Monday 27 January 2020

Petition to cancel Netflix show Insatiable draws more than 100,000 signatures

One campaigner has said the show might ‘trigger’ young viewers with eating disorders.

The show’s trailer prompted numerous complaints on social media (Tina Rowden/Netflix)
The show’s trailer prompted numerous complaints on social media (Tina Rowden/Netflix)

Lucy Mapstone

A petition to cancel a new Netflix series with a focus on the weight of its leading character has reached more than 100,000 signatures.

Teen comedy-drama series Insatiable has prompted numerous complaints on social media after its trailer premiered last week.

The clip shows leading character Patty, an overweight student, being bullied and ridiculed by her peers before she is forced to have her jaw wired shut, causing her to lose weight and suddenly be deemed attractive.

The character then seeks her revenge on the bullies who tormented her.

Actress Debby Ryan, who plays Patty, wears a fat suit in the scenes before the weight loss in the series, described by Netflix as a “dark, twisted revenge comedy”.

A petition launched on by London-based social activist Florence Given has called for the programme to be cancelled before it arrives on the streaming service in August.

She says that Insatiable “perpetuates not only the toxicity of diet culture, but the objectification of women’s bodies”.

“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,” Ms Given says.

She says that the “series needs to be cancelled”, and described it as “insidious and sinister for teenage girls”, warning Netflix of a “loss of profit”.

Ms Given adds: “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.”

Her petition has so far been signed by more than 109,000 people, although Netflix has yet to respond to it.

Ryan recently defended the programme’s premise, writing on Twitter: “As someone who cares deeply about the way our bodies, especially women’s, are shamed and policed in society, I was so excited to work on Insatiable because it’s a show that addresses and confronts those ideas through satire.

“Satire is a way to poke fun at the hardest things, bring darkness into the light, and enter difficult conversations.”

Ryan said that Insatiable’s writer and showrunner Lauren Gussis made sure “that any scenes where Patty was heavier don’t use her size as a punchline, and never justify the abuse she suffers”.

She also said: “(Patty) snaps and undergoes a physical transformation, but it doesn’t make her happy. We’re not in the business of fat shaming.

“We’re out to turn a sharp eye on broken, harmful systems that equate thinness with worth.”

In a recent interview with Teen Vogue magazine, Gussis said: “I really felt like it was important to look at (bullying) head on and talk about it.

“And what are young women and, frankly, young men taught about appearance and how much appearance matters and whether it’s OK to look different and it’s OK to be different, and the feeling of ‘not enough’ which kind of leads through all of the characters.

“Because every single character in this show has a hole that they’re trying to fill and they’re insatiable for something whether it be validation or love, or money or power.”

Read more: Hurting the ones most in need? - Parents of teens watching ‘13 Reasons Why’ should grasp this opportunity

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