Photo Credit: Netflix
In recent weeks, one of Netflix's newest original series, "Insatiable," has nearly broken the internet. The show follows Patty, a high school student who is overweight, but only in the first episode. It is made clear that Patty was tormented by her classmates for her size, made evident by the chants of "Fatty Patty" as she walked around the school.
But then, a "miracle" happened. Patty stopped at a gas station and got a candy bar. After being turned down by someone in her school who was nice to her, she steps outside to eat her candy, but a homeless man mocks her, telling her she didn't need it as much as he did.
She then punches the guy, and he punches her. Her injuries required her to have her mouth wired shut, and she had to stay on a liquid diet. The result was incredible weight loss that made her classmates and others look at her in a new light. But she swears to get revenge on those who hurt her by becoming a beauty queen.
Here's the trailer:
The trailer gives you a little taste into the series, but several who are defending the show against claims of fat-shaming say that you have to watch the show to know that the whole point is that being skinny doesn't solve all of your problems.
While many fat people didn't want to give this show a chance, I did. I have to admit that I don't take myself too seriously and I don't tend to project myself onto characters easily, but I could see how others do, especially vulnerable teenagers who haven't fully developed emotionally.
GOOD ASPECTS OF THE SHOW
1. IT GETS PEOPLE TALKING
me to deal with because I thought I could trust this person, but it turns out that I couldn't. I felt betrayed and lied to.
2. IT FEATURES A STRONG FEMALE LEAD
I can't deny how much I love the character of Patty. She is determined to shine after years of being put down for her size and what she looked like. I know several of my friends that would feel empowered by someone like Patty, who wants to show up the people who tormented her.
BAD ASPECTS OF INSATIABLE
1. IT POKES FUN AT A SERIOUS TOPIC
And, I know this may come off as harsh, but having body image issues and actually being overweight are two different things. People who have body image issues who are thin do not likely face scrutiny by their entire school. Unless you've truly experienced it, how can you say you understand?
2. IT MAKES FAT PEOPLE LOOK INCAPABLE
Unlike how the show paints the life of a fat person, not everyone cares what the haters say. Eventually, yes, constant bullying will cause harm, but a ton of us really don't care what people have to say to our faces or behind out backs about our size.
I sometimes wish that Patty was as sassy when she was fat as she is now that she is skinny. The truth is, the show paints Patty as incapable of standing up for herself, moving forward in life, finding a boyfriend, or being happy at her size. This isn't true of many who are fat, but is rather a narrative of how skinny people think fat people react to their torment.
3. IN THE CASE OF A MAN...
this pushes the narrative that the only person who would want a fat girl is a lesbian. While I believe that everyone has the choice to live their lives the way they choose, it is really messed up to make it seem as though Patty is unlovable to men at all. If the show were being honest, the strange kids or the other fat guys in school might have some sort of feeling for Patty, and maybe the occasional cool kid.
This is the exact attitude my former friend had toward me: you won't find a husband or even a boyfriend because you're fat. This is a narrative that the show could have changed, but they decided to run with it to include the stereotypical friend-loves-a-friend-but-she-doesn't-know-it with an LGBTQ twist. I'm not saying that this doesn't happen, but I had still had men who were into me. I'm married!
4. CAST AND CREATOR RESPONSES WERE BOGUS
the character of Patty was born, as well as to me, that any scenes where Patty was heavier don't use her size as a punchline..."
However, if you watched the trailer above, you will have noticed several times Patty's size is used as a punchline, including the opening voiceover where Patty says something like "while other classmates were losing their virginities, I was stuffing another hole," implying fat people aren't attractive enough to be in a relationship with someone.
She goes on to say that Patty had "the same brain, the same sense of humor and style, soul and heart, the same chucks, but felt like she didn't matter to anyone until she was thin."
To me, I see a very different Patty from before and after her weight loss. She changed A LOT. She became more ruthless and I think her humor changed a bit as well.
yourself and a single person being bullied by everyone in their school. Just because you lost a friend doesn't mean your entire school or class is against you. You can't really understand if you haven't experienced it. I'm not saying she hasn't, I'm just saying that her response isn't really clear about what she really experienced as a teenager.
LIFE STORIES FROM A FAT WOMAN
1. I am laughed at sometimes for being in a gym trying to better myself.
2. I remember my brother (who was overweight at the time) and I standing in line for popcorn at a theater and hearing someone speaking about us being fat in Spanish. Little did this person know, we both were nearly fluent in the language and knew what was being said about us.
3. Stores almost always charge more money for sizes that are bigger than a large or an XL.
4. Sizes are different depending on where you go.
5. Sizes that once fit bigger people are now used to make smaller people feel as though they are too big. I.E. a size 16 may now fit someone who used to be a size 10. This makes it harder for big people to know where to shop and what brand will have clothes that will fit them.
6. In middle school, I was fat and had short hair. A boy broke into my locker and stole my purse. He put it in the boy's bathroom, and I was ridiculed because rumors spread that I was going to the men's restroom at school.
7. I was constantly laughed at when I danced at school dances (even though I wasn't doing anything crazy). In fact, I had been dancing at a studio for 8 years before this happened. People laughed because of the way my fat jiggled when I moved.
8. I was embarrassed in front of my entire class because I said that I thought a boy was cute. A "friend" went and told the girl's boyfriend that I liked him and she said "why do you think he would want someone like you?"
9. When I was in college, I had concerns about safety on our campus because someone who wasn't a student was walking on to campus every day. This same person ended up running after my best friend, threatening to kill him. As a project, I had to take a poll about a subject on the campus, and I chose campus safety. One of my friends ran down to the cafeteria to ask some of the students in our class. She came back up and said that one male student said "why is she so concerned, who would want to rape Gabbie?"
I want to clarify and say that I never once made any indication that I was afraid of being sexually assaulted by this person. I was scared of them coming back with a gun (which they talked about) or a knife and hurting people. This comment not only made it seem as if I was unworthy of consensual love, but that no one would touch me no matter what because of my size.
10. I was a drum major in high school. I was just as big then as I am now, and I had torn my meniscus in my knee the year prior after I fell in some liquid in the cafeteria. Needless to say, my knee was bad, and extra weight didn't help. But I was active. I was in marching band, which practiced during the day and after school several times a week.
We had a showcase where we were going to show our show to family members and friends. I asked one of our field equipment people (who wasn't nice) to bring out a step stool so I could get up on the tall podium, but they didn't bring it and refused to go get it. It took me more than 5 minutes to get up on the podium, and my classmates and their families laughed at me. Two girls came over to give me their shoulders to push up on and I eventually got up to where I needed to be. It was terrible and embarrassing, and not even the band director cared.
I am still watching the show, don't get me wrong. As I said, it doesn't really bother me as much as it does other people. I want to give it a chance. It is pretty funny, and I haven't run into a ton of concerning things yet.
I do hope that you will watch the show yourself to see what you think about it. Give it a chance and see if you like the show before swearing it off.
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