Adolescent Girls Heart Ayn Rand

From In Character:
Few authors inspire the kind of life-changing devotion, blind hatred, or contemptuous dismissal so frequently achieved by Ayn Rand, the founder of “Objectivism” and author of the novels Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, the non-fiction book The Virtue of Selfishness, and nine others. Despite nearly unanimous critical disdain, her books became best-sellers; the combined sales of her work continue to top 500,000 copies every year – more than Philip Roth, way more than, say, Zora Neale Hurston. Objectivism, as dramatized in Rand’s novels and meticulously set out in her non-fiction, glorifies the self-reliant individual (as opposed to the collective), prizes rational thought, and dismisses organized religion of any sort. Politically, it bears some resemblance to libertarianism, though Rand herself dismissed members of that party as “hippies of the right” who “substitute anarchism for reason.” Next to her casket was a six-foot-tall floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign.
It’s easy enough to explain Rand’s appeal to those who adore capitalism, abhor government intervention, and prize individual liberty above all. But the particularly fascinating thing about Rand is that many young women, like Gottlieb, revere the book as teenagers and later come to loathe – or at least laugh at – the novels as adults. In the 2003 movie Lost In Translation, Charlotte, played by Scarlett Johansson, says that every girl goes through a “horse phase” and a “photography phase, where, you know, you take dumb pictures of your feet.” For a certain kind of American girl, the “Ayn Rand phase” is another rite of passage.
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