#TBT: Remember When Wal-Mart Pulled a Pro-Woman President T-Shirt?

#TBT: Remember When Wal-Mart Pulled a Pro-Woman President T-Shirt?

Let's take a look at how far we’ve come.

Published July 28, 2016

Every now and again when watching the Democratic National Convention, you remind yourself that this year, we could potentially elect America’s first woman president, and that is incredible.

Now for some young people who have only experienced a Black president, a woman president does not seem that far-fetched, if at all. However, for another generation, this election represents a type of progress that was at one point unimaginable. 

So unimaginable that the mere idea of a female president was enough to stop the sale of T-shirts. What am I talking about? Well, take out your Walkman and put on your parachute pants, because we are going back to the '90s.

In the early 1990s, Ann Moliver Ruben, an elderly psychologist, created a T-shirt with a message for the entire country, “someday a woman will be president.” Ruben was inspired by the idea when she saw a comic strip where Margaret, a character in “Dennis the Menace,” said the very phrase. This intrigued Ruben because she remembered a time her cousin told her in 1933 that a woman would never be president.

Ruben created the shirts with image and text from the comic and sold them in a Wal-Mart in Florida. However, in 1995, Wal-Mart pulled the shirt from the shelves, claiming that some customers found it offensive.

When Ruben was notified that her shirts would be pulled, she said it’s clear that “promoting females as leaders is still a very threatening concept in this country.”

After the nation heard of the actions taken by the major retailer, people let their frustrations be known, and eventually Wal-Mart restocked the shirt.

Well, Ruben is now 91 years old and she, along with the rest of us, is witnessing her T-shirt become a reality.

"I’ve been waiting 83 years to see what happened yesterday," she told The Washington Post, referring to the official nomination of Clinton. "This is a wonderful time in our history, and I thank God I’ve lived to see it happen."

And it really is incredible to think that for people like Ann Moliver Ruben, this day comes after decades of inequality. For her, America was a place where the idea of a woman in the most powerful position in the country was so threatening; it made people uncomfortable enough to get a T-shirt removed from a store. Yet, for some young Americans, they only know a country of limitless possibilities.

Just let that settle for a moment. For anyone not old enough to remember life pre-Obama, this country has had a Black president and will soon have a woman president (hopefully). That is an America that may not have been foreseeable to people like Ruben, but thankfully, it is the America that we currently live in, and that’s pretty remarkable as far as progress goes.  

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Ann Moliver Ruben, Woman's Radio via Twitter)


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