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21 years ago, Walmart called this T-shirt “offensive”

Ben Schumin via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.5
Vintage Walmart
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Twenty-one years ago, in 1995, Walmart pulled a t-shirt from its stores because it violated the company’s “family values.” It didn’t have profanity or a crude image plastered across the front of it. Instead, it was a cartoon girl proclaiming, “Someday a woman will be president!”

With Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Party nomination, there’s a chance that cartoon girl’s prediction may come true. Ann Moliver Ruben made the shirts in 1993 with a frame of the popular cartoon Dennis the Menace, hoping to inspire girls.

Her local Walmart store in Miramar, Florida, was the first to sell the shirt, where it was a hit. The manager first ordered three dozen shirts, then eight dozen. But not everyone at the company was a fan. “Somebody at the headquarters decided that the message went against Walmart’s philosophy of family values and they banned the t-shirt,” Ruben said. Her husband advised her to keep the ban quiet, in case other stores decided not to carry the shirt as well. “Instead, I went to the Associated Press.”

Today, Walmart views the shirt differently. “Wow, it still pains us that we made this mistake 20 years ago,” Walmart spokesperson Danit Marquardt said in a statement. ”We’re proud of the fact that our country–and our company–has made so much progress in advancing women in the workplace, and in society.”

“For me, it meant that women are supposed to be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen,” Rubin said. When she was eight years old, her cousin told her, “Girls can never be president of anything.” Now 91, Ruben is “thrilled” to see Clinton so close to the presidency and wants to help “see that people vote for her.”

Ruben is confident Clinton will win the election. “No way in hell is Donald Trump going to be elected. It’s going to be Hillary.” She’s so confident that she’s planning to make the trip to Washington, D.C. in January for the inauguration. “I’m going to wear my t-shirt and watch her take the Oath of Office.”

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