September 23, 1995 in Nation/World

Wal-Mart Says Shirt Against ‘Family Values’ T-Shirt Proclaimed, ‘Someday A Woman Will Be President’

John Pacenti Associated Press
 

A Wal-Mart store pulled a popular T-shirt proclaiming “Someday a woman will be president” off its shelves, saying it was offensive to some shoppers.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said the company stopped selling the shirts at the only store that had them after one customer complained. The store sold about two-thirds of its 204 shirts.

“It was determined the T-shirt was offensive to some people and so the decision was made to pull it from the sales floor,” Jane Bockholt said. She refused to reveal the nature of the customer’s complaint.

Ann Moliver Ruben, the 70-year-old psychologist who designed the shirt and sold them to the store, said the retailer’s response means “that promoting females as leaders is still a very threatening concept in this country.

“They are in the position of being a censor. That’s what I don’t like,” she said.

The shirt is emblazoned with the child character Margaret from the cartoon strip “Dennis the Menace,” smiling with her arms spread wide, making the proclamation.

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

Ruben said Sharon Higginbotham, a buyer for women’s clothes at WalMart’s national office in Bentonville, Ark., told her the store would not carry the shirt nationwide because the message “goes against Wal-Mart’s family values.”

Ruben, president of the Miami Lakes-based Women are Wonderful Inc., said her motive in marketing the shirts was to promote girls’ self-esteem.

She bought the right to use the character Margaret from King Features Inc. and sold the shirts to women’s groups for between $10 and $15 before approaching Wal-Mart over the summer.


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