There's a near-bottomless number of reasons why I can't get enough of this Aug. 27, 1970 story from the Minneapolis Star.
For starters: I'd forgotten about the "midi," the calf-length skirt that was the fashion world's compromise between the miniskirt and the floor-length "maxi." Or that Dayton's had a women's apparel department called the "Out of Sight" shop, and that the shop, an apparent shoplifter's target, sold "Women's Lib" T-shirts (for $5!). Or that the store's 12th-floor Oak Grill restaurant, which opened in 1948, had originally been called the Men's Oak Grill, and that women were barred from dining there unless they were accompanied by a male escort. Or that the newspaper published the home addresses of people mentioned in stories. Or that the Star had a "Women's News" section. Or that a woman in the story expresses another woman's approval by saying that she "dug" it.
It goes on and on. Anyway, here's the story. It was writted by Star staff writer Sue Chastain, and the headline reads, "Women Served Easily at Once Men-Only Spot."
At noon Wednesday, approximately 25 women expecting a “confrontation” walked into Dayton’s Oak Grill, were seated, and ordered hamburgers.
There was no “confrontation.”
A blue-jeaned member of the group said she hand’t expected any of the women to be refused admission, but was surprised that “they made no fuss about us at all.”
A spokesman for Dayton’s said the grill at one time served only men but that this has not been enforced for the last year. Any woman with or without escort should have been admitted, the spokesman said.
The grill was the scene of another women’s liberation attack five months ago when protests from a group of women persuaded store officials to remove the “Reserved for Men” sign on the door.
“I just always assumed women couldn’t get in, so I never tried it before,” a tall browned-haired woman wearing huge sunglasses said yesterday. “If they let women in, they ought to make a public statement about it.”
A group of “Women’s Lib T-shirts” on sale at Dayton’s Out of Sight shop drew more wrath from the women assembled in the grill than the restaurant’s admissions policy.
The T-shirts, selling for $5 each, are decorated with the biological symbol for woman imprinted with the clenched fist of women’s liberation.
One of the women said another member of the group had stolen approximately a dozen of the T-shirts from the Out of Sight shop earlier.
“What Dayton’s is doing with them represents everything we’re fighting against,” she said.
No shirts were available in the shop at noon yesterday.
The women reported “quite good results” from 15 minutes of passing out leaftlets to women yesterday morning. The leaflets sketched strike demands and publicized the picnic scheduled for last night.
“We passed out over 1000 in an awfully short time,” one woman said proudly. “Amazingly enough, the older the woman was, the more she dug it.”
The “well-dressed women” who “really looked like they had made it” were less receptive to the strike message, another agreed.
“One who was really decked out crumpled up a leaftlet and threw it in the trash can right in front of me,” she said.
Two women were arrested yesterday morning in front of Donaldson’s downtown department store on charges of vandalism and defacing private property. Other women’s liberationalists said the two were gluing posters onto the store windows.
The two, Mary Berg, 18, 3261 Snelling Av. N., St. Paul, and Carol Shilling, 21, 2620 Harriet Av. S., were both scheduled to appear in Hennepin County Municipal Court today.
Other women also putting up posters on the mall yesterday morning struck a humorous note when they entered one small dress shop.
The agitated manager, evidently assuming the delegation was protesting the midi skirt fashions, attempted to placate them by assuring the leader, “But we don’t carry midi skirts here!”
The women laughed, and departed.