Hillary Clinton made history on Tuesday becoming the first woman to earn a presidential nomination from either major political party.
But 21 years ago, when she served as First Lady, Walmart refused to sell T-Shirts that promoted the concept of a female president over concerns about “Family Values.”
During the summer of 95′, a Wal-Mart store in Florida was selling T-shirts featuring Margaret, a character from the famous comic strip “Denis the Menace,” declaring that “Someday a woman will be president.”
Dr. Ann Moliver Ruben is the shirt’s designer; she’s also a psychologist who was 70 years old when she created the shirt.
Promoting females as leaders is still a very threatening concept in this country,” Ruben said at the time.
Ruben paid for the rights to use the character from King Features Inc. and intended to sell the shirts for $10 to $15 to women’s groups hoping to inspire girls. But then she decided to approach Wal-Mart about spreading her important message to a wider consumer base.
According to the Associate Press, a customer saw the T-shirts and filed a complaint with Wal-Mart demanding its removal.
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, a spokeswoman for the company at the time.
The store, based in Miramar, sold almost two-thirds of its 204 shirts within a two week period and was about to order 100 more before receiving the complaint.
The shirt’s supplier said that Wal-Marts national office told her that the company decided not to carry the design nationwide because they felt the message “goes against Wal-Mart’s family values.”
Walmart’s decision provoked protests, and eventually the company backed down, ordering 30,000 of Ruben’s shirts for nationwide distribution in 1995.
Loud and clear, our customers told us it was a mistake to remove them,” said Bockholt, the Wal-Mart spokeswoman. “It was just a cute T-shirt. It had nothing to do with politics.
Fast forward two decades later, First Lady Michelle Obama, whose husband is the nation’s first African American president, told the Democratic National Convention that a woman becoming president is no longer a controversial concept.
Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States,” Obama said.