Two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese (1). That is the new unhealthy normal and as always being outside of the normal range leads to backlash. The fact so many comments on the ad were “she’s already thin she does not need to work out,” speak to so many problems with health and body image in this country. The acting really didn’t help. The actress plays the role a bit less excited and more terrified that her husband will slice off her head. Strangely this has led to narratives of the ad being sexist and body shaming. It has led to negativity directed towards the actors as if they weren’t just playing roles.
It led to Peloton losing even more money than the “Cyber Truck” lost Tesla, the stocks have since rebounded a bit. The reaction to the bike was overblown for one reason insecurity that so many of us naturally feel at times.
Someone who likes to exercise, likes to ride a bike outdoors, and can’t over the winter might love to get a Peloton or one of the many similar bikes. As a Christmas gift it makes more sense than a car. Yet for some reason a commercial for a $2500 stationary bike created more outcry than the many commercials for a $40,000 or more automobile. Part of that reason is yes, the bad acting, and bad script. The other part is the fact that the result of that person using Peloton to stay fit regardless of whether “changing her body” by helping her not gain over the winter, seems unattainable to the masses.
On some level people know if they work hard enough, they can get a “certified pre owned” Lexus.
On some level many people fear that even with hard work, sacrificing candy, and discipline they may never be in the healthy weight range much less actually fit. That makes the bike even more unattainable than the car. That is why so many are angry. Sheer jealousy and yes some shame at letting ourselves go (myself included I am 30% fat even after losing 20lbs over the year).
Peloton needed to find an actress who could pull off the same look and act out the same scenario. Any number of actresses could do it since they likely do work out very hard to try and look how Hollywood knows they must in order to sell tickets. Say Mila Jovovich, or Charlize Theron, or right on the nose for this ad, Jessica Alba.
It would hardly even be acting. That’s just life for anyone who works out a lot. Yes, in the past she had struggled with an eating disorder, but it would not be right to assume someone being thin is because of that. An eating disorder can occur at any weight.
The actress from the commercial has since made another short ad making fun of the whole situation. She manages this much better written ad a lot better.
In short, this whole controversy is just a product of bad acting and our collective insecurity.
Now since I ate a whole 10 inch pizza by myself today, and nothing else… I think I’ll just have a protein shake or two tomorrow. Is that an eating disorder or Zig Zagging my calories to keep metabolism up and still enjoy food?
- Ogden, Cynthia.Overweight & Obesity Statistics. www.niddk.nih.gov. [Online] National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweigh....