New Netflix series Insatiable is facing backlash online after viewers accused the show of fat-shaming following the release of the trailer.
The show released its first trailer on July 19. Insatiable follows Patty (played by Debby Ryan), a high school teen who is bullied over her weight.
After having her jaw wired shut over the summer, Patty loses weight and decides to take revenge on those who bullied her before her weight loss.
Over 119,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling on Netflix to cancel the controversial series.
“For so long, the narrative has told women and young impressionable girls that in order to be popular, to have friends, to be desirable for the male gaze, and to some extent be a worthy human… that we must be thin,” the petition stated.
It continued: “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.”
The petition also said that Insatiable “will cause eating disorders and perpetuate the further objectification of women’s bodies.”
Lead actress Ryan responded to the criticism on social media, writing: “As someone who cares deeply about the way our bodies, especially women’s, are shamed and policed in society, I was so excited to work on Insatiable because it’s a show that addresses and confronts those ideas through satire.”
She continued: “Satire is a way to poke fun at the hardest things, bring darkness into the light, and enter difficult conversations.”
“I have to laugh at my pain, otherwise I’ll dissolve and weep and get stuck instead of working through it,” she wrote. “It’s a coping mechanism and, for a lot of people who are telling these stories, a healing mechanism. Over the last few days I’ve seen how many voices are protective and fiercely outspoken about the themes that come into play in this story. I’m grateful for that, and comforted by it, because I want those stories told right too.”
“Twelve years into my own struggles with body image, struggles that took me in and out of terrible places I never want to go again, things I choose every day to leave behind, I was drawn to this 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 being praised or criticized for its size, and what it feels like to pray to be ignored because it’s easier than being seen,” she added.
Ryan continued: “It was very important to Lauren Gussis, our writer and showrunner from whose brain and heart and life the character of Patty was born, as well as to me, that any scenes where Patty was heavier don’t use her size as a punchline, and never justify the abuse she suffers. The humor is not in the fat-shaming (or thin-shaming, slut-shaming, virgin-shaming, ‘glam-shaming,’ for fans of Arie’s season of the Bachelor…). The redemption is in identifying the bullies and saying ‘this is not okay.’”
“We’re not in the business of fat shaming,” she shared. “We’re out to turn a sharp eye on broken, harmful systems that equate thinness with worth.”
“I hope fans will wait and watch the show before passing judgment. If you go for this ride, I think you’ll recognize both yourself and the things that make you mad about our fractured and beauty-obsessed culture,” she concluded.
Alyssa Milano (who plays Coralee in the show,) wrote on Twitter: “We are not shaming Patty. We are addressing (through comedy) the damage that occurs from fat shaming. I hope that clears it up.”
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
Many people on social media, including actress Jameela Jamil, have come out in support of the cancellation of the Netflix series.
PSA to @reedhastings, et al: If you do not cancel @insatiable_ and cease promotion of it immediately, you will inspire thousands of young people to adopt eating disorders. Please do the right thing and fix your mistake.
— AllGo (@canweallgo) July 19, 2018
lol I thought 13 reasons why was a travesty and now Netflix makes "Insatiable" a thing to one up that HAHAHAH cancel it.
— Badtameez Beti (@badtameez_beti) July 21, 2018
Hey @netflix? This very bad new show you made is pro-eating disorder propaganda. In high school I thought losing a bunch of weight would make me happier, cooler, and overall better, like in your bad new show. It actually made me very unhealthy. Please cancel @insatiable_
— Bailey Steinworth (@baileys) July 20, 2018
This is horrible. I work with kids. You have no clue. This isn’t okay, it isn’t comedic, it isn’t funny, it isn’t a show we should ever be promoting. If anything, I hope this leads to conversations to SHUT IT DOWN. Cancel this series @Netflix pic.twitter.com/6HMPLhn6Qi
— Lana K. Niyah (@DreamTraveler35) July 20, 2018
Think @netflix should cancel @insatiable_ before they even release it. Such an abomimation should not exist. Telling teens that by not eating you’ll ”get hot” and everyone will love you, is promoting anorexia and boosting mental illness among kids.
— Evelina Thorén (@evelinathoren) July 20, 2018
Hey @netflix cancel Insatiable it’s trash and will actually hurt ppl
— Jupiter✨ (@JayIllustrate) July 22, 2018
This makes me want to cancel my subscription. So uninventive, so disrespectful, so not worth it.
— muerte al dulce de leche y al lemon pie☠️ (@anita_in_wonder) July 20, 2018
Creator of Insatiable Lauren Gussis explained to Teen Vogue: “I really felt like it was important to look at head on and talk about it.”
Gussis continued: “And what are young women and, frankly, young men taught about appearance and how much appearance matters and whether it’s OK to look different and it’s OK to be different, and the feeling of ‘not enough’ which kind of leads through all of the characters.”
“Because every single character in this show has a hole that they’re trying to fill and they’re insatiable for something whether it be validation or love, or money or power,” she said.
— debbyryan (@DebbyRyan) July 20, 2018
Ryan also defended the show in the same interview, explaining: “There is so much more to , and definitely trust that we’re doing it and it’s there.”
“Everything from the complicated mother-daughter relationships, dating in high school, finding yourself in sexuality, and different boundaries within relationships. And I think if you do take a second to get to know it, I think you’ll realize that Patty’s complicated, these people are complicated,” Ryan shared.
At the time of writing, 119,307 people have signed the petition. The petition’s target is 150,000 signatures.
Insatiable premieres on Netflix on August 10.
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