian labour force surveys from 2000-2010. The most important characteristics of the analysis are status on the labour market (only employed and unemployed will be studied), pay in the principal job, ethnicity and proficiency in Estonian (the last two are based on the self-evaluation of the respondents). The analysis touches on the correlation between proficiency in Estonian and proficiency in English. The results show that non-Estonian women who are proficient in Estonian have about 8-10% higher salaries than women who speak no Estonian. There is practically no difference in the case of men. Proficiency in English results in 10-15% higher pay among women, 25% higher pay among men. The results are quite different in the case of unemployment. Both among men and women proficiency in Estonian correlates with a lower likelihood of unemployment: the likelihood that non-Estonians proficient in Estonian are unemployed is 4% lower than people without Estonian skills. There is no significant correlation between proficiency in English and unemployment. The results suggest that English plays an important role in higher-paid positions, while Estonian is relevant in positions that are most likely to be vulnerable to unemployment. The Integration Monitoring from 2008 demonstrated that men are more likely to work in positions where Estonian is not needed and where some other language is used to communicate with one’s colleagues. This could be one of the explanations to why there is no correlation between proficiency in Estonian and pay among men.

Gender differences in the work values of the post-war and “winners” generation

Andu Rämmer

The article analyses gender differences in the work values of two educational cohorts. A longitudinal research project studied the value judgments of the high school graduates from 1966 until the year 1991 and the high school graduates from 1983 until the year 2004. The analysis proceeds from a three-part structure of work values based on different motivating outcomes or the expected benefits derived from work introduced Rosenberg. Self-expression oriented values refer to the opportunities for self-expression that accompany the accomplishment of one’s work tasks. In the longitudinal study of the educational cohort from 1983 people with higher education ranked these values higher. The post-Soviet period saw a significant increase in the self-expression oriented values among women. Heterogeneous instrumental values refer to the benefits derived from work. They are closely associated with masculinity and men rank them higher. Men’s higher rankings of professional career and social position depended on both education and social factors. Similar evaluations of the recognition of friends and acquaintances did not depend on the level of education but on the social atmosphere. Women, regardless of age, education of social order valued the cleanness and physical ease of work more than men. Social values refer to benefits oriented towards other people and relationships. Regardless of education, age or social order, women valued them more than men. The gendered differences were the greatest in connection with the value of altruism among the respondents with higher education. The comparisons of educational cohorts demonstrated that education and social changes were more important factors in determining values than age.

Relationship between men’s and women’s higher professional positions and their modes of self-improvement

Ave Roots

Formal education received at educational institutions cannot provide all necessary knowledge and skills for a person’s whole professional career and maintaining one’s professional position, especially in the higher-ranking professions of managers and professionals. Since education plays the key role in gaining such positions, it is vital to maintain state-of-the-art level of knowledge and skills in one’s field. Thus it is necessary to study the impact of self-improvement and its modes on professional career in the higher positions. According to the expectation states theory gender has status value in a professional team. Thus men in higher positions who have a higher status than women are expected to contribute more and thus they are given more opportunities for proving themselves. Education and professional in-service training have a status-effect alongside knowledge of the field, derived from the opportunity to use signals (e.g., a diploma) to demonstrate having a competence and thus also a higher status. Men in the higher professional positions in the labour market benefit the most from their higher gender-based status, which is compounded by the signals derived from formal self-improvement and the competences derived from such self-improvement. The status gives men an advantage in achieving higher management positions. In order to gain higher positions in the labour market women have to engage in multi-faceted self-improvement, both formally and informally. The combination of competence and signals gives women the best opportunities to compete for leadership positions with men with any kind of in-service training. The signal given to the employer and colleagues about one’s competences is more important for women than for men and thus it is very important for women to participate in formal in-service training, which will provide a certificate and a mention in one’s CV, thus enabling one to transmit the signal.

Entering the labour force in the conditions of economic boom and recession

Ave Roots

Entering the labour force is a process affected by factors associated with the individual as well as the opportunities available on the labour market. The present article studies those entering the labour force in the conditions of economic boom and recession. The article proceeds from an understanding of the life course in which entering the labour force is not a solitary event, but a collection of events which signals not only taking up full- or part-time employment but also the end of one’s educational career, being unemployed or domestic and then moving out of those conditions. The article demonstrates that the economic cycle has the most predominant effect on entering the labour force. It determines the opportunities available on the labour market and the ease of finding full-time employment. In the period of economic growth the transition from school to work was quite smooth and began long before the actual end of a school year. The recession saw a significant increase in the number of people who opted to stay at home, the unemployed and part-time workers. The analysis showed that the economic cycle also influenced incomes for approximately a year after entry into the labour force. Those who enter the labour force right after school are in a relatively good position a year after entering the labour force during an economic boom, but during a recession their incomes are lower than those of all other groups who have been on the labour market for a longer period. The study also showed that the compounded impact of the economic cycle and gender influences the correlations between education and income. During a recession the greatest losers among men are men with higher education and the greatest winners among women with higher education.

What does individual gender ideology depend on?

Kairi Kasearu

The article attempts to analyse to what extent attitudes towards gender-stereotyped behaviour or, in other words, gender ideology, vary in Estonian society. In striving towards gender equality we need to consider not only people’s behaviour and legal regulations directing their activities, but also the characteristics of gender ideology and the extent to which it varies. The analysis of the European Social Survey results from 2008 demonstrates that gender ideology varies between women and men, but also in terms of ethnicity and age. Men and women of active working age were more supportive of men’s and women’s equal opportunities on the labour market than younger people only entering the labour market or older people leaving the labour market. The gap in the attitudes of young men and women can partly be explained by structural conditions or greater competition for work places, which may encourage gender-stereotyped thinking. For young people the development of an adult identity is strongly associated with employment and independent income. Thus, young men express gender-stereotyped values in which they see breadwinner and family support roles as central to male identity.

Finding a job through social networks: differences between men and women

Priit Jeenas

Although Western societies have made considerable efforts to eliminate gender inequality, an unexplained wage gap between men and women still persists in Estonia, among other countries. One factor contributing to this disparity may be men’s and women’s unequal access to labour market information and different opportunities to apply for jobs, which also derive from social networks. The main objective of this paper is to assess the propensity of men and women in Estonia to use social networks when finding a job and the possible benefits of doing so. This was done using regression analysis on the Estonian Labour Force Survey data for the years 2000 to 2010. The results show that men living in Estonia are more likely to have found a job through social networks than women. However, neither male nor female job seekers who successfully received help from relatives, friends or acquaintances earned statistically significantly higher or lower wages than the others. The existence of any material advantage or disadvantage from social networking was therefore not proved. Nevertheless, the greater propensity of men to find jobs using social networks may indicate the greater utility of their social resources in the labour market when compared to women. Job search and application with the help of friends and acquaintances may offer significant savings in time and resources, and also provide more extensive information on job offers, a higher probability of being successful and a better fit between the worker and the post. Important factors which may hinder women’s social resources from becoming as useful include sexual segregation in the networks and organizations and also childbearing and rearing as a significant period in the lives of parents. The latter, which undoubtedly places a greater burden on women, may reduce their social capital even more.

Work and satisfaction with life among 60-69-year-old women and men in seven European countries

Mare Ainsaar

The article analyses the factors affecting women’s and men’s retirement decisions and satisfaction with life among working and nonworking 60-69-year-olds in seven European countries with different labour markets and pension systems – Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Spain and Germany. The primary aim is to find out whether continuing to work affects women’s and men’s satisfaction with life. The data was derived from the integrated database of the 2004, 2006, 2008- 2009 data collection rounds of the European Social Survey (ESS). The results demonstrate that both universal and gender-specific factors affect retirement decisions. Universal factors affecting the time of retirement include age and health. Economic wellbeing and education are associated with the decision to continue working in advanced years, but there are more country- and gender-specific differences in this respect. Working is usually accompanied by a more positive attitude towards economic wellbeing, especially among men, and the longer a person’s educational career, the more likely they are to continue to work at 60-69. Both male and female workers have a higher need for success and consider a safe environment less important. However, there are differences in the profile of the working senior by country, which derive from the specificity of the labour markets of the countries and the nature of men’s and women’s work. In all countries seniors’ satisfaction with life was affected by health, income, the range of social contacts and trust in other people. The analyses of work and satisfaction with life among 60-69-year-olds demonstrated that work itself did not make seniors more or less satisfied with life. The only exception was Denmark, where working seniors were less satisfied with life. The preliminary results for Estonia and Finland that showed a higher level of satisfaction with life among working seniors were actually affected by working seniors’ better health and incomes. In some countries the wellbeing of seniors was also affected by a lack of a perception of discrimination, gender and the partner’s involvement in the labour market. The results of the analysis allow us to conclude that the increase in the age of retirement and the norms of people’s health and working age could be a relatively painless process, especially in view of the general changed nature of work. The results demonstrate the great influence of health on the wish to continue to work as a senior. If we could increase the number of years lived healthy, we can hope that people’s motivation to work does not decrease with age. However, age was an important independent factor influencing the decision to continue to work. This might be explained by the social norms concerning the age of workers. With the increase in working age, these norms should change as well.