Now unless you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you will know about the petition to stop the release of Netflix series Insatiable. From the synopsis available on Netflix, it is hard to see why there is such uproar around the series:
‘A bullied teenager turns to beauty pageants as a way to extract her revenge, with the help of a disgraced coach who soon realises he is in over his head.’
From this it seems to be about pageant culture in America, and a troubled teen getting revenge on her bullies, right? What Netflix fails to describe is why the main character ‘Patty’ is bullied. Watching the Season one trailer reveals that ‘Patty’ is bullied because of her weight. She is quoted as huge and referred to as ‘Fatty Patty’. After being punched in the face , she has to have her jaw wired shut, and leads to her losing the excess weight. By losing the weight, she becomes what society considers as ‘hot’. The series is set to show how Patty gets her revenge on her former bullies.
The stigma around the series surrounds the huge body shaming storyline. In order to become successful Patty has to lose weight and become socially acceptable, but why can’t there be a story about self love? Body confidence is a huge issue, especially for teens, so encouraging a drastic change in their lifestyle to become socially acceptable is not the best message.
Florence Given, a 19 year old feminist fighting for women’s rights around the world, started a viral petition to stop the series being released. However it seems her efforts have been in vein as Cosmo reports that Netflix will still go ahead with the release of the show on the 10th of August.
Debbie Ryan, the star of the show took to twitter to defend the show, saying that ‘she was drawn to the show’s willingness to go to real places, about how difficult and scary it can be to move through the world in a body, whether you’re praised or criticised for it’s size’.
Even though Ryan hints at the show having a positive message, the theme of the show still carries a prominent message that, according to Fox News, is toxic and promotes bad diet culture, and the objectification of women’s bodies.
In my opinion, a trailer can be deceiving, and when the show is released I will be watching, but if it lives up to the negative messages that are promoted in the trailer, I won’t be binge watching. As Given said in her interview with NBC, ‘we are past the era of the 90s, where fat suits are funny!’
I think it’s about time we showed our bodies some love, rather than trying to fit into what society wants us to look like.