feel the woman is a five-day event celebrating female connection and the future of being female and taking place at the C24 Gallery in New York City. It runs from September 27 to October 1 and is presented by intimate wellness brand Rosebud Woman and WoArt. All proceeds from the event will be donated to organizations working to protect and defend women, including the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Center for Intimacy Justice.
feel the woman will feature 50 contemporary artists, storytelling, music and dialogue on everything from cultural conversation to governance surrounding women’s bodies. A full program can be found here. The opening night’s keynote speaker will be playwright and performer V, the entertainer formerly known as Eve Ensler.
Forbes spoke with event organizer and Rosebud Woman founder Christine Marie Mason about the importance of Sensing Woman in the current moment.
Risa Sarachan: How did the idea for Sensing Woman come about?
Christine Marie Mason: It’s been a tough season to be a woman: the misogynistic underbelly of our culture has been exposed from #MeToo to the Dobbs decision. At the same time, strong voices tell new stories and push us towards more freedom. We want to amplify and highlight these voices. Artists feel what arises in the undercurrent of cultural consciousness. In this event, we ask what artists see in the embodiment of women now. We wanted to show their work and do it alongside the powerful ideas of women leaders, then layer the experience with poetry, music and connection. We hope to deprogram some unnecessary beliefs about female embodiment that have been culturally passed on, and create new friendships, alliances, and creative collisions that will move the needle for all of us.
In many ways, the body or biology is fate. If we are born into a female body, it is central to our daily lives, from the opportunities we are given to what we earn. Consciously and unconsciously, we navigate our cycles, sexuality, mating, threats of violence, risks of pregnancy, carrying and motherhood – with all the joys and concerns they bring.
The biological reality of life in a woman’s body is that our internal organs and our reproductive choices are regulated and that we live with personal and structural constraints that harm us and limit our safety. We want this destiny to be better for ourselves and our descendants, men and women. More freedom, and more convenience. With recent incursions into personal freedoms by extremist political and religious operatives, it is more evident than ever that we need a change of mind and heart.
Sarachan: How many years has this been going on?
Mason: This is the first year for Sensing Woman, but in many ways it’s inspired by things I’ve been involved with for many years (conferences and gatherings such as TED and TEDx, Lovespring and Exquisite for example), and combines it with the mission driven work at Rosebud Woman and The Rose Woman Podcast.
Sarachan: How do you design your programming?
Mason: My research has shown that to change the story of female embodiment, we have the opportunity to move from an old story to a new story in six areas: media, medicine, education, law/politics, religion/spirituality – and also to change internalized beliefs. that people wear. We called on people in each of these areas, and of course, these people knew each other. The presenters are all carrying new stories! From vaginal activist OG V (formerly Eve Ensler) to Latham Thomas, who happily and tirelessly works for maternal health equity for black women through Mama Glow. The women and men who have volunteered to support the show, especially Emme from the True Beauty Foundation and Katie Fogarty from the A Certain Age podcast, are amazing. It is designed to be circular, sensual, present, ceremonial and impactful.
Sarachan: Which featured speaker or artist are you excited about? I myself am a big fan of Sophia Wallace!
Mason: Sophia Wallace is exceptional, I agree! Her work representing gender ideals and how our bodies learn to occupy or not to occupy space was very personal to me, and the whole Cliteracy project, with all of its extensions (including the street art), has done more to educate people about this complex organ than anything anyone has ever learned in school.
I’m also very interested in hearing how censorship controls what we see digitally and hearing from Delphine O’Rourke on strategy and politics. I’m also looking forward to the evening programs: one in particular we’re doing in collaboration with Generation Woman, an evening of storytelling, where someone from every decade of life (20s, 30s, 40s, 50s , 60, 70+) tells a story, and at our Friday night silk and lace reunion with rap priestess Lizzy Jeff.
Sarachan: Where are the proceeds from this event going?
Mason: Sensing Woman is a benefit for reproductive independence and impartiality in the media. 100% of proceeds from the show go to the Center for Intimacy Justice and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Sarachan: How can people attend Sensing Woman?
Mason: If you’re in New York, you can attend Chelsea’s C24 Gallery live, with a full week pass, evening pass or day pass. You can also attend online by signing up for the simulcast. You can support the show, purchase artwork, or simply donate and give with an open heart. Visit SensingWoman.org to learn more.
Sarachan: Why is it crucial that gatherings like this exist?
Mason: We need each other to stay energized for the long haul to change our stories. And the moment of the show is vital: we need everyone who cares about reproductive independence to get active now, and that is better supported by a deeply felt sense of inner worth than by will or outrage. By playing together, learning together, creating new alliances and internalizing the new story, we become more cohesive voices for a better future.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.