[Ebook] ↠ I'm Afraid of Men Author Vivek Shraya – Alwaysonltd.co.uk

I'm Afraid of Men 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 wayinsight 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 this for me was Shraya s take on the good manInI 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 wayinsight 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 this for me was Shraya s take on the good manIn spite of my negative experiences, I ve maintained a robust attachment to the idea of the good man A common theme in my encounters and relationships is my certainty that the men I have admired were good , a synonym for different from the rest The attachment to the promise of goodness is what left me bereft when, in various ways, I discovered that each of these men wasn t one of the good guysShe goes on to talk about how instead of categorizing men or anyone, really as good , that we value specific characteristics one possesses such as communication, dependability, and the like If we are to focus on specific characteristics as opposed to categorizing people as generally good , it not only eliminates the elevated image we ve created of them, but unlike how being good cancels out when one does something bad , these character attributes can coexist alongside one another Although I can t speak to experiences one faces in the LGBTQ community, I can relate to the experiences and scenarios presented that affect women on a daily basis What I liked about this was also that it didn t skip past the fact that women who defend or feed into misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia are equally to blame Overall, I thought this was very well written, and at 96 pages, the only thing I wish is that it was longer 4.5 Moving, accessible, important that s what this book is I loved it My only complaint is that it was so short I think this is a great intro ish level book on feminism 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 4.5 Moving, accessible, important that s what this book is I loved it My only complaint is that it was so short I think this is a great intro ish level book on feminism 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 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 Imagine Gender For The Twenty First CenturyVivek Shraya Has Reason To Be Afraid Throughout Her Life She S Endured Acts Of Cruelty And Aggression For Being Too Feminine As A Boy And Not Feminine Enough As A Girl In Order To Survive Childhood, She Had To Learn To Convincingly Perform Masculinity As An Adult, She Makes Daily Compromises To Steel Herself Against Everything From Verbal Attacks To HeartbreakWith Raw Honesty, Shraya Delivers An Important Record Of The Cumulative Damage Caused By Misogyny, Homophobia, And Transphobia, Releasing Trauma From A Body That Has Always Refused To Assimilate I M Afraid Of Men Is A Journey From Camouflage To A Riot Of Color And A Blueprint For How We Might Cherish All That Makes Us Different And Conquer All That Makes Us Afraid So am I Vivek Shraya has written a timely essay about her and the world s struggle with masculinity What we accept as normal behavior in boys is pretty unsettling when you write it down Femininity is seen as a negative in our world, so if a boy displays feminine traits, he is automatically denigrated She talks about how she was not accepted with either sex Boys and girls made fun of her one creep spit on her back, as Vivek was waiting at a bus stop, while the creep s girlfriend giggled Sh So am I Vivek Shraya has written a timely essay about her and the world s struggle with masculinity What we accept as normal behavior in boys is pretty unsettling when you write it down Femininity is seen as a negative in our world, so if a boy displays feminine traits, he is automatically denigrated She talks about how she was not accepted with either sex Boys and girls made fun of her one creep spit on her back, as Vivek was waiting at a bus stop, while the creep s girlfriend giggled She is so afraid of getting attacked in the street that she has health problems from the anxiety that creates This is a brave and unsettling piece of writing A worthwhile, sobering account of Shraya s own experiences with toxic masculinity and societal expectations of gender roles hardly unfamiliar topics if you read a lot of this kind of nonfiction, but Shraya s perspective as a queer trans woman of color is a valuable addition to the discourse, and I d highly recommend this over a lot of similar books, especially if you re looking for something short and punchy My only issue is that at 96 pages or under 2 hours on audio, which is how I consumed A worthwhile, sobering account of Shraya s own experiences with toxic masculinity and societal expectations of gender roles hardly unfamiliar topics if you read a lot of this kind of nonfiction, but Shraya s perspective as a queer trans woman of color is a valuable addition to the discourse, and I d highly recommend this over a lot of similar books, especially if you re looking for something short and punchy My only issue is that at 96 pages or under 2 hours on audio, which is how I consumed it this text sort of awkwardly sits in between long form article and book in a way that suffers occasionally for its brevity Shraya s societal observations are where this book shines, consistently it s in the details of her own life that the reader is left a bit wanting But as this isessay than memoir it s hard to fault it too much for that This was a very eye opening read that I can see myself revisiting again and again This was such a powerful book I must admit I knew very little about transsexuals and I had no idea how many different ways rejection impacted their perception of self and identity To constantly have to check yourself as far as a gender meter am I too feminine for this group too masculine for this group seems to me to be a burden that would be overwhelming Vivek is raw and honest about how life treats this community and how quickly allies can turn away from you if you do not meet t This was such a powerful book I must admit I knew very little about transsexuals and I had no idea how many different ways rejection impacted their perception of self and identity To constantly have to check yourself as far as a gender meter am I too feminine for this group too masculine for this group seems to me to be a burden that would be overwhelming Vivek is raw and honest about how life treats this community and how quickly allies can turn away from you if you do not meet their expectations a powerful and important book 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 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 really it s on toxic masculinity I don t believe that toxic masculinity is a useful concept but that is what this book is about For example, calling gay men groping gay men in a gay bar misogyny it s not Also, the whole homophobia is just misogyny point is one I find irritating Maybe homophobia is based in misogyny, but how is saying that helpful, how is it clarifying How is calling men shaming other men for not being muscular misogyny helpful Here, it comes across as an attempt to argue that male people including cis men suffer from misogyny just as much as women An attempt by Vivek to wrap up a bunch of their negative experiences by labelling them all the product of misogyny Pass Being a gender non conforming person is scary and lonely and hard but this analysis is Just Bad 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 girlby 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 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 girlby 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, visual art, and film , and in I m Afraid of Men trulya long essay than a full length book she uses stories from her unusual life to illustrate her journey from being born a boy who was always accused of being too feminine, to coming out as a gay man who was then accused of not being buff enough to fit into the gay culture to eventually transitioning into a woman, who is now accused of not being feminine enough Throughout this process of self discovery, Shraya has learned to be afraid of men and women, too who would confront nonconformity with violence, and while some of her declarative statements weren t quite self evident to me, I think that hers is an important voice to add to any conversation about gender or sexual nonconformity Hearing stories about how other people live helps to move them into familiar territory familiarity must lead to acceptance and safety here s to a world in which Shraya is no longer afraid of men Note I read an ARC and quotes may not be in their final forms I have to admit that it challenges me to have Shraya describe her time when she presented as a gay man someone who was butch and buff, spoke in a low register, dressed in neutrals and plaid and then say that she spent ten of those years in a relationship with a woman Ultimately describing herself as a queer trans girl , Shraya was still presenting as this butch gay man when she met her current boyfriend, and was together with him for a while before she even realised she wanted to transition it challenges me to think that this boyfriend would stay along for the ride as his male partner became a female or rather, began to outwardly express that part of herself Yet, I like being challenged in this thinking who or how other people decide to love doesn t affect me at all Even so, some of Shraya s most politically progressive statements made me raise an eyebrowOn the heirarchy of harassment, staring is the least violent consequence for my gender nonconformity that I could hope for In this particular relationship, the process of exposure is especially protracted by how jarring it feels to see my brown skin against your pale skin, the skin of the oppressor Whether it s through an emphasis on being large and muscular, or asserting dominance by an extended or intimidating stride on sidewalks, being loud in bars, manspreading on public transit, or enacting harm or violence on others, taking up space is a form of misogyny because so often the space that men try to seize and dominate belongs to women and gender nonconforming people But again, I d rather be challenged in my thinking than read only things that chime with what I already think I believe and this book gives me plenty to think on As for what solutions Shraya offers, that was challenging as well Out of this fear comes a desire not only to reimagine masculinity but to blur gendered boundaries altogether and celebrate gender creativity It s not enough to let go of the misplaced hope for a good or a better man It s not enough to honour femininity Both of these options might offer a momentary respite from the dangers of masculinity, but in the end they only perpetuate a binary and the pressure that bears down when we live at different ends of the spectrum Just as Shraya now appreciates the chest hair a black flame rising from my brathan I ever did when I was a boy who regularly waxed and trimmed to adhere to the 90s standard , she can see a future where gender creativity is celebrated and everyone walks down the street, expressing themselves fluidly and without fear of violence I don t know if I can quite see that future, but I do firmly believe that the first step in any cultural revolution is listening to the stories of others and embracing them as part of the larger human story I wish for Shraya that fear free future Sometimes I read 300 orpage 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 smuch 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 the interactions I have had with guys So much of what V Sometimes I read 300 orpage 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 smuch 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 the interactions I have had with guys So much of what Vivek Shraya shares in here is a punch in the heart because it s oh so true She chose carefully which episodes from her life she wanted to share, but these episodes are meaningful and raw and provide comfort at times.Two months ago, I was hanging out with this guy I liked We had fun conversations online and I met him three years before So I thought we could try hanging out in real life to see if we connect He seemed so sweet online and through the phone So we did that Turns out he was a nice person to be around and I started to like his real life version a lot quickly because of our previous conversations But the moment I let him know I found him attractive and allowed him to touch me, our interactions went from friendly to something I didn t really understand Until, you know, he said he wanted to be friends with benefits Did not see it coming.That and Shraya made me realize that once a guy is aware that he is attractive to you, he feels as though he is permitted to touch you or flirt with you or even say vulgar things like, If you want a guy to believe in butterflies in the stomach, suck his d Other times, they don t even need that confirmation Obviously I m not sharing everything But I have to say that I overlooked a lot of the things this guy said to me because I liked his attention and he seemed to care Did he really care Probably not I also participated in the flirting because he liked it a lot but now I wish I had behavedlike Shraya and refused to flirt back because although some of those conversations were exciting they often left me feeling a bit empty inside And being over sexualized over and over is not the best feeling in the world But, well, you learn And you slowly start thinking about what YOUR needs are and what YOU deserve and makes YOU feel good You know what the saddest part is Even though I found that guy attractive and he let me know he didn t want a girlfriend, I was okay with being just friends But the flirting continued and continued and what s the point It s not meaningful It s not going anywhere So, I guess, I m afraid of men too sometimes because I don t know what s in their heads and I don t know what they mean and don t mean I don t know if they re interested in me because I have a refreshing point of view to them or because they like my body I feel like I never will know these things until I ask or until I stop overlooking If something doesn t feel right, then it probably isn t Although Shraya is over suspicious, I think she is right to be so aware in the world and be careful and ready to bolt if a situation starts going downhill because the opposite being too trusting and caring too fast and wanting to fix things that have no business being fixed is much, much worse Blog Youtube Twitter Instagram Google Bloglovin 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 has felt at the hands of men and misogynistic wome 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 has felt at the hands of men and misogynistic women and how she wants us all to move forward to create a better world A short paragraph in which she reflects on what she wishes she had learned growing up as a boyWhen I was learning to be a man, I wish that instead of the coaching I received to take up space, I had been taught to be respectful of space To be ever conscious of and ever grateful to those whose sacred land I inhabit To be mindful of the space and bodies of others, especially feminine bodies To never presume that I am permitted to touch the body of another, no matter how queer the space To give up or create space when I am affordedthan others Though this book falls on the shorter side, Shraya shares many insights that I wishpeople thought of She discusses how our expectations for men are way too low, how the idea of a good man prevents us from positively reinforcing specific behaviors men should practice , and how the gender binary makes us all feel afraid I m Afraid of Men has both intellectual and emotional honesty As someone who has also felt afraid of men throughout his life because of how they have hurt me, I appreciated Shraya s personal disclosures a lot and they made me feel connected and less alone, despite the differences in our social identities Recommended to anyone who wants a succinct yet compelling exploration of gender, as well as for people who have a difficulty trusting men I ll end this review with another earnest passage toward the end of the bookI wonder what my life might have been like if my so called feminine tendencies, such as being sensitive, or my interests, such as wearing my mother s clothing, or even my body had not been gendered or designated as either feminine or masculine at all Despite the ways in which my gender felt enforced, I sometimes miss elements of my masculine past, like the thickness of my beard or the once impressive width of my biceps Maybe this missing is actually mourning in disguise, for having to surrender aspects of my appearance I worked hard to achieve Or maybe I m mourning a life that I still don t get to fully live because it s one I continue to have to defend and authenticate What if I didn t have to give up any characteristics, especially ones I like, to outwardly prove I am a girl What if living my truth now didn t immediately render everything that came before, namely my manhood, a lie


About the Author: Vivek Shraya

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 University of Calgary.


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