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Netflix Misses the Mark Once Again With New Fatphobic Series – Arts + Culture

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Netflix Misses the Mark Once Again With New Fatphobic Series

July 20, 20185 min read

With another day, comes another fatphobic sentiment from the media. Today, it is coming from Netflix and the trailer for their new series titled Insatiable. Insatiable follows the life of a high school girl named Patty who, compared to everyone else in her school, is fat. The trailer depicts Patty being tormented for her weight and ostracized from the rest of her classmates. One day, Patty is punched in the face by a man, which causes her to get her jaw wired shut over the summer. This then causes her to lose all of her weight and become skinny, conventionally attractive, and overwhelmed with newfound popularity. But Patty doesn’t want popularity — she wants revenge on the people that bullied her. The trailer goes on to depict Patty inciting violence against her classmates and shows how she is “insatiable” for her need to get back at the people who hurt her.

This trailer draws many red flags. First of all, the actress playing Patty is Debby Ryan, who is not fat in real life but is made to put on a fat suit and a fake double chin to be portrayed as overweight. The media has had a long, ugly history of making fun of plus size people by having thin people “dress up” as them. There isn’t a problem showing various body types on screen, but when fat suits are involved, it’s always to be used as a joke and it isn’t any different with Insatiable. The trailer shows the words “Fatty Patty” spray painted across Patty’s locker along with a picture of a pig with her face on it. It also shows classmates calling Patty “porky” and “butterball”. Her weight is just used as a punchline to further on the story. Marginalized people’s torment shouldn’t be used as entertainment for others.

The problems do not stop there. After an accident, Patty has her jaw wired shut for months and loses all of her weight. Now being thin and hot compared to society’s eyes, everyone is nice to Patty and she is popular. This is wrong in more ways than one. Patty is praised for losing weight in an unhealthy way, being that she couldn’t eat much at all because of her jaw being wired shut. Instead of praising her recovery, the only thing that is praised is her weight loss. This shows that people only really care for looks and that being fat is worse than being hurt in an accident. Patty being accepted and treated well now that she is thin, wears makeup and dresses “nice” conveys a terrible message that girls can only be confident in themselves and accepted if they fit into society’s standards. This is not the type of message Netflix should be spreading to its audience. We live in a society where women and girls are becoming more empowered and are able to break away from society’s standards. With this series, Netflix is showing the exact opposite.

Another red flag is that once Patty is thin, she wants revenge on all of the people who made fun of her. The trailer depicts her fighting with a girl who bullied her and also depicts a scene where she is about to light a man on fire. The show is being considered as a “coming of rage story”. In a society where it is common for bullied people to retaliate with violence, particularly gun violence, this does not sit over well. This show is encouraging violence and is completely tasteless in this day and age.

Netflix has missed the mark once again, enabling fatphobia and encouraging violence. Two things we definitely do not need to see in our media, especially in media that is directed at a younger audience. Netflix needs to do better and we need to do better as a society in not pushing these harmful ideologies onto young people. Insatiable is set to come to Netflix on August 10, and I know that I will not be giving it any views.