Things That Matter

Peloton’s Stocks Drop 10 Percent After Holiday Ad Sparks Backlash Over Sexism

Peloton’s latest advertisement for it’s $2,245 stationary bikes is sparking both outrage and satirical videos that mock the unlikely journey of a wife being happily surprised to receive exercise equipment from her husband for Christmas. “Ok, you ready,” the husband asks his wife, with one hand holding the hand of a young toddler and the other covering her eyes. “A Peloton!” she happily exclaims when she sees the exercise equipment. What ensues is a 25-second supercut of her ‘journey’ of waking up at 6 a.m. to leave her sleeping husband in bed while she rides her bike and ends with her telling the camera, “A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me. Thank you.” Later, we find out that the supercut video is one of her own making, meant to be a thank you gift to her husband for buying the elite stationary bike. When the video cuts, she turns to her husband on the couch, seeking his approval, as he rubs her back and laughs. 

The Internet is breaking down every problematic aspect of the advertisement, down to the worried look on the 116-pound protagonist’s face as she says, “I’m a little nervous,” to the point that Peloton’s stock has actually fallen by 10 percent. The video has been viewed on YouTube 1.1 million times, liked just 978 times and disliked 7,200 times.

Problem #1: Misogyny. All the misogyny.

CREDIT: @PELOTON / TWITTER

Peloton marketed their campaign as “The Gift That Keeps On Giving.” The montage of this thin woman telling her husband, “Alright, first ride. I’m a little nervous, but excited. Let’s do this,” has elicited a wide range of reactions. Some people are concerned about her performance of gratitude for a husband who, let us repeat, bought her a piece of exercise equipment for Christmas. Given that the woman’s gift to her husband the next year is a montage of her fitness journey, some are concerned that “the gift that keeps on giving,” is marketed toward husbands who want their wives to get fit for them. Last year, Peloton created a similar advert that depicts a husband buying his rail-thin wife a Peloton and called it “Get What You Give – Hers.” 

Problem #2: Would there really be no emotional complexity to being surprised to receive exercise equipment from your life partner?

CREDIT: @EVAANDHERIUD / TWITTER

“Nothing says ‘maybe you should lose a few pounds’ like gifting your already rail-thin life partner a Peloton,” tweeted Siraj Hashmi (@SirajHashmi). “My husband got me a Peloton bike for Christmas! Nothing weird about that. You get me.” Twitter personality Eva Victor jokingly says in her own satirical remake of the advert. Victor hushes, “It’s 6 in the morning and my husband is still sleeping,” only to scream with rage about what kind of person buys their wife a stationary bike for Christmas. Eventually, she delivers the same line as the Peloton wife about how much the last year has changed her. “I didn’t realize how much this would change me. I want a divorce,” she smiles at the camera and offers her husband divorce papers. This is the far more likely response to that kind of gift.

Problem #3: Countless professionals signed off on this advertisement.

CREDIT: @THEDWECK / TWITTER

Twitter user Tobias Hirano (@tobihirano) works in advertising, which is what “makes the Peloton ad even funnier when you realize how much goes into this stupid shit. Like rounds of approvals on concept, script, storyboard, edit, color, graphics. Late nights, millions of dollars, entire jobs created for this ad!” he tweeted.

Problem #4: The demographics of Peloton’s upper management.

CREDIT: @MIKESINGTON / TWITTER

“The Peloton ad sucks, all Peloton ads suck…,” tweeted Mike Sington (@MikeSington), “but here’s my question: is there a single person of color than owns a Peloton bike? The whole company smacks of white privilege (skinny white privilege). I’ve got an idea- let’s take a peek at Peloton’s senior management team.” It’s no wonder why the company’s stock has fallen by nearly 10% percent today alone. “We all need to treasure the things that bring us together as a nation, as a people. Collectively hating on this Peloton ad is that thing,” tweeted  Renee Klahr (@reneeklahr).

Meanwhile, Twitter user Vanessa Contreras (@VanessaL_Castro) is asking the question on all our minds: “Am I the only Latina that looks at the word #peloton and just thinks of the word pelota? 🎾🏀🏐 every. time.” Nope. No, you are not the only Latina, Vanessa. 🙋🏽‍♀️

Watch the full ad below!

READ: A Restaurant In Peru Has Been Fined $62,000 For What Many Say Is Blatant Sexism

New CDC Report Tracks Activity Levels Of Adults And Puerto Ricans Are The Second Most Sedentary

Culture

New CDC Report Tracks Activity Levels Of Adults And Puerto Ricans Are The Second Most Sedentary

Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

A new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report reveals that nearly half of Puerto Ricans get no exercise beyond walking to and from their cars and around the house. That’s more than three times the national average. The study concluded that the most significant factor in differences in the prevalence of physical inactivity was when controlled by race or ethnicity. Latinos were found to be the most sedentary (31.7 percent), marginally followed by non-Hispanic blacks (30.3 percent) with non-Hispanic whites having the lowest rate of physical inactivity at 23.4 percent. Respondents were classified as physically inactive if they responded “no” to the following question: “During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?” Every single state or territory found that more than 15 percent of adults were physically inactive.

The lack of physical activity leads to health problems that cost Americans $117 billion annually. The CDC is cautioning Americans, especially Americans of color, that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to 1 in 10 early deaths.

It’s unclear why Latinos and Black Americans are so singularly sedentary.

CREDIT: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

Some think that the cause is regional in nature. Americans concentrated in cities and urban areas are more likely to get exercise simply because of the proximity to exercise facilities and pedestrian commutes. The map above illustrates the inactivity levels of each state and territory for every American of every race and ethnicity. The South is significantly more sedentary than the North and the West regardless of one’s race or ethnicity. 

That said, when you look at the same states and factor for Latinidad, the statistics significantly worsen.

CREDIT: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

When race or ethnicity isn’t a factor, Oregon appears as one of the most active states in the country. When you look only at the Latinos living in Oregon, it becomes one of the worst in the country. That means that non-Hispanic white people either have more access to those gym memberships or faraway hiking trails or incorporate it into their culture more than Latinos living in the same area. 

It’s easy to assume the socio-economic factors at play here — that minorities are so disenfranchised that they simply don’t have the time or energy to exercise after their long or labor-intensive workdays. Latinas have the highest lifetime risk for diabetes across all demographic groups, according to non-profit Salud America! A small research study at the Fair Haven Community Health Center found that fear of injury and lack of energy were the most common barriers for Latina women. This is when the cultural trope of Latina moms being afraid for you to go too close to the freezer or you’ll catch pneumonia becomes pathological.

According to the CDC, Hispanic adults are 50 percent more likely to suffer from diabetes and liver diseases than non-Hispanic white adults. Inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle have been linked to diabetes meaning that the map of inactivity is bad news for Hispanics. A more sedentary lifestyle has a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes and worsening the effects if someone already has the disease.

Meanwhile, when you look at just non-Hispanic white Americans, the map brightens up just as significantly.

CREDIT: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

“Too many adults are inactive, and they may not know how much it affects their health,” said Ruth Petersen, MD, Director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. “Being physically active helps you sleep better, feel better and reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers,” she added in a media statement. The CDC has found that engaging in such physical activity could prevent 1 in 8 cases of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. 

The CDC is working to get more Americans to engage in physical activity for 25 minutes a day by 2027. In order to do this, the Surgeon General has called on cities to consider walkability as part of their city planning process. “Individuals and families are encouraged to build physical activity into their day by going for a brisk walk or a hike, walking the dog, choosing the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, parking further away in the parking lot, walking or cycling to run errands, and getting off the bus one stop early and walking the rest of the way,” the federal agency said in a statement.

The study’s data came from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing state-based, telephone interview survey conducted by CDC and state health departments. The maps used combined data from 2015 through 2018.

READ: Food, Culture, And Physical Activities Are All Factors In Latinos Being Most Likely To Develop Diabetes

Latina Actress At the Center of the Viral Peloton Ad Says She is Finding “Humor” In The Situation

Entertainment

Latina Actress At the Center of the Viral Peloton Ad Says She is Finding “Humor” In The Situation

Peloton / Youtube

It’s not every day that you see an ad for an exercise bike taking the world by storm, but this viral commercial for Peloton did just that.

Three weeks ago Peloton, the company that is well known for being an fitness empire and a media juggernaut that was being touted as the “Apple of Fitness”, posted a Holiday ad for the cult-favorite bike to Youtube. The ad seemed innocuous enough: the 30-second spot followed the fitness journey of a young wife and mother who is gifted a Peloton bike for Christmas by her husband.

As the woman’s fitness journey continues, we see her documenting her daily workouts for her husband to watch. She congratulates herself for working out “five days in a row”, asking her husband if he’s “surprised”. We see her getting up at 6am to hop on the bike, lamenting her early wake-up call. At the end of the spot, we see the young mom watching the footage with her husband in the present. “A year ago, I didn’t know how much this would change me”, she says to the camera. In the present, we see the wife looking looking nervous and fidgety as she watches her husband watch the footage. Some viewers interpreted her behavior as if she were working out for her husband’s for approval.

A few weeks after the commercial was posted to Youtube, the ad went viral–and not for the brand’s intended purpose. 

Critics immediately called out the ad for what they perceived as its sexist messaging. Not only that, some viewers interpreted Ruiz’s face throughout the advertisement as “terrified”. As one Twitter user put it, the ad tells the tone-deaf story of a “thin, gorgeous woman transforming into a still-thin, still-gorgeous woman who’s terrified her husband won’t think she’s grateful”.

Credit: @amyhoy/Twitter

After the ad seemed to take over the internet over the weekend, the identity of the “Peloton Wife” actress was finally revealed to be Monica Ruiz, a California-based actress of Latina descent. Ruiz, for her part, seems to be rather rattled by all of the negative attention aimed at the ad. 

In a statement to People magazine, she called the Peloton team “lovely to work with” and said she was “grateful” for the job opportunity. As for the the backlash, she seems to be surprised by it. “Although I’m an actress, I am not quite comfortable being in spotlight,” she said to People. “So to say I was shocked and overwhelmed by the attention this week (especially the negative) is an understatement”.

In a hilarious turn of events, Ryan Reynolds recruited Ruiz to star in a commercial for his company, Aviation Gin. The catch? She’s playing the same character as in the Peloton commercial.

In a spot titled “The Gift that Doesn’t Give Back”, Ruiz is seen at a bar surrounded by two girlfriends. They look at her warily as she stares off into the distance, nursing a martini. They tell her she’s “safe here” and that she “looks great”. Ruiz, ostensibly traumatized by her husband’s controlling behavior, can only say that the gin is “really smooth” before chugging her cocktail as well as her friend’s. 

Naturally, the Aviation Gin ad went over like gangbusters on social media, with viewers calling it “genius” and “brilliant”. As for Ruiz, she seems to be much more at peace with the entire Peloton debacle. “When Ryan and his production team called about Aviation Gin, they helped me find some humor in the situation,” she told People. “I am grateful to both Peloton and now Aviation Gin for the work and giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do”.

Of course, since the ad originally went viral on Twitter, there are no shortage of Tweets riffing on the bizarre saga of the Peloton commercial.

Honestly, you could spend hours scrolling through hilarious memes and #hottakes centered around this one 30-second commercial. Something tells us Peloton didn’t intend this sort of reaction when they were brainstorming this ad.

This person summed up the weird vibe of the commercial perfectly:

There’s something off-putting about how she seems to be embarking on this year-long fitness journey to please her husband. 

This Twitter user had to explain why people were so irritated at the tone-deaf commercial:

It’s definitely the subtext of the ad that rubs people the wrong way. 

This Latina didn’t really understand the outrage

It’s definitely true that a lot of people workout to feel strong and healthy–their appearance has nothing to do with it.

This person was highly complimentary of Ruiz’s acting skills

We definitely agree. If commercials had their own Oscars, we think there’d be no contest.