Are you too easily offended?

Peloton’s holiday advertisement has gone viral, taking the media by storm with its controversial message. Is the commercial really offensive or has society taken on an overly sensitive view of the world?


Blake Hoonhout

Actress from the Peloton commercial. This is a snippet of her journey throughout the commercial.

On November 21st, Peloton released a commercial that was quickly criticized by the media and automatically deemed sexist and classist. The controversy went viral, making its way onto major news networks. In the Hallmark-ish ad, a thin and attractive woman receives a Peloton bike for Christmas from her husband.

The woman enthusiastically thanks her husband and the ad continues on to show the woman documenting her experience with her new gift through a series of selfie-videos on her phone.

A Peloton is a modern exercise bike that has a screen attached to it so that the user can take part in training lessons, watch TV or imagery while pedaling away. Although the commercial has been heavily condemned by most as being disrespectful, I believe that these accusations are unfounded and overly sensitive.

At this point, I bet you’re asking, “Why exactly is this ad a problem?” Well, I found myself asking the same question when I was introduced to the commercial by someone who insisted that it was sexist and offensive.

According to The New York Times, the reasoning behind these claims of sexism were that the husband in the ad came off as controlling, rude and chauvinistic as he seemed to be giving his wife a peloton because he wanted her to get thinner. The fact that the actress who posed as the wife was in good shape definitely made matters worse for the critics by depicting the gift as highly impractical.

Yet another accusation was that the ad was classist because of the costly price of the workout bike, which amounts to $2,240, making it unaffordable for those with less financial means. Because exercise is so important for our health, everyone should have the opportunity to take advantage of physical activity. The product displayed in the commercial, however, creates a roadblock for those who are unable to obtain the exercise bike because of the cost. This obstacle supposedly hinders them from carrying out their basic right to a healthy lifestyle.

Now that we understand why this has caused such a disturbance it’s time to formulate an opinion, but before you do, you might want to go watch the Peloton commercial yourself.

First I’ll address the “classist” portion of the commercial. To me, this claim is completely invalid and quite irrelevant. If this ad is supposedly classist because of the price of the item being advertised, couldn’t we say the same thing about every item being displayed for over $2000?

You don’t need a Peloton in order to exercise but Peloton does have to make a profit somehow. Plus, there are different features on the Peloton that separate it from a normal exercise bike, such as the built-in screen. One could simply purchase a bike that does not include this feature, which would most likely be sold at a lower price and get similar quality.

I think that it is inaccurate to call this commercial classist solely because a certain group is unable to afford it, since that can be said about most “luxury” products. Everyone should be free to maintain their bodies and keep fit without any hindrance. Even so, the fact that there might not be an equal opportunity to obtain a Peloton is not enough of a reason for the ad to be considered classist.

I find that lately society has become increasingly petulant and quick to revert to a place of victimhood. We pride ourselves on being able to speak our minds but recently even the slightest controversial comment can be taken out of hand and dramatized to an amazing degree.

As a female, I don’t feel that this ad is offensive in any way whatsoever. First of all, a Peloton is a totally practical gift to give, especially for someone who looks as if they are active and fit. This is because those who are in good shape are the ones who take advantage of work out equipment. Put simply, one would give a paintbrush to a painter as it is relevant for them and corresponds to their interests.

Do you find the Peloton commercial offensive?

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Many individuals would love to be gifted exercise equipment, especially as good quality as the Peloton bike. Most often if someone is on the slimmer side, they exercise in order to be that way in the first place. On the other hand, those who aren’t as in shape are the way they are usually because of a lack of physical activity.

This brings into question how the media would have reacted if the commercial instead featured an overweight individual being gifted the bike. The comments would have been far more critical and the ad would have been considered much more offensive. In this case, we find ourselves in a difficult situation where meanings could be lost by trying to avoid reprimands from the uptight media.