People Are Criticizing Netflix’s New Show “Insatiable” For Body Shaming

Fat people are not a punchline.

Netflix and the creators of new show “Insatiable” are facing backlash because many view the show as body shaming toward fat people. The plot: Patty (Debby Ryan, in a fat suit), is bullied by her peers for being fat. Then a homeless man punches her in the face over a candy bar. Doctors wire her mouth shut to heal. After she cannot eat, she becomes skinny and stereotypically ‘hot.’ With her new body, Patty decides to get revenge the people who bullied her when she was fat. People are criticizing the show for projecting the already-overwhelming narrative that fat people can’t be hot, popular or desirable while they’re fat. Many think the show promotes the idea that you need to not eat to be skinny.

An online petition calling for the cancellation of the show already has over 44,000 signatures for its goal of 50,000.

An op-ed for Teen Vogue, Claire Dodson says the show “reflects all the stereotypes people already have about fat women.” She references discrimination against fat people in society at the doctor, at clothing stores and in the job market. She acknowledges that “Insatiable” is marketed as “satire.” But she says the trailer promotes problematic views about being fat to young fat girls, who already face enough discrimination in society. She also calls out the show for putting not-fat Debby Ryan in a fat suit, which are typically used to make fat people the punchline.

The show’s creator, Lauren Gussis, says the show is based on her own experience with an eating disorder.

Debby Ryan retweeted the tweet and seems to share her sentiments.

However, many responders on Twitter aren’t buying it.

With so much backlash before the show even releases any episodes, it’s unclear what the show’s future holds.

When Netflix released “To The Bone,” a movie about anorexia, it received a lot of backlash for being an inaccurate and irresponsible depiction of an eating disorder. Shows that claim they’re ‘satire,’ while still promoting stereotypically discriminatory narratives usually don’t stick around very long. Remember the short-lived Heathers TV reboot? Mainly, people just want a new narrative for fat people. One where they don’t have to lose weight to be the hero or positive protagonist.

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Also published on Medium.

Mariel Cariker is a recent graduate of Boston University, where she...