Brownmiller’s “Femininity” and Kachel et al.’s “Traditional Masculinity and Femininity” Articles Review

English 101

Review the depiction of femininity in Susan Brownmiller’s “Femininity” and Sven Kachel, Melanie C. Steffens, and Claudia Niedlich’s “Traditional Masculinity and Femininity: Validation of a New Scale Assessing Gender Roles.”Evaluate whether you agree with their viewpoint on the issue.


Brownmiller’s Femininity Article Synthesis Essay

We live in societies where women and men are deemed distinct. In particular, women are considered feminine, while men are masculine. The former designates the weaker sex, while the latter connotes stronger sex. This is the most basic meaning of femininity and masculinity. Traditionally, various societies have assigned roles and responsibilities based on two sexual identities; femininity and masculinity. After meticulously reading two articles which address gender stereotyping: “Femininity” by Susan Brownmiller and “Traditional Masculinity and Femininity: Validation of a New Scale Assessing Gender Roles” by Sven Kachel, Melanie C. Steffens, and Claudia Niedlich, I have found the former to be biased but yet informative, while the latter is objective and impartial.

In the first source, Brownmiller attempts to show how women’s potential has been impacted by gender stereotyping in the name of labelling them as feminine. When she was growing up, her place was the kitchen with her mother and grandma. If a knife fell suddenly, an impromptu visit by a man was impending (Brownmiller 13). However, a spoon falling indicated that a woman was about to visit. As young as she was, she had learned the art of gender identification. Her father went outside to work all day to support the family. Her mother was strict. She could order Brownmiller to stay clean by avoiding dirtying herself (Brownmiller 13). The rule, however, did not apply to boys. At that young age, she learned that societal expectations of men and women differed. Her loving guardians surprised her with gifts which were mostly dolls. Again, they were a reflection of feminism as such toys are meant for girls and not boys. Her adolescence was stormy. She struggled to keep the traditional rules of dos and don’ts as a woman (Brownmiller 14). She was, however, rebellious, and to society, she was perceived as defiant. From this personal experience, Brownmiller argues that women should rise above traditional gender stereotyping and achieve success just like men. She uses her own life to demonstrate how the social constructions of gender can be circumvented. On feminism, Brownmiller’s article holds that it is a discriminatory and old-fashioned classification that is primarily meant to convince women that men are superior to them. Everything is, by default, entitled to men.

The second source is a journal article by three scholars: Kachel, Steffens, and Niedlich. In particular, the article explores different femininity scales used to measure specific aspects of gender stereotyping. Kachel, Steffens, and Niedlich agree that contemporary society is still affixed to the traditional gender stereotyping which distinguishes a man from a woman and the specific roles that each gender is assigned (2). According to the gender stereotype theory, men are more masculine than women, while women are more feminine than men. The Traditional Masculinity-Femininity (TMF) tool measures self-ascribed gender, femininity and masculinity. In an empirical study, the scholars established that TMF is an efficient tool. The author’s main argument is about why TMF is an effective tool. Nonetheless, they make another surprising argument which is that gender stereotyping is strongly etched in the current society. If it was not so, their tests of TMF as a perfect tool could not have been fruitful. The scholars do not seem to challenge traditional gender stereotyping, as they focus on identifying its existence in society and testing the best tool to measure it.

The brief synopsis of each of the two articles gives a hint of the key claims that the authors make. These authors give their position on the self-ascribed gendered norms that manifest in the form of femininity and masculinity. Brownmiller’s source claims that feminism is a social construction meant to hold women in captivity of inferiority while men are exulted for no good reason. Brownmiller believes that femininity is a deterrent to women’s success. On the other hand, the second source claims that traditional stereotyping is strongly etched in contemporary society.

It is often argued that authors ought to consult logical and persuasive facts to support their argument (Agrawal 9). Otherwise, without a strong sense of proof, everyone can make easily sanctioned submissions to become legit sources. The authors of the subject articles differ in this sense. While Sven Kachel, Melanie C. Steffens, and Claudia Niedlich go out of their way to support their claims, Susan Brownmiller uses personal experiences and opinions which are hard to verify. However, it should be noted that Brownmiller’s item is still informative as it has substance in it. Brownmiller debates an issue that people are aware of across the globe. Perhaps, the universal acknowledgement of gender stereotypes convinces Brownmiller that she does not need a scholarly approach to convince the audience about her thoughts. With the straightforward subject matter, Brownmiller assumes that everyone should agree with her. However, when her position is put in the spotlight for a legitimacy test, it cannot stand. Every bit of Brownmiller’s work is written in the first person. Its over-reliance on personal standpoints and less reference to credible sources are strong premises that critics can use to shoot it down.

On the other hand, Kachel, Steffens, and Niedlich seem to understand the issue’s seriousness. Consequently, they chose to formulate their submissions in a manner which is aligned with credibility. In other words, they build their points on experts’ available and relevant works. In so doing, they make it hard for critics to make counterarguments. Individuals who would wish to oppose their stance would be compelled to seek legit evidence to back their disagreements. At no point does the trio employ unsubstantiated assumptions. For every claim, the authors ensure that they attach a dependable source from known experts who have either conducted experiments or critically delved into the issue of gender stereotypes.

Notably, both articles address the same subject; perceptions of women’s femininity and men’s masculinity. Most of the readers who go through both works have little content regarding the subject matter. In the global public domain, men are often associated with particular traits and identities distinct from women. This traditional stereotyping prevails up to date. Despite the global acknowledgement of the issue, authors attempting to make submissions are bound to consult plausible references. To a great extent, Kachel, Steffens, and Niedlich abide by this requirement. For this reason, their work qualifies for debate by experts. Agrawal (9) submits that rather than relying on individual or group perceptions, experts are expected to seek concrete proof that can stand the wave of critics, which can be very harsh and unforgiving if negligence is discovered.

Relative to Kachel, Steffens, and Niedlich’s work, Brownmiller’s work is defeated. To begin with, her work is heavily dependent on subjective perspectives, which are open to debate. For every argument she makes, a person willing to oppose the proposed standpoint is free to make refutations. Besides, it is easy to contend that Brownmiller’s work is a product of her gender biases. Being a woman, she ought to blend her work with previous credible resources to defeat her gender influence. Because authoritative sources are not reliant on emotions or empathy, siding with Kachel, Steffens, and Niedlich at the expense of Brownmiller is the logical option.

My description of the two articles is based on a critical analysis of the arguments and facts presented. In my view, Brownmiller was too emotional when writing the article. She used her experience to argue that gender stereotyping is evil. I would not expect her to agree with my position. Her article was a message to female readers that they should not accept self-imposed limitations in the form of feminism, which limited her from early success. She expressed a strong self-belief that cannot be changed even if objective reasoning was employed. On the other hand, Kachel, Steffens, and Niedlich limited their article to stating empirical findings alone. As a result, their claims were unbiased and objective. I would expect them to agree with me as they relied on research to assert themselves.

Altogether, both sources highlight a pressing issue that continues to raise heated debates in our society. Unfortunately, source one takes a different position from mine. I adore that women and men are defined by feminism and masculinity. In my view, both are strengths, as women are deemed perfect in certain areas while men are considered best suited for certain roles. I understand that Brownmiller would oppose my position as she blames feminism as the cause of her delayed success. Source 2 takes a similar position to mine. In particular, women are more feminine than men, while men are more masculine than men. This suggests that both are our strengths. I would expect its authors to agree with me.



Works Cited

Agrawal, Karoon. “Ethics and Evidence-Based Research: Is There a Conflict?” Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery, vol. 46, no. 1, 2013, pp. 9-10.

Brownmiller, Susan. Femininity. 2013.

Kachel, Sven, et al. “Traditional Masculinity and Femininity: Validation of a New Scale Assessing Gender Roles.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 7, no. 956, 2016.



















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