Relying on someone is a tricky and imprecise science. Who can we trust, and when? What happen if we mistakenly trust someone?
In feminism, we are told to trust ourselves, to trust women, to trust people concerned by some topic. It is a “told”, a requirement, not an option, not something to knowingly work toward. Is the person we are talking to concerned about a topic and not us? Then we should trust what they say.
I used to find this behavior strange, especially since thoughts and ideas on trust are so developed, with people clearly aware that deception, lying, narcissism and assholes exist. We know that people can join groups with hurtful or disruptive projects, we know that people will manipulate others, we know that people will pray on fragilised individuals. We know that good will doesn’t protect from violence, and that when helping others, it is essential to protect oneself.
Yet in the realm of feminism, we should trust the anonymous ‘Sandra’ when she tells us how wrong we are, and provides us coercive rules to follow. We should trust ‘Jo’ who tells us a horrific story and draw conclusions. We should trust whoever comes saying “I need to do this, therefore you need to support me without limits”. It seems absurd, nonsensical.
Unless there are untold rules, moral values and behaviors that drive women to advocate and fight for this blind trust, and to try to stick to it at their own peril. I believe these untold rules exist, and I believe I have learnt them like other women. If so, consciousness-raising should help me and other put words on these phenomenons.
It should help us identify why we sometimes have a strong gut reaction against certain ideas, such as an uncompromising autonomy of women akin to men’s. Why we believe we trust women, yet fail to critically examine what we trust in women, and what we don’t, so that we end up building a botched concept on a sand pile.
Image: Budzlife (detail)