Netflix’s new series Insatiable was derided before release, many subscribers criticising the streaming service’s decision to produce a show seen as ‘fat-shaming’ others.
The trailer showed how a teenager, Patty, played by Debby Ryan, loses weight over summer after an incident leads to her jaw being wired shut. Coming back to school, now apparently attractive, she seeks out revenge on those who mocked her.
Despite the flawed premise, Ryan has said that the backlash was somewhat ‘surprised’ by the online “We knew that this conversation needed to be had. We knew that this societal brokenness needed to be addressed, but we didn’t know how badly it needed to be addressed,” she told Teen Vogue.
Ryan added that she understood the criticism: “My friend, a few days before the trailer hit, in reference to something else, said, ‘The size of the reaction is the size of the wound,’ and it stayed with me.”
Since the show’s debut on Netflix, a petition calling on Insatiable‘s cancellation has accumulated over 200,000 signatures. The series has also been criticised by experts who specialise in weight loss and eating disorders, including Adam Cox, a clinical hypnotherapist, who told The Independent that the show may have an especially negative effect on young people suffering from body image issues.
Ryan previously addressed the backlash, saying she was “excited” to work on the show because [it] “addresses and confronts those ideas [of bodyshaming] through satire.”
She added: “Twelve years into my own struggles with body image, struggles that took me in and out of terrible places I never want to go to again, things I choose every day to leave behind, I was drawn to this show’s willingness to go to real places about how difficult and scary it can be to move through the world in a body, whether you’re being praise or criticised for its size, and what it feels like to pray to be ignored because it’s easier than being seen.”
“Patty has the same brain, the same sense of humour and style, soul and heart, the same chucks, but felt like she didn’t matter to anyone until she was thin... she undergoes a physical transformation, but it doesn’t make her happy. We’re not in the business of fatshaming. We’re out to turn a sharp eye on broken, harmful systems that equate thinness with worth.”
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