I'm Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

I'm Afraid of Men

"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 her as a boy and continues to haunt her as a girl--and how we might re...

Details I'm Afraid of Men

TitleI'm Afraid of Men
Release DateAug 28th, 2018
PublisherPenguin Books Canada
GenreNonfiction, Feminism, Autobiography, Memoir, Glbt, Queer, Lgbt

Reviews I'm Afraid of Men

  • Lola
    Sometimes I read 300 or more-page books and I wonder if I read anything at all. Not everything I stumble across has to make me look at the world differently or teach me over and over, but I want something memorable because it’s more much valuable than a book that provides you with the kind of instant pleasure and happiness that you’ll forget about two days later. This very short book, not even 100 pages long, had my mind pausing on some of th...
  • Thomas
    A vulnerable, powerful examination of gender and masculinity from trans artist Vivek Shraya. I’m Afraid of Men reminded me of We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as Shraya uses her personal experiences of sexism and harassment to build a case for why we need to redefine and rebuild masculinity as well as gender overall. She shares her lived experience as a trans person of color with courage and incision, both the pain she ...
  • 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 fr...
  • Catherine
    I would be lying if I said that the title didn’t have a huge influence on my intrigue in this initially, however, this book ended up giving me way more insight than I could have ever guessed. Exploring masculinity from the perspective of a trans woman through her experiences both pre and post transition, Vivek Shraya delivers a very raw take on how misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia has impacted her life. A particularly insightful part in th...
  • Krista
    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 wor...
  • 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’...
  • Kiki
    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.
  • Monika
    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)
    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⭐ 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...
  • Beth
    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 nonconfo...
  • Jackie
    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
    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 ...
  • 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...
  • Basma
    One of those books that I’m finding it hard to review so I’m just going to let it go..
  • Jane
    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 ...
  • Prakash
    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 ...
  • Lisa H
    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 h...
  • Liz Laurin
    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...
  • Leah Horlick
    Essential reading for anyone new to language about micro-aggressions, and - I think, most importantly, essential reading for folks new to the queer community and not yet disenchanted with the myth of a monolithic queer utopia. When Vivek draws the distinction between queerness and having no boundaries, I wanted to cheer/sob.
  • Sarah
    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 perso...
  • Brandon Forsyth
    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 relatio...
  • Chihoe Ho
    Visceral, personal, thought-provoking, comforting, truthful, painful, eye-opening, raw, poignant... not any single adjective can properly capture the meaning and emotions of Vivek Shraya's and many other trans experiences but I'm Afraid of Men takes that step to inform, to challenge, and to just have a dialogue on sexuality, gender, and individuality. It's not the only representative of the trans experience but it should be one of the many we all...
  • Karina
    I’ll wait to share my favourite quotes until this comes out but wow do I have a few! ILoveGoodEssays
  • Andy Bird
    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!
  • Laura
    Required reading.
  • Misha
    A powerful exploration of masculinity from the perspective of a trans woman. This short read is well worth your time."If we want masculinity to be different, we must confront and tackle the baseline instead of longing for exceptions. Loving your mother, holding the door open for a woman, being a good listener, or even being a feminist doesn't make a man an exception. Experiencing oppression--including racism, homophobia, and transphobia--does't m...
  • Emy
    A short essay, highlighting Sharaya's experience of abuse, cruelty of society, misogyny, the hurtful fact that how common these experiences are :( how violence affects the self-esteem, and therefore: happiness!The book started with “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.” and in the last chapter, sh...