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I'm Afraid of Men
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I'm Afraid of Men
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Named a Best Book by: The Globe and Mail, Indigo, Out Magazine, Audible, CBC, Apple, Quill & Quire, Kirkus Reviews, Brooklyn Public Library, Writers' Trust of Canada, Autostraddle, Bitch, and...
Named a Best Book by: The Globe and Mail, Indigo, Out Magazine, Audible, CBC, Apple, Quill & Quire, Kirkus Reviews, Brooklyn Public Library, Writers' Trust of Canada, Autostraddle, Bitch, and...
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  • Named a Best Book by: The Globe and Mail, Indigo, Out Magazine, Audible, CBC, Apple, Quill & Quire, Kirkus Reviews, Brooklyn Public Library, Writers' Trust of Canada, Autostraddle, Bitch, and BookRiot.
    Finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Award, Transgender Nonfiction
    Nominated for the 2019 Forest of Reading Evergreen Award
    Winner of the 2018 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design – Prose Non-Fiction
    "Cultural rocket fuel." —Vanity Fair
    "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 reimagine gender for the twenty-first century.

    Vivek 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 heartbreak.
    Now, with 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 colour and a blueprint for how we might cherish all that makes us different and conquer all that makes us afraid.

Excerpts-

  • From the book 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.

    My fear was so acute that it took almost two decades to undo the damage of rejecting my femininity, to salvage and reclaim my girlhood. Even now, after coming out as a trans girl, I am more afraid than ever. This fear governs many of the choices I make, from the beginning of my day to the end.

    In the morning, as I get ready for work, I avoid choosing clothes or accessories that will highlight my femininity and draw unwanted attention. On the hierarchy of harassment, staring is the least violent consequence for my gender nonconformity that I could hope for. And yet the experience of repeatedly being stared at has slowly mutated me into an alien.

    If I decide to wear tight pants, I walk quickly to my bus stop to avoid being seen by the construction workers outside my building, who might shout at me as they have on other mornings.

    When I'm on a packed bus or streetcar, I avoid making eye contact with men, so that no man will think I might be attracted to him and won't be able to resist the urge to act upon this attraction. I squeeze my shoulders inward if a man sits next to me, so that I don't accidentally touch him.

    If I open Twitter or Facebook on the way to work, I brace myself for news reports of violence against women and gender-nonconforming people, whether it's a story about another trans woman of colour who has been murdered, or the missing and murdered Indigenous women, or sexual assault. As important as it is to make these incidents visible by reporting them, sensationalizing and digesting these stories is also a form of social control, a reminder that I need to be afraid and to try to be as invisible as possible.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2018
    In this collection of brief and poignant memories, trans artist and musician Shraya (The Boy & the Bindi, 2016, etc.) reflects on how men exert control over the ways in which people express identity.Experiences with harassment trained South Asian-Canadian Shraya to camouflage herself among straight men. She altered the way she walked, the way she dressed, and what food she purchased at the grocery store. Through vignettes from different stages of her life--as an adolescent with a "budding sashay" and "soprano laughter," as an adult seeking affection from gay men in bars, and then as an openly trans woman developing her career in music--she shares the rejection and the pressure she faced for not fitting into a white enough or skinny enough mold and for not conforming to men's expectations of her sexuality. Her fear formed "because of cumulative damage" from "everyday experiences." Not only does she critique the way men treat women, but she examines the problems with societal expectations of men as well as the need to "celebrate gender creativity." Shraya crafts each of her memories in prose made poetic with touches of metaphor. She writes with honesty and vulnerability, all the while asking challenging and personal questions that inspire deeper reflection. This crucial addition to shelves offers the vital and often ignored perspective of a trans woman of color.A book to carry with you. (Nonfiction. 16-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Penguin Canada
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