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Netflix's fat-shaming comedy Insatiable is so problematic, thousands have petitioned to cancel it

It's toxic on so many levels, we've stopped keeping count

Ujjainee Roy @UjjaineeRoy 24 July 2018, 1:36 PM
No, Netflix. No

No, Netflix. No Image: Twitter

We seriously thought we were done with fat-shamed ugly-duckling stories, and then Netflix released the trailer for its new show Insatiable — with a premise so dated and cliched, we could hear our minds cringing.

A teenager loses weight to find popularity, and plans revenge on the people who fat-shamed her. If the show was anymore toxic, Ekta Kapoor would claim it as her own

According to an NME report, over 100,000 people have called on to Netflix to cancel the show. A Change.org petition made by London-based artist and activist Florence Given has urged Netflix to prevent Insatiable from releasing next month.

"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," Given writes on her petition page.

The show, starring Debby Ryan in the lead, actually has lines such as, "Now, I could be the former fatty who turned into a brain, or an athlete, or a princess."

You. Can. Be. Anything. Irrespective. Of. Your. Weight. Bruh.

The show doesn't just completely go against the body positivity movement but is also out-of-touch with the cultural debate around the issue.  "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," Given writes.

Ryan, cast member Alyssa Milano and the show creator Lauren Gussis have taken to Twitter to release statements about the show, following the backlash. Ryan and Gussis both have addressed their own body anxieties and have asked audiences to treat the show as a cautionary tale.

The problem, however, remains in the treatment, as the show consistently depicts the plus-size protagonist as someone who cannot live a good life or be worthy of respect.

Amid the backlash, several plus-size Tweeple took to Twitter to share their pictures and their narratives, with the hashtag #NotYourBefore, which is the reference to the obvious before-after concept Insatiable is trying to sell.

"My life isn’t on hold until I’m skinny. My life is happening right now and I’m thriving and I’m loved and I’m everything that things like your show Insatiable have told me I couldn’t be “until..." wrote one Tweeter.

“Now I could be the former fatty who turned into a brain or an athlete or a princess,” is a particularly disturbing line from the @insatiable_ trailer. Ummm @netflix, overweight kids can be all of the above. I was one of them. My weight didn’t define me," wrote another.

Insatiable is on very shaky grounds, especially after the drama which surrounded Netflix's other teen drama 13 Reasons Why, which was also slammed for its irresponsible depiction of bullying and suicide. 

Insatiable is set to release on August 10, and Given fears the show will effectively lead teenagers into eating disorders. 

"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," she adds.

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