Netflix Vice President of Original Series, Cindy Holland has defended the streaming giant’s controversial new show Insatiable as thousands sign a change.org petition demanding its cancellation.
The show follows the life of Patty ( Debby Ryan), a high school student who is repeatedly and brutally bullied for being overweight. Then, after being punched in the face so hard she’s sent to the hospital to get her jaw-rewired, Patty returns to school having also undergone a weight reduction surgery.
Patty’s slimmer body suddenly makes her the most desirable girl at school.
Since the trailer debuted, the show has received torrents of criticism for its apparent promotion of fat-shaming and revenge bullying.
You can watch the trailer, below:
Per Indiewire, at the 2018 Television Critic Association Holland said:
“[Showrunner Lauren Gussis] felt very strongly about exploring these issues based on her own experiences, in an over-the-top satirical way.”
Holland continued that ultimately, the show’s message is about being “comfortable with yourself”. The VP also said criticism of society and fat-shaming would be explored thoroughly in the series.
Gussis released a statement to her Twitter last week in which she asked critics to give the show a chance.
“When I was 13, I was suicidal. My best friends dumped me, I was bullied, and I wanted revenge. I thought if I looked pretty on the outside, I’d feel like I was enough.
… The show is a cautionary tale about how damaging it can be to believe the outsides are more important – to judge without going deeper. Please give the show a chance.”
Ryan also responded to the criticism via her Twitter writing “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.”
The change.org petition has over 200,000 signatures of its 300,000 goal with many sharing their exhaustion with the “fat girl loses weight to be appreciated” trope in film and television.
The description according to the petition reads:
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 toxicity of this series, is bigger than just this one particular series. This is not an isolated case, but part of a much larger problem that I can promise you every single woman has faced in her life, sitting somewhere on the scale of valuing their worth on their bodies, to be desirable objects for the male gaze. That is exactly what this series does. It perpetuates not only the toxicity of diet culture, but the objectification of women’s bodies.
This series needs to be cancelled. The damage control of releasing this series will be far worse, insidious and sinister for teenage girls, than it will be damaging for Netflix in their loss of profit.
You can view the full petition, here.
Insatiable is slated for release August 10.