Lululemon and Ayn Rand
Like any good yoga student, I’m familiar with Lululemon Athletica and even drooled over their cute yoga pants and tops. A few years ago, being naive and young, I wandered into one of their stores in a burst of motivation to buy new workout clothes. I almost ran out screaming in terror. $128 for yoga pants?! I mean, this is America, but COME ON. Since then, I’ve stuck to my faded t-shirts from free events in college, and that one pair of yoga pants I bought at Gap Body seven years ago with a loyalty (thriftiness?) akin to Lassie.
I wasn’t truly surprised, then, when I heard about their newest ad campaign: the company has started printing the question “Who is John Galt?” on their tote bags. The quote is the opening line of Ayn Rand’s famous Atlas Shrugged, in which Rand preaches “objectivism,” a philosophy in which individuals act in their own best interest, damning altruism and all that other feel-good hoo-ha. A reference to Galt is a clear indication of belief in Rand’s uber-capitalistic beliefs, and Lululemon’s chairman proudly stated his support in a recent blog post, “Our bags are visual reminders for ourselves to live a life we love and conquer the epidemic of mediocrity. We all have a John Galt inside of us, cheering us on. How are we going to live lives we love?” Another gem, ““We are able to control our careers, where we live, how much money we make and how we spend our days through the choices we make. … We can choose to rise up and be great.” It’s these kinds of delusions of the privileged that lead to the economic problems we’re facing around the world. It must be nice to be able to control your career and how much money you make and where you live–but it’s certainly not a privilege that many are enjoying.
This clear support of an individualistic agenda is upsetting to me as a consumer, not only because of the ridiculous prices the company charges for clothing to sweat in, but because it’s in direct opposition to most of the main principles of yoga. Yoga, at least as I understand it, is meant to be relaxing and to be taken at one’s own pace. It is a way in which to appreciate our bodies and the world around us, to find peace in the every day and the good in our neighbors. It’s not about being the best or brightest. In fact, I’ve been admonished by multiple yoga instructors not to compare yourself to others, to only hold the poses until it feels right to you, to let your body decide what’s best.
Maybe this is all mumbo-jumbo to you, but I object to this kind of marketing, and I won’t be patronizing Lululemon any time soon (let’s pretend that I was actually able to afford it, for the sake of the argument). I’m all for incorporating literature into style, but this goes too far.
What do you think? Do you shop at Lululemon? Read Ayn Rand? I want to know what you think.