Interviewee: Merry Bateman
Interviewer: Rachel Myers
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Merry Bateman, age 23 from Columbia, South Carolina, attended the state IWY conference to connect with women from across the state who were interested in issues like equal employment, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Interview includes discussion of Bateman’s interest in Title IX and how the media portrays women in the news and in advertising, her critiques of the conferences as a media circus, and her belief that the ERA debate was distracting from other important issues at the conference.
Rachel Myers: What is your name, your address, and where you’re from?
Merry Bateman: Merry Bateman, 1015 Lauren Street, Columbia, South Carolina.
RM: And your age?
RM: What had brought you to the conference?
MB: I came to the conference in the hopes of finding women from all over the state who were interested in discussing issues that would be important to all of us.
RM: What issues are those? Can you go through and tell me what issues are especially important to you?
MB: I think equal employment, the issues of rape, battered women, child care, Title IX, and particularly media practices to women.
RM: Can you expand on the media?
MB: The way the media portrays women in advertising, in the news, the fact that very few women are put in key positions in broadcasting and major newspaper positions.
RM: Do you think anything is going to come out of this conference, and if so what?
MB: No, I don’t see this conference as being a positive two-day event. Unfortunately, I see it as being a very big political circus, and I feel that the issues will be swept under the carpet and people will be going away unhappy over whomever is elected as a delegate to the national convention.
RM: Why do you feel this way?
MB: Well, having been here the first day and now this is the second, I’ve been caught up in the whole political atmosphere and have been a part of much of the controversy between the NOW slate and the original slate. That seems to be all that’s on women’s minds here.
RM: Do you see a certain focus in this conference? A lot was said that there would be a lot of trouble over certain issues. Have you witnessed that so far?
MB: Offhand, what I can think of is I’ve seen the big argument over anti-ERA forces versus ERA forces, and that’s what I see as being a whole political atmosphere here and I feel that the major issues are being ignored totally.
RM: Is there any way that you can see that this kind of situation could be changed in future conferences?
MB: Yes, I feel that a closer examination needs to be made on who is put in charge of the conference.
RM: Can you expand on that one?
MB: I think I’d rather not.
RM: Okay, any other general comments or feelings that you have?
MB: I hope perhaps in the future we can have a better organized conference with some concerned people organizing it and putting it into operation.
RM: Do you think any educational process is going on here?
MB: I have not seen it yet.
RM: You think most people are here with fixed ideas and fixed emotions and nothing is going to be changed?
MB: Most certainly.
RM: Thank you.
End of Interview