Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bikini pictures are not OK. Teachers’ self-representation and interaction on social media: opinions and experiences of students

Andra Siibak, Marleen Otsus

The interaction between teachers and students has changed in the age of social media and has raised many new legal, ethical and professional questions (Russo, Squelch, Varnham 2010). Because of the social convergence dominant in social media (boyd 2008) teachers and students have become each other’s nightmare readers (Marwick, boyd 2010) who unexpectedly have access to intimate information about each other. The blurring of professional and personal identity that accompanies social media interaction may in turn influence interaction in the classroom and thereby create problems for both teachers and students (Woodley, Silvestri 2014), damaging their reputations and credibility (Mazer et al 2007; Asterhan et al 2013).

The article aims to introduce students’ opinions about teacher-student social media interaction and about teachers’ self-representation on social media. The results are derived from focus group interviews (N=8) conducted in the spring of 2018 with students of Estonian lower- secondary (N=23) and upper-secondary students (N=20). Based on the experiences of students who interact with their teachers on social media we analyse interaction and self-representation practices characteristic of teachers on social media and the role of social media friendship in the teacher-student relationship in the school environment.

Qualitative content analysis of the interviews demonstrates that checking out teachers’ social media profiles has become a regular practice among students to find more information about the teacher’s person (including interests, hobbies, values, private life). Students who participating in the study had a very clear sense of teacher-student social media etiquette and practices teachers should not engage in.

To speak of history – as partners

Milvi Martina Piir

The present theoretical-probing article focuses on the discourse of history that is directed to the broader public and aims to be generally educational. It is distinct from the purely academic approach in its didactic and value educational aspect. The article analyses the discursive biases of three intertwined categories – gender, class, and nation – and seeks for ways of balancing them. This is necessary to determine a value position that would proceed from a respectful attitude towards the diverse expressions of humanity in different periods, with special focus on human mental and moral education. This stands side by side with the need to consider the context, subjectivity and values picture of the recipient. This value position will form the basis for the formulation of methodological principles that integrate the principle of commonality and understanding into the discourse of history that has tended to focus on conflict, power and public activity, stress mutually respectful human relationships and the inexhaustible value potential of the history of the private sphere. In the third stage the article presents the criteria of inclusive discourse of history, analysing them from the comparative perspectives of the multi-perspective approach that has been used in gender studies and history teaching.

Woman as a professional driver: Women’s role in the development of taxi service in Estonia between the two world wars

Riho Paramonov

The study introduces Magda Vitismann, the first Estonian woman taxi driver. The discussion proceeds from a broader process of modernization that affected all aspects of life and social development. As one of the major innovations of the 20th c., the automobile played an important part in the process of women’s liberation and in the re-conceptualization of feminine/masculine values.

By the late 1920s cars had improved to the extent that they could be driven by weaker women as well. By the 1930s most Estonians were used to women driving cars. Cars had become a means of female self-realization. The job of a female taxi driver lacked glamor, but she could still be admired as a heroic/enterprising and therefore modern woman. Professional women drivers challenged the hypermasculine value sphere surrounding technology, proving that a woman could be as good as a man in technical fields.

The workdays of women taxi drivers were long and tiring; one had to be prepared for breakdowns, accidents, unpleasantness from male colleagues or customers. To cope in the harsh struggle for survival, one had to be both physically and mentally strong. The motivations included a decent wage and status, sense of freedom and benefiting from new technology.

Women who worked as taxi drivers can be called impulsors – people who foster the spread of new technology on the grassroots level. As there were few female taxi drivers, each had an impact on people and structures in their network which, in turn, supported modernization and thereby the process of women’s liberation. The key words are overcoming one’s weaknesses and the will to do something in novel ways. The most notable woman taxi driver from this period is Magda Vitismann who embodied many of the traits. As a modern woman in essence, she followed the new value system that made it possible for her to work in an untraditional field.

There were more women taxi owners than taxi drivers. Running a taxi increased women’s enterprise and widened their horizon of activities. Using a car as a taxi gave some women the first major experience with a modern vehicle.

Emancipation is an important element of modernization and women taxi drivers, in turn, play an important part in emancipation. They showed that a woman could be a man’s equal or even superior in a technical field. By proving that women can cope in a very masculine field, the women challenged the dominant gendered preconceptions and became role models for many women who wished to realize themselves in fields that had been inconceivable before.

All quiet on the male front. Twenty years of portrait stories in Estonian daily papers

Kristi Malmberg

The article is based on Kristi Malmberg’s 2018 MA thesis “Changes in Media Representations of Men 1996-2017“. This continued her BA thesis that compared media representations of men in 1996 and 2004. The MA thesis is based on a sample of 64 portrait stories of men published in the weekend supplements of the Eesti Päevaleht and the Postimees in 2017. The analysis employed content and discourse analysis. The results for 2017 were compared to the conclusions of Malberg’s BA thesis to discuss changes in media representations of men in the past twenty years.

In 2004 media representations of men had become softer than in 1996 when men portrayed were still represented proceeding from very conservative gender roles. There was no major change in 2017, however. On the basis of the present study, it cannot be said that there has been an important positive change in the gender stereotypes represented and recreated by the media. It is possible to trace the continuation of some processes, for ample greater emotionality in men and more talk about the family. However, the comparison of 2004 and 2017 does not show as significant a change as the comparison of 1996 and 2004. This can probably be explained by the fact that Estonia has moved from the stage of rapid developments in the 1990s into a more stable stage and this can also be seen in the slower change in social attitudes. Thus, the present MA thesis and the author’s previous research does not allow us to assume that we should expect a significant change in gender stereotypes in Estonia and, through that, also media representations of men.

Artistic interventions: gender, nation and the Afghanistan mission

Redi Koobak

This article explores state-commissioned war art as a particular means of reproducing nationalism and suggests that further in-depth study of this type of war art broadens the critical reflection on contemporary war narratives and military deaths. A critical reading of artistic representations produced as a response to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan explores the complexities and ambiguities of national and international security and war initiatives. The primary focus is on artwork by Estonian artist Maarit Murka, which was produced as a result of her being embedded with the military in Afghanistan. The analysis speaks to the tension between art, war, commemoration, and national belonging as well as to the changing gender relations in the Estonian context. By comparing Murka’s artworks with Danish examples of state-commissioned artworks, I argue that the manner in which these artworks address the gendered myth of protection and the relationship between the home front and the war front both reproduce and destabilise gendered and nationalist discourses of militarisation and justifications for war.

Feminist feast in Estonia: Ladyfest cultural festival in 2011-2018

Katrin Kivimaa

The beginning of the 2000s saw the emergence of a new generation of feminist artists and creative talents who, on the one hand, built on what had been created in the 1990s but, on the other hand, also increasingly stepped outside of the local and disciplinary frameworks. A series of new communication and exhibition formats – social media and other web-based platforms, independent project spaces and non-profit galleries, pop-up projects, etc. – emerged making it possible to depend less on mainstream cultural politics and the interests of the official cultural institutions. Reacting to topical social issues (outside of the art sphere) became increasingly important in identifying one’s collective and personal creative position. This was supported by transnational activist networks. The character of feminist cultural work was more than before guided by the spirit of community and activism, moving away from institutionally preferred forms of expression and/or those determined by the cultural mainstream. The article will discuss the longest-serving manifestation of this phenomenon – feminist cultural festival Ladyfest, called Ladyfest Tallinn in Estonia. The focus is on the aims, self-definition and media coverage of the festival as well as its impact on the broader public.

Lilli Suburg’s article “Couples and Singles”

Eve Annuk

The article is dedicated to the essay “Couples and Singles” published by Lilli Suburg (1841-1924), the first Estonian feminist, writer, journalist and educator, in her magazine Linda in 1887. In this essay Suburg focuses on the topic of single women, highlighting social prejudices about them and presenting arguments against these negative attitudes. Suburg stresses that, in the context of Enlightenment ideas, women as the oppressed part of society have to be protected against mistreatment. In her opinion, single older women are one of the most marginalized social groups who are represented with derision in both fiction and journalism. Suburg demonstrates that, on the basis of statistics, the number of single women is constantly increasing and this necessitates a closer look at social prejudice against them. As a perceptive social observer, Suburg notes that women have remained single by chance and stresses that single women fill an important social role, both as assistants in family households and as educators of children, and this should be valued. Suburg’s views were progressive for her day, as she tried to counter stereotypical patterns of thought with rational arguments and, through that, to re-shape public opinion.

Correlations between femininity-masculinity and personality traits among 16-19-year-old Estonians

Mare Ainsaar, Kadri Soo, Tiina Laur

Gender is one of the most influential sources of human identity, which affects people’s behavior and the types of gender roles they prefer. Thus the study of gender and related identities has become extremely important in research into equality between men and women, family issues, labor policy, rights and behavior. Femininity and masculinity are two traits that may appear in parallel in one persons identity. The aim of the present article is to analyze what character traits 16-19-year old Estonians associate with masculinity and femininity. Young people are future actors on the labor market, they will be establishing their own families and future developments in society are dependent on their opinions.

The empirical data of the analysis derive horn the Estonian data from a study of the sexuality of the young people in the Baltic Sea region. The study was conducted by the University of Tartu and Tartu Child Support Center in April-May 2003 among students of Estonian-medium schools. The analysis will use the data about 16-19-year-olds, a total of 1709 people. The article presents analyses based on biological sex, gender (masculinity-femininity) and gender role type. The article will analyze the distribution of different personality traits among boys and girls, the associations created between certain traits and the perception of masculinity and femininity and which traits are considered characteristic of certain gender role types (combination of masculinity and femininity). The applied methods include comparisons of averages, correlation analysis and logistical regression.

The results show that 7% of students had either undeveloped or weak gender roles. 90% of boys considered themselves predominantly masculine, 2% androgynous and 1% feminine.

The distribution of girls was more varied – 72% saw themselves as predominantly feminine, 18% as androgynous and 3% as masculine. As there seem to be very few boys in Estonia who have a feminine self-perception, the analysis that employed models designed to measure correlations between personality traits was only applied to the study of the personality traits of boys who identified with the masculine or undeveloped gender role type and girls who identified with the feminine, androgynous and undeveloped gender roie type.

Boys who considered themselves predominantly masculine were considerably more selfconfident, dominating and open to risk than the less masculine boys. In boys the perception of masculinity was associated with greater athleticism, physical activeness and bravery. The perception of masculinity grew in the ages of 16-19. In the case of girls, masculine self-identification was associated with quick decision-making and the perception of oneself as aggressive and as having poorer skills in forming relationships. The girls who considered themselves feminine had a lower level of aggressiveness and risktaking and tended to consider themselves moreattractive to the opposite sex than other groups of girls.

Androgynous girls differed from the girls who considered themselves feminine and masculine. They were characterized by a higher opinion of their caring and friendliness, but they were also risk-takers, athletic, aggressive and frequently had a higher opinion of their initiative and courage to act and showed less empathy. The boys and girls with undeveloped gender identity did not resemble each other or any of the other gender roie types.

Thus the results for Estonian boys are in quite clear correlation with the traits that are characteristically attributed to men. The results for girls who consider themselves feminine are equally predictable. However, girls as a group are more diverse in Estonia and girls who have adopted masculine character traits also have combinations of other traits that are usually not considered feminine. The results of the article allow us to conclude that young people may have a different understanding of gender, depending on their gender and ethnicity. For example, there were no common traits between girls who perceived themselves to be masculine and boys who perceived themselves to be masculine. It is impossible to draw the same  conclusion about femininity because of the low level of feminine identification among boys.

Inglise avaleht

Ariadne’s Clew is the first and only ascademic journal of gender studies in Estonia. It is an Estonian Women’s Studies and Resource Centre’s (ENUT) publication, appearing regularly since the year 2000.  Ariadne’s Clew presents articles in the fields of history, psychology, philosophy, religion, ethnology, health, folklore, literature, the arts, sociology, economics, political science, law, demography, pedagogy, geography, and natural sciences. 

Ariadne’s Clew can be borrowed from, or read at,  ENUT library, located at Narva Road 25-510, or at the other libraries in Estonia  The journal is for sale at ENUT and its last five numbers (2014-2019) are available digitally in the form of PDF files.

Excerpts from the Introduction in the journal’s first issue

Eda Sepp and Suzanne Lie

The journal’s name originates from Greek mythology.  Ariadne was the daughter of Cretan King Minos and Queen Pasiphae. She was in love with Theseus who had to go into the Labyrinth to slay the Minotaur.  She gave him a ball of yarn that would help him find his way out of the Labyrinth after slaying the Minotaur. The editors chose Ariadne’s clew to serve as a guide to democratic thinking and gender equality. Society includes both women and men and a democratic society is not possible without equality.  

Yarn has had an important role in Estonia’s national lore and by associating it with the journal, we wish to explore and find answers to our own problems.  Ancient Greece is the cradle of our cultural heritage whence we got the patriarchal social system as it exists.  That’s where we have to begin in order to know how gender equality started and to show what needs to be changed, and how to go about it.  Academic feminist theory has addressed these questions for over 30 years in the West by having women’s studies courses in the universities.  Women’s research, women’s studies and academic feminism are so closely connected that borders between them are frequently blurred.         

Ariadne’s Clew is the first journal in Estonia to address academic feminism, women’s and gender studies.  Ariadne’s Clew can serve as a forum where Estonian women and men introduce their research on gender related topics, feminist methodology, and to publish works based on the latter. We hope that the journal will stimulate the development of women’s studies in Estonia as well as inform the general public about relevant questions.  It is important to start addressing mainline scholarship that has been reached in the West.