Em-URGE-ing Voices


Age: 22

School: University of California, San Diego

Major: Critical Gender Studies/ Political Science

Hometown: Fontana, CA

Favorite writer: I'm definitely the kind of person who loves the last
book and author I read the most. But two people who constantly challenge
my world view and whose writing is completely envious are Barbara
Ehrenreich and Audre Lorde. Their writing is uncomplicated but always

Favorite sex scene from a movie/TV/book: Betty Draper and her washing
machine from Mad Men Season 1. Even 1950's housewives were doing it for

Hidden Talent: Being able to fit my entire life in my purse

Posts By: Carley Towne

Psssst. Straight Passing Privilege is a Fantasy

The first time I heard Jenny Lewis, she was singing about some pretty heavy stuff. I was 16 and at that point in my life, I could count the number of rebellious things I’d done on one hand. A Man/Then Me/Then Jim for someone like me (who stressed if she was even a few minutes late to class) was edgy in a really romantic way. I clearly remember thinking how cool Jenny Lewis was for writing a song about someone who had really complex romantic relationships with both men and women. Clearly, I could not read a song title. I know now that the song traces the lives of three different speakers, only one of which is actually Jenny. Regardless of Jenny’ actual intention, though, for me it has always… Read more »

Unionizing Workers is Central to the Reproductive Justice Movement

Over the past year the Fight for 15 movement has swelled into a national workers rights movement. Today, a movement that began with fast food workers walking off their jobs, has become a movement for all minimum wage workers and those who stand in solidarity with their struggle. They’re taking to the streets to celebrate minimum wage victories already won and rally in support of a $15 minimum wage everywhere and a union for everyone. The $15 minimum wage victories have been hard won by the tireless effort and solidarity amongst fast food workers, care workers, and academics alike. Despite intense opposition from businesses and the various institutions that work to protect businesses’ bottom line, workers have managed to win a $15 minimum wage in cities across America and, just… Read more »

Know Your IX Boot Camp: A Recap

  Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Know Your IX Activist Bootcamp, an intensive two day long training dedicated to educating student activists about anti-sexual violence campaigns across universities on the West Coast. Know Your IX, a grassroots, youth and survivor led organization dedicated to providing students with the legal knowledge and organizing skills to end sexual violence on campuses, hosted the event. I came away from the training in awe of the incredible work students and survivors are already doing on their campuses. Badass student activists are not only holding their universities accountable, but creating a culture of consent and safety for communities affected by gender-based violence on their campuses. If you’re not well-versed in the intricacies of federal and state laws that protect students… Read more »

Don’t Be Fooled, Charter Schools Don’t Fix Public Education

If you’re even remotely interested in what’s going on in our public education system, chances are you’ve stumbled across the whole public school vs. charter school debate. And, if you’re like me, you’ve probably been on the fence about charter schools, mostly because they’re confusing! What even is a charter school? Charter schools, like public schools, are publicly funded, but they’re not governed by school districts or school boards. Instead, they’re run by businesses, non-profit organizations, or groups of people who write a charter and secure funding. Unlike sate-funded public schools, charters are allowed to exclude students that live within the area based on things like their special education status or test scores. Those who support charters argue that they’re a great alternative to “traditional” public schools because they offer… Read more »

My Personal is Political (But Not Too Personal)

I’m a very private person. Like, exceedingly private. People describe me as reserved, even if I’m feeling really social. If I took one of those online personality quizzes, I’d get the “silent but judging you” result, but you’d never know because I’d never share it on Facebook. Being a proud introvert can make being a woman who writes about reproductive justice difficult. Because if you take a look around the vast world of feminist blogging, you’ll notice that sharing intimate details of our daily lives is assumed to be a prerequisite to getting exposure. This approach rests on the faulty logic that to convince someone that being a woman in society can be difficult, uncomfortable, and demoralizing we have to expose personal experiences. Being a feminist blogger shouldn’t require that… Read more »

California Thinks Prisoners Are Expendable Labor

On Friday February 26th, Shawna Lynn Jones, 22, became the third inmate to die while working alongside firefighters as a part of the California Conservation Corps. Shawna was struck by a falling boulder while putting her life on the line to battle a brush fire in Malibu, California. The Conservation Corps, instituted in 1976 by then Governor Brown, is a government-funded program that pays prisoners like Shawna $1 an hour to endanger her own life while working to keep residents and natural habitats safe from the State’s increasing risk of fire. Shawna’s death spurred media responses that applauded her service to the state of California and framed her death as a tragedy because she died while working to protect one of the most affluent cities in California. Let’s all be… Read more »

This is How You Build an Intersectional Reproductive Justice Movement

  We often criticize, push, and urge activist movements around us to go further, to be more intersectional. It’s not negativity that spurs this criticism; intersectionality is just an important practice that asks more of movements that are trying to build a better, fairer future. But when we critically engage with social justice movements we shouldn’t forget that people are already doing the kind of work that we imagine when we call for more comprehensive activism. Looking to them can inspire and sustain us. If you want to see an intersectional, reproductive justice movement at work, then look no further than the coalition of organizations who’ve worked to realize the farmworker bill of rights for over 40,000 laborers in Southern California. The bill of rights, inspired in part by the explosion of protests for workers’ rights in the past year, is… Read more »

What Everyone’s Missing in the Gloria Steinem Controversy

Everyone on the Internet just about lost their minds this week trying to divine some hidden meaning from the controversy surrounding Gloria Steinem’s comments about young female voters. The reactions included everything from kneejerk defense to wholesale condemnation. As a young woman and long-time admirer of Steinem for her pioneering work advocating for survivors of domestic abuse and, let’s be honest, her kickass glasses, I found her comments unfortunate and tone deaf. Not to be outdone, Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State, also chimed in with some of her own tone deaf advice for the young female voter. Speaking to a crowd of prospective voters, Albright admonished young women for taking the feminist movement for granted, reiterating her famous quip that “there’s a special place in hell for women who… Read more »

The Body Positive Revolution Will Not Be Commodified

One of the world’s most iconic dolls went full feminist this week. Mattel, the company that owns and operates the Barbie brand, finally acknowledged that marketing a white doll with physically impossible proportions as the “ideal woman” to young girls was dangerous. Because of Mattel’s brave move, little kids will no longer be sold toys that conform to white European standards of beauty and that tell young girls that their value stems solely from their ability to attract their very own Ken. Mattel apologized, pulled all Barbie dolls from the shelves, and used the money they would’ve spent on marketing to finally pay their workers fair wages. No, I’m kidding. Of course Mattel didn’t make these far-reaching changes. But they did add almost half an inch to one of the doll’s waist, died… Read more »

Abortion Speakout harkens Back to Pro-choice Activism’s Roots

On January 19th, over 100 people shared their abortion stories during a six hour live-streamed Abortion Speakout hosted by the 1 in 3 Campaign, a grassroots organization dedicated to ending the shame people are made to feel about their abortion . Dubbed the “people’s brief” to the Supreme Court, the speakout provided a platform for people from around the country to share their experiences and respond to the Supreme Court’s decision to review one of the most important abortion cases in two decades. The virtual Speakout brought a decidedly vintage political strategy into the 21st century. Providing a platform for people who have had an abortion to tell their beautifully complex stories free of shame is an unflinchingly radical practice which predates the “right to privacy” celebrated in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Before Roe,… Read more »