Netflix’s new show Insatiable has been on the receiving end of a “fat-shaming” backlash that has resulted in over 200,000 people signing a petition to cancel the show.
Insatiable tells the story of a young woman in high school, “Fatty Patty,” who is bullied for being overweight. After getting her jaw wired shut, she experiences a drastic weight loss and is deemed “hot” by her peers. Patty uses her new popularity to exact revenge on her tormentors. The Netflix Original program is largely based on the personal experiences of Lauren Gussis, show creator and former Dexter writer.
The show is set to premiere on Netflix Aug. 10 and the trailer for the series dropped a little over a week ago. A petition started circulating that has 210,000 signatures and counting.
“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,” the Change.org petition reads. “We still have time to stop this series from being released, and causing a devastation of self-doubt in the minds of young girls who will think that to be happy and be worthy, they need to lose weight.”
Cindy Holland, vice-president of Netflix’s Original Series, responded to the criticism at the 2018 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
“Lauren Gussis, who is the creator, felt very strongly about exploring these issues based on her own experiences, but in a satirical, over-the-top way,” she said. “Ultimately, the message of the show is that what is most important is that you feel comfortable in your own self. Fat-shaming itself, that criticism, is embedded in the DNA of the show.”
Gussis responded with a tweet shortly after the trailer aired defending the show.
— Lauren Gussis (@GussisLauren) July 21, 2018
She also talked about the show to Teen Vogue saying, “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.”