Becky Copple

Interviewee: Becky Copple
IWY TX 119
Interviewer: Johnye Mathews
Date: November 20, 1977

Becky Copple, 19, was an architecture student at the University of Nebraska. She from Lincoln, Nebraska, and she attended the IWY because she had a longtime interest in the women’s movement. She was a member of the Lincoln NOW chapter. Interview includes discussion of sexism in social interactions, her interactions with sorority and fraternity members, and the declining amount of student activism on college campuses. Copple also discussed her classes and how few of the architecture professors were female.

Sound Recording

Transcript 

Johnye Mathews:      I am Johnye Mathews.  This is Sunday, November 20th, 1977 in Houston, Texas at the International Women’s Year Conference.  What is your name, please?

Becky Copple:           Becky Copple.

JM:     Becky, what is your age?

BC:     Nineteen.

JM:     Where are you from?

BC:     Lincoln, Nebraska.

JM:     Are you a student?

BC:     Yes.

JM:     In college?

BC:     At the University of Nebraska, yes.

JM:     What is your interest in the International Women’s Year Conference?

BC:     Well, I am interested primarily because I’ve been interested a long time in women’s issues, but because of my age probably have not been as involved, especially in the legal aspects and I think that young people probably don’t have the experience with sexism as far as legal matters but they can certainly know what it’s like in the social arena.

JM:     Okay, what is it like in the social arena?

BC:     There are certainly the same kind of games that have gone on for years and I think it’s much more prevalent again in the popularity of cheerleading and pep club and sororities, and the activism of the sixties is not nearly as prevalent on the campuses today.

JM:     There’s a return to sorority life.

BC:     Definitely, yes.

JM:     Does this give you personally a problem?

BC:     Oh, I don’t think so, no.  I ignore it for the most part.

JM:     But you don’t feel left out?

BC:     Oh no, certainly not, no.

JM:     Do the fraternity members think of you as being anti-feminine?

BC:     I think they’re mostly afraid of me, really.  I suppose they do.  I don’t think they really understand.  We had our march for the Equal Rights Amendment in Lincoln and we went right through the area where the Greek houses were, and they were out and giving us a hard time about it, but it isn’t a threat to me.  It may be for some people.  I’m sure it’s a very difficult thing for people especially my age to take a stand that might be unpopular with their peers, and I think that for the most part this is, but it doesn’t seem to bother me too much, though.

JM:     What about the girls, the sorority girls, how do they feel about you?

BC:     I have some very good friends who are sorority members and I think for the most part they respect my opinion in this, and they may even agree with me but are not ready to do much about it right now.

JM:     Do you consider yourself preparing yourself to have a career or get married?

BC:     Yes, I think so definitely.  I think a career, definitely?

JM:     Are you (unintelligible at 2:25)?

BC:     No, not necessarily.

JM:     But you fought to combine the two?

BC:     Oh yes, yes.

JM:     What field are you in?

BC:     Well, I’m still undeclared.  I really don’t know.  I’m interested right now in architecture and in arts, and I have other interests in journalism and political science.

JM:     Do you have any female professors?

BC:     Let’s see, right now no, I don’t.

JM:     I see. Do you find it difficult to find a role model in the college classes? College career?

BC:     Probably more difficult than it was in high school, yeah.

JM:     Most of your teachers seemed to be women?

BC:     Yes.

JM:     What about the school of architecture? Is there someone…

BC:     Yes, there is.

JM:     It is predominantly male?

BC:     Yes.  There are probably five female students in my class with about forty-five males.

JM:     On the staff?

BC:     On the staff there are some female professors.  I know of one.  Maybe that’s all there are.

JM:     Do you think you might have difficult working as an architect?

BC:     Well, I would hope that they would judge me by my professional ability rather than my sex, but there certainly might be some problems.  I don’t know.

JM:     What is your sense of the conference that you have observed?

BC:     Well, I’m thrilled with the enthusiasm and I think we are starting to put some of our differences aside and becoming more united in what our goals are.

JM:     Are there very many people your age here?

BC:     I haven’t met too many, no.

JM:     How do you feel about being with older women?

BC:     Well, like I said, I think there is a difference in why we’re interested in the movement, because I haven’t really experienced the legal hassles that maybe they have, but yet like I said before, there certainly are things that I have experienced.  I think that’s probably the difference primarily.

JM:     Are you active in any kind of group activity other than this conference?

BC:     You mean a feminist group?

JM:     Well, any kind.

BC:   I’m a member of the Lincoln National Organization for Women, nothing else besides that, I guess.

JM:     Are you a officer or a leader?

BC:     No, I’m not.

JM:     Just a participant.

BC:     Yes.

JM:     What do you think will be the result on your personal life of having attended this conference?

BC:     Well, I think I’ve become more in touch with my sisters in feminism are wanting, and possibly I’ll be able to relate this certainly to my friends and to other people and relate the enthusiasm and the goals of the conference.

JM:     Do you have any difficulty with getting dates?

BC:     (Laughs) Certainly there are men who are not sexist pigs.  I know some and they’re very good friends of mine and I appreciate their consciousness.

JM:     Is there anything you would like to say about this conference that I didn’t ask you?

BC:     I don’t think so.

JM:     Okay, thank you very much.

BC:     Thank you.

End of Interview

(06:48)