In my It's a Small World post, reader projektleiterin responded with a great question of her own for me. I think it's a totally fair question:
...most guys I hear talking about equal rights strike me as quite insincere (very professional method for picking up gullible women who love fawning over a sensitive man who takes their issues seriously) or as having issues with themselves (nice guy syndrome). The only question I have is, what motivates you as a man to deal with the issues of women?
I keep thinking I've written about this, but I can't, for the life of me, figure out where. So, why do I care about women's issues? Why am I a feminist? What motivates me, as a man, to get involved?
The short answer: I think it's the right thing to do.
The long answer: Most of my thoughts on women's issues are grounded in my philosophical beliefs. A lot of my beliefs are based on theories of fairness- I'm concerned about and interested in making sure that people are treated fairly. When people are treated unfairly, it creates un-necessary suffering and hardship. When we work to increase fairness, I think that we all benefit, and the world is a better place. I think that all of us have an obligation to try to make the world a better place, and that improving the status of women is one way to do that.
While I spend a great deal of time discussing and addressing the issues that women face, and sexism as I see it, I try to discuss and address issues surrounding race and sexuality, too. I think that the discussions I have here and on other blogs help make me a better person, and (I hope) help other people as well. I'm also a believer in the idea that all of these things are interconnected. I think that women's issues are men's issues, are people's issues. I suppose this is a way of arguing that patriarchy hurts men too, which is sort of cliche, but it's true. Which, I suppose, is a way of saying that my interest isn't exactly altruistic. I do benefit from my feminism. Breaking down tradition gender roles and fighting sexism also helps me, as a man. It helps create a world where I can be judged on who I actually am, not what kind of plumbing I have downstairs.
So, yeah. Why am I interested in women's issues? I think that the answer is that, ultimately, women's issues are human issues, and I firmly believe that the world becomes a better place every time we make progress, if only a little bit. There are women in my life that I care about, and, but for the flip of a genetic coin, I could easily have been born a woman. I think that, as a moral being, I have an obligation to better myself and to care about how I treat other people. All of us are better off when we address these things and care about how people are treated.