Last week, Netflix dropped a trailer for its new series Insatiable, and the internet lost its mind.
Here’s the premise: chubby high-schooler Patty, a victim of brutal bullying, is punched in the face and sent to hospital where she has her jaw wired shut. The upshot? Dramatic weight loss.
Patty returns to school a bonafide babe. Thin and popular, she uses her newfound hotness to exact revenge on anyone who made her life hell.
Critics were quick to slam the show for promoting fat-shaming, posting a petition to Change.org to axe the teen comedy. At the time of writing it had 209,040 signatures – and counting.
The petition reads: 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.
The toxicity of this series is bigger than just this one particular series. This is not an isolated case, but part of a much larger problem that I can promise you every single woman has faced in her life, sitting somewhere on the scale of valuing their worth on their bodies, to be desirable objects for the male gaze. That is exactly what this series does. It perpetuates not only the toxicity of diet culture, but the objectification of women's bodies.
Last week stars of the show, including Alyssa Milano, defended the series, and now Cindy Holland, Netflix’s Original Series VP has responded to the backlash.
“Lauren Goose, who is the show's creator, felt very strongly about exploring these issues based on her own experiences, but in a satirical, over-the-top way," she said. "Ultimately, the message of the show is that what is most important is that you feel comfortable in your own self. Fat-shaming itself, that criticism, is embedded in the DNA of the show ...
"I was drawn to this show’s willingness to go to real places about how difficult and scary it can be to move through a world in a body, whether you’re being praised or criticised for its size, and what it feels like to pray to be ignored because it’s easier than being seen. I hope fans will wait and watch the show before passing judgment."
Insatiable airs on Netflix from 10 August.