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.
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?
“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.
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.
“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. ????????♀️
It’s been said before that humor that mocks normative values can be funny only “if the humor is non-threatening.”
Truth be told, however, most of us known when sexist humor is more harmful than it is funny. According to Research Gate “jokes targeting women were perceived to be less funny, more offensive, and more sexist than jokes targeting men. Additionally, greater perceptions of threat were related to greater perceptions of jokes as offensive and sexist. However, women were not more threatened than men by sexist jokes. While these findings were not entirely consistent with our hypotheses, our findings suggest disparagement humor targeting lower-status groups is perceived more negatively than disparagement humor targeting higher-status groups and these perceptions may be inextricably rooted in threat posed to lower-status groups.”
Women and men of Reddit seem to be able to understand this truth because recently, they’ve been taking these jokes and calling them out for what they are: ridiculous and not so funny.
Check it out below!
“Downplaying how horrible periods can be. I’ve seen so many men act like women are being babies on their period and it’s just enraging.”- OverallDisaster
“To couple with this: downplaying our emotions because of periods. Anger or sadness can’t possibly be because of a bad situation, it it must be because sHe’S oN HeR pErIoD.”- InnocenceMySister
“Literally. And it’s funny because the hormone that increases during a woman’s period that apparently makes them so “emotional” is testosterone.
Edit- My comment has been getting a lot of upvotes so I just want to take this opportunity to tell you all this. I know it can be hard being a woman and things can feel really bleak/tiresome sometimes (especially since it’s 2021 and we haven’t made nearly as much progress as we should have in regards to gender issues) but just remember to keep your head up. Things won’t be like this forever. They have to improve. Hopefully.”- aetnaaa
“I have pcos which also causes painful periods. Before I knew I had it, I never understood how other women could just “get used to” having periods. Lots of women also downplay how bad periods can be because they don’t know how painful some of our periods really are.”- tropicalparadise27
“Oh man and the first time a cyst ruptures… you’re laying on the bathroom floor thinking this is the end ans now you die and why didn’t I clean the bathroom more since this is where my body will be found.”- TaysteePotayto
“Same thing happened to me dude. I was in college, my roomate thought I was dying and I was like naw, don’t you also vomit till the point of fainting crying because of the knives in your intestines on your period? Not normal I guess.”- porkbunasaurus
“Or when women with easier periods act like other women are lying! I’m very lucky and have never had a difficult period, it’s light with very few symptoms. But that doesn’t mean that I doubt other women when they share their experiences. Just because mine is generally okay doesn’t mean that others don’t have excruciating pain.”- shadesofpink44
“Everyone has different experiences so I can only share mine. I get PMS about a week before I start and I start to get irrationally irritated or sad. Sometimes my boobs hurt or I can’t go to the bathroom for several days. I actually get super hungry the few days before too. Then when I start my period I have horrible cramps in my pelvic region and lower stomach. Sometimes they’re so bad they take my breath away. Sometimes they wake me up in the middle of the night and they’re so bad I could cry. I also have (TMI) really bad digestive issues and constantly have to go to the bathroom. I also get migraines with mine + sometimes that causes nausea. Not to mention the fact it’s uncomfortable having to wear a pad or tampon which can cause irritation. For me the first two days of mine are super heavy so I’m bleeding a lot, and the more you bleed the worse your cramps are. Its bad when you start bleeding a lot and you stand up and it all just gushes out. It’s just honestly horrible for me, especially the first two days but then mine kind of tapers off and gets better, but mine used to last up to a week. I can’t say I block it out as I’m very aware of the pain but I try to take pain medication, wear comfy clothes, use a heating pad if necessary. Sorry this might all be TMI lol, but there’s just so much going on and I think it’s good to build awareness about it!
As far as tips the biggest thing is just to be understanding and patient, never diminishing someone’s experience or pain. I also like when guys don’t act grossed out by it, to me it’s a sign of maturity when a man is able to listen and have an open conversation about it.”- OverallDisaster
“Indeed, I think that as a society we’re starting to grapple with the fact that pedophilia is far more common than people assumed. I remember that I was started to be catcalled at 11 and my teens and early 20’s were the highest, and now in my 40’s never happens and is awesome. Men know they’re sexually harassing children, and get away with it because people turn a blind eye, blame the kid, or chose the believe the obvious lie of: I had no idea she’s 12, she looks like a woman, I couldn’t tell her age, like wtf?!
“Yeah, it’s absolutely insane. I remember getting catcalled (very aggressively) as a 7th grader by grown ass men. I always thought it was because I looked older until I recently saw a picture of 12 year old me. Nope, looked like a child. I was utterly shocked, sad and disgusted at the same time.”-Shaboinker2
“This, just today I was catcalled and basically harassed to the point where I had to step back inside my house. I was simply standing in the front yard with my kids. That’s all I was doing.”- HumanAdhesiveness360
“That’s not it except for especially shitty guys.
It’s more likely that the men in question have had little to no experience with women and thus don’t have enough samples to distinguish between friendliness and flirting.
Plus, a shy woman’s flirting might be less obvious than an outgoing woman’s friendliness, so if they had a shy girlfriend before their calibration could be skewed.
Or they could just be interested and made a move in the hopes of success without assuming anything. Men have to approach frequently to get dates, so asking out literally anyone you find attractive is a fairly common strategy.
Men aren’t a monolith any more than women are and there are loads of explanations that don’t require the guy to be an asshole. Most of the time, the dude’s probably just lonely.”- Odinh153
“The way the medical community approaches female reproductive health in general is awful. A close friend wants to get sterilized because she already has two kids, gets awful depression during pregnancy, and post partum depression that makes her suicidal. She’s happy with her family and out of genuine concern for her daughters, wants to be sterilized so she can be the best mum possible to them. Basically no long-acting contraceptive methods are suitable for her… IUDs either cause persistent bleeding or keep dropping out, implants cause awful bleeding for months etc etc…
But my partner called up a vasectomy clinic, booked an appointment on the phone, and it was done in under a week. No questions asked, no “what if you change your mind”… my friend’s life is genuinely at risk if she gets pregnant again, and it would leave two kids without a mother, but years of trying can’t get her what a man can have for asking once.”- kellerae
“It is infuriating how women are treated during childbirth. Actually abused in other countries.
Also, what I hate is that women always say, well “it hurt but it’s okay”; usually when their tear or episiotomy is stitched up with either no local anesthetic or an insufficient amount. No, it is not okay! Would a man have a vasectomy without anesthetic?
Really annoying how we are expected to grin and bear it.”- Suse-
“I just went to the GP to get an extension for my time off work after having ovarian cyst removed. The male gp said to me “I used to be really stingy about giving time off work to my patients until I got a really bad chest infection myself” I was a bit taken aback in his comparison of a bad cold to my abdominal surgery.”- camelsdonthavetoes
“inappropriate behavior from men, especially from a young age. If a boy hits a little girl he “just likes her”. That little boy grows up thinking there’s no repercussion for violence, and keeps hitting women. The cycle just goes on.”-professional_joe
“I know way too many women who think it’s normal to have to do most of the housework and childcare, plus the mental and emotional load of household management, even if they also have an outside job. Also to manage their husbands as if they are children who can’t be expected to remember to make appointments or buy their own clothes or things for the children or holidays or take care of menial tasks without reminders and help.”-FranzLuciferdinand
“My mum managed my dad a lot when I was a kid, but he has genuine problems remembering things, and fortunately I internalized it as ‘Dad can’t remember things so Mom keeps track for him’, instead of believing that all wives manage their husband’s schedule and that’s the natural way of things. He did his fair share around the house and also in our housing co-op. Now that I’m older it makes me sad to know that my parents’ fairly equal arrangement is not the norm.”- ohdearsweetlord
”dressing little girls in a way that makes it difficult for them to move around. your four year old should not miss out on valuable play because she doesn’t want to mess up her clothes or hair. her appearance should be the last freaking thing on her mind. it makes me so angry to see little girls having to sit on the sidelines while their brothers and male cousins play rambunctiously because their parents put them in a dress and expensive shoes. i hate the bullshit propaganda that little girls “naturally” prefer playing quietly indoors and/or alone. sure, it may be true for some little girls (just like it’s also true for some little boys), but you cannot tell me that socialisation doesn’t play a massive role in what kind of play children “naturally” prefer.”-parezcounapina
A former female firefighter was just given a settlement of $3.2 million by the city of Boston for what she characterized as a culture of sexual harassment, shaming, and silencing. Nathalie Fontanez says she was retaliated against by the Boston Fire Department for reporting a sexual assault she experienced at the hands of a colleague.
In 2018, Fontanez says she was sexually assaulted by fellow firefighter David Sanchez.
It all began when Fontanez joined the Boston Fire Department in 2011. The department was looking to hire fluent Spanish speakers, and Fontanez considered the opportunity a “golden ticket”. It was an opportunity for her, a single mom, to provide for her daughter without the assistance of welfare. And, she could prove to her daughter that women can do anything.
But Fontanez’s dream soon turned into a nightmare. After joining the department, she faced an inordinate amount of hazing and harassment because she was a woman and a Latina.
“I’m not a veteran. I’m not a man. I’m a Latin woman. If there was a totem pole, I was at the very bottom,” she explained. “I felt that I had to tolerate anything that came my way, because I was lucky to be there,” she said.
After reporting the incident to her superiors, she says that her colleagues turned on her.
In a recent press conference, Fontanez explained the experience in more detail. “Incidents began to escalate and I was then shamed and labeled a trouble-maker,” she said. “The guys that I once relied on for my life’s safety now turned against me.”
Fire departments don’t get the scrutiny law enforcement gets on racism/sexism because it’s mostly work related. The public sees firefighters putting fires out and views them as heroes. We don’t see the ugliness that takes place back at the fire house.
While Sanchez was convicted of assault and battery and sentenced to two years of probation, Fontanez says that she was harassed and isolated by her station mates. According to her, the retaliation also included being denied a promotion and being ignored at social events.
“I was often reminded by some of my colleagues that I had taken a job from a man who could have been providing for his family, even though I was a single parent providing for mine,” she said.
Last month, the city settled with Fontanez for $3.2 million. But Fontanez says it’s not about the money–it’s about changing the toxic culture of firehouses.
“I’m breaking my silence because I believe that women firefighters deserve equal treatment in the Boston Fire Department,” Fontanez said during the news conference. “However, at this point that is the dream, but not the reality, for many women firefighters. The department is overdue for change, and the time for change is now.”