The Mighty Logo

People Are Calling Out the Problematic Storyline in the New Netflix Show 'Insatiable'

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

On Thursday, Netflix dropped a trailer for its new high school drama “Insatiable,” which premieres August 10 — and not everyone is happy with the plot. Starring Disney Channel actress Debby Ryan, the series follows a “former fatty” (their words, not mine), who seeks revenge on her bullies after losing weight over the summer… because her jaw was wired shut.

In order to portray “Fatty Patty,” Ryan wears a fat suit. In the trailer, while other students are out “losing their virginity,” Ryan’s character stays home with her friend… eating.

That is, until she loses a lot of weight. “Look, Patty’s hot!” one of her classmate’s screams when she reveals her “transformation.”

People were quick to point out the problematic nature of the storyline. There’s even a –> to cancel the show that has over 9,000 signatures.

“fat girls are not your before. fat girls are not your torture porn. fat girls are so much more than whatever the fuck this bullshit is,” Jude Valentin, a content creator who posts videos under, “ –>,” tweeted. “All this does is further marginalized already marginalized bodies. it makes us feel small and gross. it makes us feel ‘othered.’”

Both Ryan and Alyssa Milano — who plays Patty’s mom — have taken to Twitter to defend the show. Milano tweeted, “We are not shaming Patty. We are addressing (through comedy) the damage that occurs from fat shaming. I hope that clears it up.”

Ryan simply shared a Teen Vogue article about the series, with this paragraph highlighted:

When she returns to school, everyone’s stunned by her physical change. Problematic? You bet. After all, if someone’s treatment of you is rooted in how your body looks, that says a lot about them, not you. Attuned to that, Patty sets out on a quest to make everyone pay for how they treated her (even if you really should just let karma deal with the wrongdoers in its good, sweet time).

But this explanation wasn’t good enough for many who are speaking up against the show. Franchesca Ramsey, from MTV’s “Decoded” and author of “Well, That Escalated Quickly,” responded:

this…isn’t a good take. despite the good intentions this premise is rooted in a fat young woman being a lonely miserable virgin which…is shitty. her happiness is rooted in her being thin meanwhile there are lots of happy fat girls with lots of friends & active sex lives

the highlighted piece seems to suggest the show is meant to comment on how society is cruel to fat ppl which…we already know. but you’re participating in that cruelty bc you’re thin & boiling down a characters happiness & success to their being thin. so yea, people are upset.

As a response to how many people related to her tweet about “Insatiable,” Valentin started a hashtag called #NotYourBefore, empowering “fat folx” to share photos of themselves just as they are.

Valentin said she wants fat young people to know they can live happy, fulfilling lives — no matter their size — and that storylines like “Insatiable” don’t have to represent them. She told The Mighty:

I would love them to know that they are worth more than a number on a scale or the size of their jeans. I would love them to know that diet culture and media is made with the intention of making them feel smaller or less than. I would love them to know that they can live a happy fulfilling life no matter what their size is. Your physical appearance has so little to do with your actual worth as a person.

What’s your take?

Originally published: July 20, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home