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Esther Perel + Ayad Akhtar

The Masculinity Paradox

Thursday, April 4, 2019
7:00 PM–8:30 PM
Sold Out

How is power to be shared between men and women? Is it a zero-sum game as some might lead us to believe? With our experiences so deeply intertwined, it seems impossible to truly change the lives of women without changing the lives of men. So what next?

Debates around patriarchy, gender identity , toxic masculinity, fatherhood, and changing sexual dynamics surround us like fog. No matter where we look, they are shading and shaping our perceptions and our interactions, throwing us into an unusual time of transition, confusion, and trouble.

Psychotherapist Esther Perel believes modern-day men appear to be both accepting and rejecting of the dominant vision of what it means to be a “real” man—leaving several generations unmoored, without a clear north star for masculinity. Meanwhile, women remain justifiably frustrated as negative male attitudes and behaviors continue to prevail in the workplace and at home. Changing the lives of men and women requires us to confront our collusions with the status quo and change accordingly.

On the Brainwave stage, Perel meets with Pulitzer Prize”“winning playwright Ayad Akhtar (Junk, Disgraced), to discuss shifting power dynamics between men and women.

“A man is a funny thing. A man is what he has. That’s the truth. Nobody wants to admit it. Everybody wants to say it’s something else. Something more noble. But it’s not. What a man has is what makes him in the eyes of the world, and in his own eyes. And the last thing a man wants to feel is that there’s another man out there who has what he doesn’t, and that the woman he might be falling in love with knows it.” —from Ayad Akhtar’s Junk

About the Speakers

Photo by Karen Harms

Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her celebrated TED talks have garnered more than 20 million views and her international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence became a global phenomenon translated into 25 languages. Her newest book is the New York Times bestseller The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity (HarperCollins). Esther is also an executive producer and host of the popular podcast Where Should We Begin? Learn more at or by following @EstherPerelOfficial on Instagram.

Ayad Akhtar is the author of Junk (Lincoln Center, Broadway; 2018 Kennedy Prize for American Drama); Disgraced (Lincoln Center, Broadway; Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony nomination); The Who & The What (Lincoln Center); and The Invisible Hand (Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, Olivier and Evening Standard nominations). As a novelist, he is the author of American Dervish (Little, Brown & Co.) published in over 20 languages. He is the recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2017 Steinberg Playwriting Award, 2017 Nestroy Award, as well as fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, MacDowell, the Sundance Institute, and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. He is a Board Trustee at PEN/America and New York Theatre Workshop.

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