Netflix's 'Insatiable': Petition to Shut Down 'Fat-Shaming' Series Gathers Over 140,000 Signatures

BY GRACE PREWITT

Over 140,000 have signed a petition urging Netflix to cancel their 'fat-shaming' series Insatiable.

 PHOTO: Netflix

PHOTO: Netflix

Netflix has found itself in yet another controversy, this time concerning its latest series Insatiable -- set to release August 10. The first trailer, only released last week, immediately received criticism for it's fat shaming and eating disorder triggers.

Insatiable centers around Patty (played by Debby Ryan), a high school girl who is bullied for her weight. The trailer shows her being called "porky" and "butterball" by a girl with a megaphone in the cafeteria, as well as more abuse from other classmates. At the end of the school year, Patty gets punched in the face and ends up having her mouth wired shut, which means she cannot eat. When she returns to school after summer vacation, Patty turns heads as she confidently walks down the hallway, strutting her newly acquired thin body. In the trailer Patty says, "Having my jaw wired shut lost me more than just my summer vacation. Now.. I can be a former fatty who turned into a brain, or an athlete, or a princess." This narrative suggests that you cannot be smart, athletic, or beautiful unless you are thin. However, instead of becoming what she feels she can now become, Patty chooses to get revenge on all of the people who bullied her.

Florence Given, artist and activist, started a petition titled "Stop the Release of Netflix's Body-Shaming series Insatiable." The petition has already received over 140,000 signatures and continues to grow. It reads:

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.

Along with Given, thousands of others have shared their concerns about the series. Powerful testimonies have been given from people who have experienced eating disorders, parents, dietitians, and psychiatrists. Yet, those involved with the series, like Debby Ryan, have come to defend it by saying it tackles the issue of body shaming with comedy.

"Satire is a way to poke fun at the hardest things, bring darkness into the light, and enter difficult conversation," Ryan writes in a note posted on Twitter. "I have to laugh at my pain, otherwise I'll dissolve and weep and get stuck instead of working through it. It's a coping mechanism and, for a lot of people who are telling these stories, a healing mechanism." Though even after this response, people are still debating what is appropriate to turn into comedy, and at what point does something considered "funny" turns triggering to others.

Along with the critique on harmful body-shaming, others have pointed out the oversaturation of assault in the story. Just from the trailer, it is apparent that physical violence is a key theme throughout the series, including revenge violence, slapping, punching, and even setting people on fire. Additionally, there appears to be a scene of domestic violence between a parent and a child. In a post on Instagram, Dana Suchow, founder of MyBodyStory, shared seven reasons why Insatiable should be canceled.

Among the issues, she says that physical violence is not an okay response to bullying. Suchow explains there are many privileges at play in the series, including financial, thin, and white, but she says the beauty privilege presented in the show suggests that beauty validates violence and abuse.

While Netflix has yet to respond to any criticism, people are continuing to sign the petition and engage in conversation. At the end of the petition description, Florence declares, "This series will cause eating disorders, and perpetuate the further objectification of women's bodies. The trailer has already triggered people with eating disorders. Let's stop this, and protect further damage." Insatiable is still set to air August 10.

Lead Image Credit: Netflix