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Popular clothing retailer pulls Ayn Rand tee from shelves -- why?

"Unstoppable Muscle Tee" from Forever 21 (Image: via TIME)

On Thursday, TIME's Newsfeed blog noted that Forever 21, a popular American chain of clothing retailers, was selling a shirt featuring a quote from Ayn Rand:

"Unstoppable Muscle Tee" from Forever 21 (Image: via TIME)

The “Unstoppable Muscle Tee,” priced at $11.80, bears a quote from the author and philospher, framed as a motivational statement:

“The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me.” — Ayn Rand

But by Friday morning, the item was "no longer available" for purchase.

While Slate notes that the quote could just have easily come from a Michael Jordan Nike commercial, Rand's conservative political theories apparently make the quote "a potentially far more divisive one."

In denouncing the shirt, TIME's Courtney Subramanian actually likens writer/philosopher Rand to murderous revolutionary Che Guevara.  One of these things is not like the other...

The idea of idolizing a contentious figure is reminiscent of the famed Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara t-shirts, made popular by the counterculture of the late 1960s. The t-shirt is now one of the most common shirts found on college campuses, often donned by young people who have no idea what the communist revolutionary symbolized–but check out that heroic-looking dude in the cool hat!

Business Insider points out that Forever 21 is "famously owned by Christians, while Rand was a staunch Atheist," as if religion changes the meaning behind Rand's quote or precludes political theory.

If the item was taken off their website for political reasons, it wouldn't be the first time a retailer was pressured to do so.  Athletic retailer Lululemon also came under fire for selling an Ayn Rand-inspired bag emblazoned with "Who is John Galt?"

I've reached out to Forever 21 for a comment as to why the item is no longer available.  So far, I haven't received a response, but I'll keep you posted...

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