The Peloton Controversy

Social media and "infotainment" news has been lit up recently with the now much maligned recent Peloton television commercial, where a husband buys his wife a Peloton bike for a Christmas gift.

In the commercial, the wife seems shocked but not unhappy to receive the bike, and in the short clip is seen chronicling her fitness journey in a series of videos. At the end of the clip, she shares a video saying that she didn't realize how much this bike would change her.

Both Peloton and the male actor portraying the husband have received a beating by the media over this. It is being labeled "a symbol of patriarchy" and an exhibition of sexism.

Most people who know me know I am the first to have my feathers ruffled when blatant or old fashioned sexism is on display. I can easily swing into soliloquy mode when I think people are misunderstanding true gender equality. I am not a feminist kook by any means, but I believe passionately in true equality and respect for both men and women.

So, when I heard the fuss about this ad I went to pull it up on YouTube (I don't have cable so I am thankfully oblivious to much television advertisement), and I was left a little confused.

Man gives gift (a very expensive gift at that). His wife is not overweight at all, but she looks very pleased. She commits to working out, and at the end of the ad appears pleased to have taken this fitness journey.

Perhaps people object to her use of the word "change" at the end of the ad, indicating that maybe he believed she needed to change. But nothing about the ad hinted at that. Any journey will change you, or should change you, whether that journey is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. Anything worth the effort will change you at least a little. That isn't a bad thing.

Back in 2016 the most wanted item on my Christmas wish list was the Fitbit Aria scale. It wirelessly connects to the Fitbit app so you no longer have to enter weight manually, and it somewhat inaccurately measures body fat percentage. I very much wanted this as I had recently lost quite a bit of weight and was taking my fitness journey very seriously.

My husband got me the scale, and I was thrilled. I know some people scoffed that a man would give his wife a scale. But it was expensive and I wanted it. My husband knows me. He knows when I set a goal I want all the tools to achieve it. He got me exactly what I wanted - and I still use it!

My fitness journey has "changed" me in several ways and probably in all of those ways my husband is pleased. It has made me healthier. It has made my figure better. It has made me mentally tougher. It has boosted my confidence. What part of this should my husband dislike?

The man in this commercial gave his wife an awesome gift that she appears to have loved and achieved goals that she seemed really proud of at the end. As a woman, as a feminist, as a concerned citizen, I just cannot see what the fuss is all about.

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