ChoiceWords Blog

Carley

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
beautiful.

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
themselves.

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

Posts By: Carley Towne

Reproductive Justice and the Right to Die

One of the greatest achievements of the reproductive justice movement is the considerable work that has been done to weave the injustices faced by poor women seeking an abortion and the police violence that black folks face together into a coherent critique of structural violence. Recognizing that marginalized communities must stand together when calling for the right to live a life free of violence and full of love is powerful. Despite this far-reaching agenda, considerable silence still surrounds our final phase of life. If the goal of the reproductive justice movement is life on our own terms, then we need to embrace the uncomfortable truth that death will always lurk on the other side. This means that the reproductive justice community must engage with the grim reality that just as… Read more »

Equal Opportunity for Violence is Never a Feminist Victory

If you were on the internet this week, you probably heard the Pentagon’s self-congratulatory announcement that women will be allowed to serve in all combat positions. According to the old, white cis-men who run the place, the new policy is an unprecedented expansion of women’s rights.  But, more women in the military is only a feminist victory if your understanding of feminism comes from the Sheryl Sandberg school of leaning in. Reading the coverage of the Pentagon’s announcement, you’d think that the self-righteous celebration of how great this is for equality would have feminists running to their nearest military recruitment center. Our new slogan: Sign me up! This worldview fits comfortably within the mandates of corporate feminism which contends that the end goal of feminism should be a legion of… Read more »

Let’s Celebrate Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives for All (on our own terms)

My identity is complex and always shifting; sometimes I revel in the beauty of ambiguity and sometimes I just freak the fuck out Society has a very hard time attending to my own complex personhood, beset by my many contradictions and almost constant uncertainty, especially when it comes to whether or not I’ll have kids. When I tell people I have no future plan to get married, they seem taken aback. But their confusion is soon assuaged by my strong feminist identity. (Oh, she’s one of those women who’ll live with her partner until the economic benefits outweigh whatever moral high road she thinks she’s taking) Is always the subtext. Yet, the assumption of my eventual reproduction is always questioned with the kind of urgency that is so intense it… Read more »

The Gender Politics of the Looming CSU Strike

Faculty across twenty three California State University campuses voted on Wednesday, November 4, to authorize a strike if negotiations between their Union and the University system breaks down. This means over 20,000 members of the California Faculty Association concluded that if the Union and CSU cannot agree to the recommendations made by an independent fact-finding panel, faculty will go on strike in order to secure the 5% pay raise they’ve demanded. The CFA points to member’s comparatively low salary and the CSU’s increasing reliance on a two-tiered employment system as catalysts for the strike. In order to cut costs, the California Faculty Association argues, the CSU system has increasingly relied on the work of temporary, low-paid lecturers who often work alongside tenure track professors without the same assurance of job… Read more »

Beyond Equal Pay

Earlier this week, California Governor Jerry Brown made two decisions about women in the workplace that, at first glance, seem contradictory at best and incomprehensible at worst. The Governor signed  an equal pay for equal work bill which helps ensure that women who do substantially similar work as their male counterparts be paid comparable wages. But, amid the positive press, Brown quietly vetoed a bill that sought to revise workers compensation laws. The  bill sought to close loopholes which categorized pregnancy and menopause as legitimate pre-existing conditions in determining employer’s liability. Put simply, the veto was a victory for insurance companies and employers, who can continue to legally reduce the amount of workers compensation Californians are entitled to by law, simply because they live in bodies that experience these natural… Read more »

Let’s Talk About the Problem of Frats

Last week, the UCLA chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon made headlines hosting what they deemed a “Kanye Western” party in which partygoers showed up in black face wearing chunky gold chains and fake grills. When black student activists showed up to protest the party, they were mocked by party-goers and the validity of their concerns were questioned by the broader campus community. 100 miles to the South, the University of California San Diego chapter of AEPi was publicly reprimanded for creating an official chapter t-shirt that featured a scantily-clad woman serving bread emblazoned with the words “AEPi, Making Women Challah Since 1913”. And that’s just what happened within the last week on two UC campuses. These incidents are not confined to the University of California campuses, either. Earlier this year, the… Read more »

“Grandma” is Great, But Not Without its Flaws

After watching Grandma, I left the theatre feeling like if the culmination of all past feminist victories were really just leading up to the creation of Lily Tomlin’s near perfect, badass role, I’d be happy. But, socially conscious feminist comedies about abortion can have that effect on me. Like similar films that have taken on the taboo of portraying abortion as a medical decision which women and girls are perfectly capable of making on their own terms, Grandma did an admirable job. Rather than agonize over the decision to have an abortion, the story begins with a young teenager, Sage, who’s made up her mind and needs the financial support of her grandmother Elle, played by Lily Tomlin, in order to go through with the procedure. As Sage and her… Read more »

California Could Be the First State to Teach ‘Yes Means Yes’ in High School

On Friday, September 11, the California State legislature passed SB-695, a bill that would require high school health classes to include information about affirmative consent and sexual assault alongside existing health curriculum. The legislation, spearheaded by Senator Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D- Santa Barbara) comes on the heels of the “yes means yes” bill the California Legislature passed last year in order to ensure all government funded universities use an affirmative consent standard  when evaluating sexual assault claims. If well implemented, “yes means yes” education in high school could have very positive, direct effects. For one thing, starting the conversation in high school instead of waiting for those cheesy freshmen orientation plays makes sense if we want to equip students with the emotional intelligence they… Read more »

This “classist, sexist, anti-child” California Policy Must Go

Over twenty years ago, California was swept up in the fervor of President Clinton’s “welfare reform” policies, and, following suit, cut welfare to low income families by instituting the Maximum Family Grant Rule. The rule denies additional aid to children born to mothers who already receive cash aid through the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) welfare program. This means that families who are enrolled in CalWORKS when they have a child can’t receive an extra $128 a month in order to pay for housing, food, and other necessary expenses that new parents inevitably incur. In December 2014, California Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) proposed SB-23 in order to repeal the Maximum Family Grant rule, calling it “a classit, sexist, anti-democratic, anti-child policy” because of the ugly welfare queen stereotype (a woman who… Read more »