Healthy fun: So little time so much to do!
Meditate, get a massage, do yoga, listen to music, participate in discussions on the socio-economics of health, cancer, or the objectification of the female body in the media, attend workshops in self-defense, acupuncture, African drumming...
Women– and men– can do all this and more at the first University of Virginia Women’s Health Festival on February 10. Filling up most of the day, as it incorporates body, mind, and spirit, this historic (free) festival celebrates a holistic vision of women’s health and hopes to unite, educate, and empower women (and men) of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, and sexual orientations, both on Grounds and off.
It all began last fall in an interdisciplinary seminar called Women’s Health: A Global Perspective. Inspired by the class, a few particularly passionate medical, nursing, and undergraduate students came up with the idea to organize a small women’s health fair. The word got out and, within weeks, “small” was history. More than 100 enthusiastic students signed up and, as the committees multiplied (14 at last count), the festival grew into a diverse, multifaceted health extravaganza that our mothers could never have imagined.
“Throughout most of history, women's health (if considered at all) was defined of in purely reproductive, child-bearing terms,” laments Festival Executive Director Kate Neuhausen.
“When men and women come to our festival, they have the chance to re-shape their conceptions of women's health, to re-envision how they understand their own health and interactions with the world around them, in a process that many of us believe hold the beginnings of social change.”
Reflecting the richness of its subject, the festival unites several events into one humongous holistic experience. First off, an “Interactive Health Fair” (12-5pm) in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom will combine an educational fair on women’s health issues and organizations with live music, massage, free food samples, free health food samples, plant sales, and hands-on craft activities.
Enhancing the fair and providing a forum for some of the tougher topics will be numerous “Interdisciplinary Events” (12-7pm): panels, speakers, workshops, and performances addressing everything from the health of Islamic women in the Middle East to local female DJs and options for unplanned pregnancies in Charlottesville.
The festival’s grand-finale (as if it needed one) will be the “Multicultural Show” (7-9pm), a sure-to-be inspiring and entertaining mix of multicultural musical and dance performances, connected by a narrative telling the story of how women define themselves and their health in the context of their cultures and beliefs.
The University of Virginia Women’s Health Festival takes place on Monday, February 10, from 12-9pm in Newcomb Hall. The event is free and open to the public. For schedule and other info, see the Festival’s website at student.virginia.edu/~uvanow/WHF/.