Spice Girls (AP/Rtgranitz)

Quiz: Who said it, the Spice Girls or Ayn Rand?

Test your knowledge of these girl power icons!


Katie McDonough
November 13, 2014 3:31AM (UTC)

Yet another teen retailer is selling Ayn Rand-inspired clothing because apparently girls can't get enough of "The Fountainhead" author's you-go-girl attitude.

As Maureen O'Connor at the Cut pointed out on Tuesday, a year after Forever 21 came out with a Randian crop top, retailer Brandy Melville put the same quote credited to Rand on a T-Shirt. The "J. Galt USA oversized cropped tee" declares, "The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

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After the Forever 21 top came out last year, people were quick to point out that the line is actually a mash-up of a quote from "The Fountainhead":

“Do you mean to tell me that you’re thinking seriously of building that way, when and if you are an architect?”

“Yes.”

“My dear fellow, who will let you?”

“That’s not the point. The point is, who will stop me?”

The T-Shirt might feature a misquote, but the message is clear: Girl power! Feminism! In that spirit, I've collected a few other Rand quotes as well as some Spice Girls quotes that Brandy Melville may want to put on T-Shirts come next season.

Can you tell who's who? Answers below!

1. "I'm a male chauvinist."

2. “I am profoundly anti-feminist because it’s a phony movement."

3. "Women, intellectually, are not the inferior of men; physically, they certainly are."

4. "A commander-in-chief of the army? A woman? I think it's unspeakable."

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5. "If we're speaking about women's liberation [...] it's a very off and phony issue."

(Answer key: 1. Ayn Rand, 2. Ayn Rand, 3. Ayn Rand, 4. Ayn Rand, 5. Ayn Rand. See that? I tricked you! They were all Ayn Rand quotes!) 

Asked by O'Connor what he thought Rand would have said about being marketed as a girl power icon, Matthew Sciabarra, co-founder of the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, replied, “Let's face it: Rand was a litigious woman, as is her estate. And she would have been very upset at anyone using her words to ‘sanction’ movements that she believed were on the wrong side of history."


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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