One of the biggest challenges women face today is the question of being “enough”. Not only at that personal fear in the middle of the night level, where you contemplate whether you are doing enough for your loved ones, your career, your community and your career, but also the this feeling of being feminist enough.
Identifying as a feminist can be simple or hard, and come at a variety of times in a persons life and have a different application for each feminist. Much is made of celebrities having a “feminist awakening”. For me, it was at a young age, where I recognised myself in Louisa May Alcott’s Jo March, who was fierce, fiery, clever and not afraid of hard choices in a world so foreign from my own –civil war, pre-suffrage, pre-abolition of slavery. I wish I was a teenager now, where there is so much exciting debate and material on the internet about versions of feminism. Trolling through the seminal feminist books at the library was not nearly as vibrant, discursive or accessible. Neither was participating in the debate easy. My girlfriends, from school, who remain such a strong force in my world, looked at me like I might be a little crazy for my vehement opposition to their débutante balls.
That moment, where your views are met with indifference, confusion or even anger, is a challenge for an emerging feminist. You are like a mole, popping your head into the bright new world, which blinds you with all the injustices and inequities, but that temporary blindness makes you blind to the range of views and diversity within your new world.
Though the meaning is perfectly clear, my favourite version is that of Nigerian author and thinker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, the application and approaches are as diverse as the men and women who identify with the term. There is a constant debate about the choices feminists are making, whether they work, whether they breed, what they wear, who they date, whether they marry, what work they pursue, how aware of their privilege they are and a countless number of other choices. This debate seeks to make out that feminism is some kind of rule book rather than a discussion, a conversation and a process. Making feminists question whether they are enough, makes it nigh impossible to make the progress made to end the unequal outcomes, the experience of violence and discrimination that defines the challenges facing women. The last thing women need is further regulation and rules over their behaviour and choices. So I’ll be declaring myself, feminist enough.