Friday, October 11, 2013

Forever Objectivist

It appears that clothing brand Forever 21 has pulled an Ayn Rand-inspired shirt from their catalog.

It's not immediately apparent they actually pulled it from rotation; it seems like the item just disappeared. It's possible it's an inventory thing, but it's doubtful. (For the record, the shirt has a rather generic self-esteem boosting quote, "The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me." Because, as we all know, Rand was huge on boosting the self-esteem of teenage girls with vague platitudes.)

No, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but I find the situation to be a little curious. Like, what happened? Did one of the designers just stumble upon this inspiring quote and say "Hey! The foremost political philosopher of free-market capitalism and unabashed atheism who is normally known for writing incredibly long and dense treatises disguised as novels sure knew how to throw out a sound bite that I can slap on a t-shirt teenage girls can wear to the gym! Crank up the iron!"

Actually, that more or less seems to be the case: when the shirt was added, they specifically tweeted about her objectivism, so their marketing department was clearly aware of who she is. It does seem an odd choice for the company; they are known to be religious, and it's not like their target clientele is going to be particularly interested. (The fact that it is classified as the "Unstoppable Muscle Tee" is just slightly, jarringly hilarious.)

Now that the item appears to be pulled, it just adds more question marks to the situation. Did some C-level suit suddenly realize what is going on? Did sales bomb so they just pulled it? Although I doubt we will find out, it would be interesting to see what happened.  Dagny Taggart would expect nothing less.

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