A trailer for the new Netflix series, “Insatiable” has caught the attention of body positive and recovery activists on social media. The show is set to air its pilot on August 10th, despite over 150,000 signatures on a Change.org petition. In light of the 30 second trailer released in promotion of the show, activists everywhere are taking a stand against fat phobia in the media
The first 10 seconds of the trailer shows Debby Ryan, a well-known Disney actress, in a fat suit. As the main character of the show, she plays a teenage girl by the name of Patty (fatty Patty, what a coincidence). After being punched in the face, Patty has to have her jaw wired shut for the entire summer. Surprise surprise, this results in Patty losing drastic amounts of weight. The kicker is, behind the scenes Debby Ryan can just take off the fat suit and the makeup, the impressionable teenagers watching the show cannot.The weight loss portrayed in that short of a time period is near impossible and the circumstance is morbid. Let’s put it this way: the creators of the show could not find a plus sized actress to play Patty, because realistically, nobody would be able to lose that much weight in a short span of time. This idea promotes disordered eating, and has even caused people to relapse/consider relapse by watching the trailer. That is how powerful this concept is.
Another thing noted just by watching the trailer, is the dramatization of high school and high school students. Yeah, we all want to “glow up” before we graduate, but when we have 25 year old actresses setting the bar it puts us in a tough place. Using fully grown men and women to play high school students in film and television sets a standard that we will never be able to attain. They have professional hair stylists, personal trainers, makeup artists — they are manufactured in a way that we are not. When we compare ourselves to the film stars who play us in movies, one thing we don’t take into account is that Hollywood isn’t real life. The entire premise of the show is that, “ Patty gets hot” and that miraculously changes her life.
Along the same lines, when Patty returns to school we hear a gloom inner monologue: “ Now I could be the former fatty who turned into a brain, athelete, princess…” This perpetuates the stereotype that is still dominant in the media, that fat people are just fat. They aren’t seen as human beings with personalities, hobbies and skills, they are being belittled to nothing but a body. The creator of Insatiable, and Debby Ryan herself have both came forward and said that the concept is meant to be satirical, that it’s suppose to show the bad things that come out of fat shaming. But the fact remains that instead of casting a plus size actress go on a journey of revenge against her enemies, the plotline of the show supports the same “Fat girl gets skinny” trope that has demonized the media for decades. The creators could have chosen an enlightening path that celebrated body diversity, but they chose to stay inside the same Hollywood mold.
In short, I don’t think this show will be cancelled. The creators do have the right to freedom of speech and expression, but they cannot try to justify the fatphobia and unrealistic beauty expectations that teenagers all over the world will be exposed to. While this show may not be cancelled, it should not be watched. Coming from someone who lived the life of “Fatty Patty”, but now has an eating disorder, I would not touch this show with a ten foot pole.