The upcoming Netflix series Insatiable stars Disney actor Debby Ryan as “Fatty Patty,” a high school student ridiculed for her weight. One summer, she has her mouth wired shut and drops a bunch of sizes, returns to school a “hottie,” and vows to avenge her former self—a concept that’s straight out of 1982. People who’ve seen the trailer have criticized the series for fat-shaming, and now there’s a Change.org petition (with over 112,000 signatures) calling for the show to be cancelled.
Florence Given, who created the petition, writes in the description:
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 isexactly what this series does. It perpetuates not only the toxicity of diet culture, but the objectification of women’s bodies.
This series needs to be cancelled. The damage control of releasing this series will be far worse, insidious and sinister for teenage girls, than it will be damaging for Netflix in their loss of profit.
Insatiable is set to premiere August 10. Will it go the way of the Heathers reboot? Netflix has yet to respond to the petition (or the controversy as a whole), but Alyssa Milano, who stars in the series, came to the show’s defense on Twitter:
Ryan described the series as satire in response: