Trust women. Two simple words and yet there is a world of meaning in them. What exactly does it mean? I suspect that everyone will have a different idea. When I see that phrase one of the first things I think about is how we women are often raised to mistrust each other. Some of us taught that every woman is competition for scarce resources, usually men, and therefore we should never place our trust in each other. I was lucky in that I didn't learn this lesson growing up. Instead I learned that women were the ones I could trust to be there for me, nurture me, love me. Trust women.
Narrowing my scope a bit, the phrase has another meaning as well. A meaning that is part of what today is all about. Choice. Trusting women to make choices about our bodies, our health, our lives. Our right to have self determination, agency. Our right to decide for ourselves what to do not only with our reproduction but our entire bodies. Choice does not just mean that I get to choose whether to continue a pregnancy. It means that I also have the right to choose whether I get pregnant at all. It means that I can choose what sorts of medical procedures will be done to my body and why. It means that I get to choose what my body looks like and how I want to make it look that way, regardless of whether others approve or disapprove. It means I choose who has access to my body or that I can choose to allow no one access to it. Bodily determination is not something we should have to limit to our genitals or reproductive organs.
Trust women. Let's not forget the importance of defining the word "women". Too often those of us who lay claim to the title feminist or womanist forget that not every woman is like us. Not every woman is cisexual, cisgender, heterosexual, lesbian, white, brown, black, middle class, wealthy, poor, degreed, living in the US. Not every woman has access to the internet, to safe living conditions, to health care. When we say trust women we must mean it in our soul. Every woman, no matter how different she is from us, must matter and must be trusted. If we, the "pro-woman" individuals, cannot say this and mean it down to our souls, if we cannot encompass the variety and richness of what being a woman is, then how can we expect anyone else to? How can we claim to fight for women's right to choose when we do not include every woman in that very word? It's simple. We cannot. We must fight through the various intersections of privilege we all have to see to it that when we say things like "trust women" or "right to choose" that none of our sisters is excluded, ignored, abandoned, neglected. If we can lift up and support the most marginalized of our hermanas then our ability to lift up the most privileged of them will follow as well. This should be our ultimate goal
Trust women. It is possible. It is necessary. And we must begin to make it truth.