The gender studies journal Ariadne’s Clew was first presented to the Estonian public on October 17, 2000, containing the following message of introduction from the editors:
A story in Greek mythology gave the title Ariadne’s Clew to the journal. Ariadne, daughter of king Minos and queen Pasiphae, was in love with Theseus, who had to go into the labyrinth to kill Minotaurus. Fearing that he would not find his way back, Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of yarn. By leaving a trail of yarn, he was able to get out of the labyrinth by following the yarn. The journal’s editors chose Ariadne’s clew as a symbol for new democratic thinking and means for gender equality, for there can not be democracy without equality between women and men. In Estonia’s folk tradition – and especially women’s – yarn has had an important role and with it we want to indicate the direction of the journal in which we can unravel our society’s problems. Greek antiquity is the cradle of the Old World’s culture, and it is from it that the patriarchal social system we know originated. We have to start from that if we want to understand how gender inequality got its start, and in order to show what needs to be changed and how to change it. Academic feminist theory, developed at universities’ women’s studies courses, has been addressing these questions for over thirty years in the West. Women’s studies, women’s scholarship, and academic feminism are so closely intertwined that lines between them are often blurred.
This publication is the first journal in Estonia to address academic feminism, and women’s and men’s studies. Ariadne’s Clew can be a forum in which Estonian women and men introduce their studies of gender questions, and also articles applying feminist methodology. We hope that the journal stimulates the development of women’s scholarship and studies in Estonia, and informs the public of these issues. It is essential to start influencing mainstream scholarship in order to match the level attained in the West.