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I'm Afraid of Men
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I'm Afraid of Men

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4.33  ·  Rating details ·  989 ratings  ·  124 reviews
"Emotional and painful but also layered with humour, I'm Afraid of Men will widen your lens on gender and challenge you to do better. This challenge is a necessary one—one we must all take up. It is a gift to dive into Vivek's heart and mind."
—Rupi Kaur, bestselling author of The Sun and Her Flowers and Milk and Honey


A trans artist explores how masculinity was imposed on
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Hardcover, 96 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Penguin Books Canada
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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
4.5! Moving, accessible, important: that's what this book is! I loved it. My only complaint is that it was so short! Full review to come on my blog.

"What if you were to challenge yourself every time you feel afraid of me, and all of us who are pushing against gendered expectations and restrictions? What if you cherished us as archetypes of realized potential? What if you were to surrender to sublime possibility, yours and mine? Might you then free me at last of my fear and of your own?"
Krista
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm afraid of men because it was men who taught me fear.

I'm afraid of men because it was men who taught me to fear the word
girl by turning it into a weapon they used to hurt me. I'm afraid of men because it was men who taught me to hate and eventually destroy my femininity. I'm afraid of men because it was men who taught me to fear the extraordinary parts of myself.

As per her current author blurb, “Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, poetry, fiction, v
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l.
Tbh Vivek just isn’t in command of her material here. The way Vivek continually conflates femininity and women is extremely irritating and I’m fed up of trans writers doing this. I’m tried of people substituting the word feminine for female - which Vivek does repeatedly. They’re not interchangeable. If you can discuss male privilege and behaviours, you can acknowledge that female people exist. We are not just non-males.

Really the book’s biggest problem is that it claims to be about misogyny but
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Monika
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
This was an incredible essay. In so few pages Vivek Shraya really drives her point home. It's as heart wrenching as it is illuminating. This is essential reading - for everyone.

Special thanks to NetGalley for the ARC! I'm Afraid of Men comes out August 28. Please pick up a copy. If you're only buying one book this year, let it be this one.
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This slim volume is a longish essay about the author’s experiences as a bisexual teen and then later as a trans woman. There aren’t any insights here that anyone up on contemporary feminism would find surprising, but the deeply personal aspect of the essays makes it a compelling read nonetheless. 3.5⭐ ...more
Kiki
Aug 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
How to describe this book? It's essentially an almanac of whining. Shraya, born into privilege and now a university professor after struggling for many years to achieve fame as a pop star, enumerates the ways in which she's felt oppressed, or even made slightly uncomfortable, by men (and women -- basically everyone) through the years. I was excited for something substantive, but this was insufferable.
Beth
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I initially picked up this book hoping to see through the eyes of a trans woman and educate myself on what her path might look like.

What I discovered was an insight into a very difficult journey but along with that I was challenged in my own perception of gender conformity. It made me think about our roles in society and I found that it gave me a little bit of strength and encouragement to explore my own feelings on the topic. My can of nonconforming worms has been well and truly opened.

And fo
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Jackie
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Some will be afraid of this book and that’s exactly why they - and you - should read it. It makes you think, it makes you nod in agreement and shake your head at the behaviour of some and most importantly forces you to consider yourself.
Elisabeth Manley
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Make yourself smaller, invisible, don’t take up too much space, don’t accidentally rub arms with the man next to you on the subway. Don’t make eye contact, or smile, don’t accidentally show an interest that could be seen as “asking for it”, whatever “it” may be. Vivek Shraya speaks to the little things we do every day out of fear, whether we notice we do them or not. She doesn’t only limit this to men, this fear also extends to women; women who encourage these men, women who do not support each ...more
chantel nouseforaname
This was a hard and very instigating read for me that I could and couldn’t relate to on LEVELS. I have many issues with so many concepts in this book and they mainly stem from the pointed questions, relating to her own experience, that Vivek uses to paint cis-gendered woman in this almost-as-bad as men sort of dynamic, towards the end..which may be true in some cases, but to have it depicted that way.. you know, it’s alienating. Maybe, that’s what she wants, to shake shit up, but I didn’t like i ...more
Dylan
*I've chosen to try to no longer rate memoirs unless I find it problematic/harmful or is a five star read.

I really appreciated this and Vivek's experiences being a trans queer woman, but I just feel like this book is too short. She would start to talk about her experiences and I could tell that there was more but it was edited down to be a shorter book.
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
I don't know how to rate this, so I won't at the moment. There were several passages that were thought provoking, but was not the uncomfortable or confronting read I was expecting. Particularly the (very relatable) concept of wanting to be seen/desired, but also be invisible at the same time. I'm the same age as Shraya, and live in the same part of the country, but I'm white and cis. And right now, I am becoming invisible. Pushing 40, no longer desirable. But for someone who's trans, gender non- ...more
Basma
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
One of those books that I’m finding it hard to review so I’m just going to let it go..
Prakash
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After reading "even this page is white" I never thought I would see my experience as a (gender)queer South Asian person living in Canada so acutely expressed in literature. But "I'm Afraid of Men" has done just that. Vivek Shraya so succinctly and devastatingly recounts how the systemic violence of a forced gender binary robs us of the ability to both be safe and be ourselves.

I really hope everyone who has ever cared about me reads this book so they can understand what I mean when I too say, "I
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Lisa H
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, everyone should read this book. Shraya examines how masculinity has effected her life, she was too feminine as a boy, and is not feminine enough as a girl. It brings up tough questions about gender and asks us to reconsider what it means to be a "good" man. How do we make good less nebulous? In what ways does the way we think about gender need to change? This books asks hard questions but they are exactly the discussions we need to be having right now.
Liz Laurin
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this book is incredible but I feel the need to consider my review better as a queer white cis woman.

I underlined many passages and felt it very deeply.
Charlotte (charandbooks)
This was a conflicting read for me. I felt that the intersectional comments and her experience were so valuable but was thrown off when her arguments fell into the trap of confined socially assigned gender roles (like being afraid of “too masculine” and “dominating women at dinner parties”). She says at one point that she is afraid that her “story is not unusually and probably mild compared to others”. Sadly I would have to agree with that statement and was then rubbed the wrong way when she sai ...more
Sarah
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I think as a memoir it succeeds, but it has the flavour of a manifesto, and I guess that's where I stumbled with it. In summary--I don't think women or anyone assigned female at birth (AFAB) would find any of her experiences surprising. Distressing, of course, but not surprising. I think any woman or AFAB person has lots of similar experiences.
Again, it's memoir and it's hard to questions another person's experiences. The entire first section, where s
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Jane
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jane by: 154
This book is a necessary antidote to cisgender, white perspectives of feminism in a post-#MeToo era (whatever that even means anymore!). What I found particularly powerful about Shraya's theorizing of masculinity is all the love and hope the narrator (and younger selves) gives the men who hurt her that, throughout the telling, violently gets thwarted and betrayed. We become, then, all the more aware of how the narrator is providing that love and hope herself, how that capacity remains even amids ...more
Karina
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ll wait to share my favourite quotes until this comes out but wow do I have a few!
I
Love
Good
Essays
Andy Bird
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
A slim, 84 pages, hyper personal essay / memoir of being trans, bi, a person of color & what it would mean to be a "Good man". If you're interested in sexuality or gender I would highly recommend It!
Elissa
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This is not a long book; it is more of an essay that can be read slowly. Split into two parts ("you" and "me" — describing the abuse laid out against Shraya by "you" and the way she confronted her own internal biases in "me"), this is a quiet, powerful essay about toxic masculinity and the western culture's entrenchment in it. A lot of great quotes, but I can't seem to pull from the book without wanting to bookend them with all the context, and so. I just recommend that you read it yourself.
Sunny
An essential read for everyone. most especially for cisgender people and people who don't experience harassment and gender based violence regularly. it reads like a bunch of non-linear vignettes that build a picture of how male violence shapes everything about life as a woman and as a gender nonconforming person. I had to take a couple of breaks because reading it was resurfacing intense and traumatizing things that had happened to me in the past. Very important read for everyone.
Emily
This manifesto hit a lot of points for me. I know mostly people who are in academia will want to read this, but I really think it's accessible to everyone. Vivek simply highlights her experiences with and around men, as well as those that come because she is a trans-woman and queer. But the end also asks some important questions, and offers suggestions as to how we need to re-train our brains to think of gender and the roles that come with it, they way we think of "good" and "bad" people, and wh ...more
Brandon Forsyth
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Vivek Shraya's writing is undeniably important: direct and powerful, a voice that should be heard more widely. It certainly forced me to examine the ways in which my masculinity has been programmed (why don't I own any dress shirts that aren't black, blue, or white?) and may be threatening to those around me (why do I walk so aggressively?). Coupled with Vivek's deeply moving personal story and bravery in talking about some of her deepest relationships, there's a lot here in under 100 pages, but ...more
Julia Moreira
“I have always been disturbed by this transition, by the reality that often the only way to capture someone’s attention and to encourage them to recognize their own internal biases (and to work to alter them) is to confront them with sensational stories of suffering. Why is my humanity only seen or cared about when I share the ways in which I have been victimized and violated?”
Krystal Hicks
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was incredible powerful. Vivek’s honesty was inspiring and also eye opening. Definitely a must read. Thank you to Penguin Randomhouse for the ARC.
Kim Trusty
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Clear-eyed and questioning. A concise and emotional. A necessary read.
Laura
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Required reading.
Critterbee❇
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
*e-Arc Netgalley*
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Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, poetry, fiction, visual art, and film. A Publishing Triangle Award winner, her books include I'm Afraid of Men, even this page is white, The Boy & The Bindi, and She of the Mountains. Shraya is one half of music duo Too Attached and founder of publishing imprint VS. Books. She teaches creative writing at the Univer ...more
“I have always been disturbed by this transition, by the reality that often the only way to capture someone’s attention and to encourage them to recognize their own internal biases (and to work to alter them) is to confront them with sensational stories of suffering. Why is my humanity only seen or cared about when I share the ways in which I have been victimized and violated?” 4 likes
“Queerness is associated with freedom from boundaries.” 2 likes
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