Netflix has pretty much taken over the game when it comes to original content. They produce shows and movies seemingly at ease, and almost every single one has been met with high praise.
But their newest show, called Insatiable, has been met with serious backlash. The show follows a high school student named Patty who is overweight and constantly bullied about it.
"Fatty Patty" gets punched in the face and has to have her jaw wired shut over the summer, which leads to a massive weight loss due to, you know, not being able to eat. Now that she's thin, apparently everyone thinks she's hot now and respects her.
Now that she's "hot," Patty decides to seek revenge on all those around her, which includes punching people in the face and lighting them on fire. No, seriously. Watch the trailer. It's true.
The show immediately received criticism for their "fatphobic" take on high school. At one point it's implied that the only reason Patty doesn't have a boyfriend is because she's fat, somehow making her unworthy of love. Not true.
Another point of contention was that people believed the show was promoting an unhealthy weight loss tactic. Patty doesn't eat for two months and all of a sudden she's rail thin with no issues. Also not true. Starving yourself messes with your body and is an extremely dangerous thing to do. But hey, it makes for good TV, right?
Fans were fuming that in 2018, we could be pumping out content that reinforced the archaic notion that only thin, beautiful women can be strong.
This is trash. Netflix I expected a company that’s prided itself on changing the faces in entertainment and inclusivity to be better to fat people. This story like is uncreative and fatphobic. It’s also incredibly insulting to attempt to tell an story of a fat women with a thin— Savannah✨ (@GirlcraftWorld) July 19, 2018
Can we get a show where a fat character gets Revenge on everyone who’s shitty to them while still being fat, and is recognized as badass and funny and super hot, because that would be something actually fresh and cool and not the lukewarm watery oatmeal that is Insatiable— 🔥The Bastards Don’t Get To Win🔥 (@RoAnnaSylver) July 19, 2018
The show Insatiable on @netflix looks like a piece of utter trash. Don't watch shows where people wear fat suits. Don't watch shows where they try to turn fat phobia and hatred into a joke.— Amanda Levitt (@FatBodyPolitics) July 19, 2018
Tbh I’d watch #Insatiable if the main character remained fat and still wanted revenge, THATS a story I’d watch to see— Palmira Muñiz 又 (@vivalapalma) July 19, 2018
A petition for the show to be cancelled started circulating almost immediately.
“For so long, the narrative has told women and young impressionable girls that in order to be popular, have friends, to be desirable for the male gaze, and to some extent be a worthy human…that we must be thin,” wrote Florence Given, who started the petition.
The petition has gained more than 100,000 signatures, but stars Debby Ryan and Alyssa Milano don't see why people are so upset.
We are not shaming Patty. We are addressing (through comedy) the damage that occurs from fat shaming. I hope that clears it up. Also, this article does a good job of explaining it more: https://t.co/WoR8R7TjqR #Insatiable https://t.co/GFkDdsn1uh— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) July 19, 2018
Milano spoke about it more in depth on the app Periscope later.
"Of course fat-shaming is wrong … and disordered eating is bad and something that I have suffered with in my life, as well as being fat-shamed," Milano said. "Most importantly, a woman's or man's or anyone's weight does not determine their worth. I certainly see how many of you that watched the trailer felt that those values were not conveyed."
But is it really a big deal?
The answer, in my opinion, is yes. I understand that it's a TV show and that if you don't want to watch, you don't have to. But shows like this which only give "value" to characters once they've lost weight or become conventionally "attractive" are damaging to young girls who are still going through changes.
More importantly, it makes a mockery of the struggles overweight people have to deal with on a daily basis. From unwarranted comments on eating habits, exercise regiments, and literally everything else, those who are considered "fat" are constantly told ways they need to change.
Even medical professionals have admitted to treating overweight patients differently.
An alarming study out of Temple University reported that more than half of doctors characterize overweight patients as "ugly" and "non-compliant." One third of doctors even called them "weak-willed" and "lazy."
So for Netflix to promote this story about a girl who only finds her true confidence after a traumatic experience, it feels irresponsible. Is it really that difficult to write a show about a girl who finally finds her self-esteem while remaining heavy? It can't be. Hairspray did it!
And sure, it's a TV show and we've only seen a two-minute trailer from a 12-episode series, but I just don't see how this show about a girl who starves herself thin is going to do any good.