Top positive review
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He's a real man
on November 27, 2012
When we think man, we think dick. Not as in "he's a dick" but as in "he has one." However, there are men out there who defy this physical norm. T Cooper was born female. He was labeled a tomboy in his early years and a dyke in his later years. However, these words didn't describe him. He was a man and he is still a man.
Nonetheless, this dick thing really gets in the way. Imagine being a man without one. You would be terrified to pee in a public restroom and scared of airport scanners, of doctor's offices, of people thinking you're a freak and possibly beating you up, of your own family calling you the wrong pronoun. As a transgender man (FTM=female to male), T Cooper worries about all of these things and more on a daily basis.
Real Man Adventures is memoir-like, but it's peppered with interviews, haikus, and poignant six word memoirs. Cooper's writing is engaging and thoughtful. He will make you laugh, make you angry at the injustice, make you feel the pain of indignity, and the fear of ignorance.
I was a little turned off my the amount of anger that T Cooper has. Much of this book was a rant about how stupid and unfeeling people can be, which I agree with, but that's not the most effective way to communicate. It's like Richard Wright in the 60s. Dude, I know you're angry and you have every right to be, but you're wearing me out.
Also a turn off: the low level misogyny of the book. When I say low level, I mean T Cooper is acutely aware of his misogynistic tendencies, which makes them less offensive. Perhaps these tendencies are a protective mechanism since he is in "the man club," which is inherently misogynistic? But you would think that someone who knows prejudice so intimately would empathize more with other marginalized groups (FYI: he does touch on racism in an extremely interesting interview). His redeeming quality is that he is in love with and respectful of his wife.
Overall I really enjoyed this book! T Cooper makes a great point about how being a man isn't physical. It means being a good husband, a good father, a good person. There are plenty of dicks out there who don't act like real men.
Plus, I have to admire Cooper's bravery in publishing Real Man Adventures, when he has no idea what people with think or do when they find out he is not what society deems "a real man."