When Wal-Mart Nixed 'Someday A Woman Will Be President'

| by Michael Allen
Woman President T-ShirtWoman President T-Shirt

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made history on July 26 when she was chosen by her party, but the notion that a woman could be president resulted in the banning of a T-shirt from Wal-Mart stores back in 1995.

Wal-Mart pulled a T-shirt that said, "Someday A Woman Will Be President!" on the front, reported The Associated Press in September 1995.

"It was determined the T-shirt was offensive to some people and so the decision was made to pull it from the sales floor," said Jane Bockholt, Wal-Mart's spokeswoman at the time.

Ann Moliver Ruben, 70, the designer of the T-shirt, said Wal-Mart's position meant "that promoting females as leaders is still a very threatening concept in this country."

"They are in the position of being a censor," Ruben added. "That’s what I don’t like."

The T-shirt included the brainy character Margaret, from the Dennis the Menace comic strip, making the controversial statement.

"It’s humorous and delightful," Ruben insisted. "What could be threatening about that? Evidently, it is to them and to their organization."

Ruben added that Sharon Higginbotham, Wal-Mart's buyer for women’s clothes, told her the message on the T-shirt "goes against Wal-Mart’s family values."

Wal-Mart reversed its position a few months later.

The T-shirts were back in the stores after protests erupted around the U.S., the Sun Sentinel noted in December 1995.

A Wal-Mart store in Miramar, Florida, even held a welcome back ceremony for the T-shirts.

"I'm thrilled they brought it back," Ruben said.

She added that the Wal-Mart ban helped promote her T-shirts.

"There's no doubt about it," Ruben stated. "I'm here because of the women who protested this."

Bockholt issued another firm statement for the company: "Loud and clear, our customers told us it was a mistake to remove them. It was just a cute T-shirt. It had nothing to do with politics."

Wal-Mart ended up reversing its position again, and took the T-shirts out of its stores, but this time the retail giant cited poor sales, according to the Miami Herald.

Ruben said she took a poll of 1,500 elementary-age kids at the time, and more 6-year-old girls than boys expressed their interest in being president.

Sources: AP via The Spokesman-Review, Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald / Photo credit: Etsy via She Knows

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