Netflix’s Insatiable Desire to Profit off Fat Shaming

Netflix’s Insatiable Desire to Profit off Fat Shaming

pierre-best-591612-unsplashImage: Photo by Pierre BEST on Unsplash

You’ve probably seen it, the trailers and promotion for Netflix’s new series ‘Insatiable’; a timeless tale of a bullied fat girl who gets skinny over her summer break and is now ‘hot’, which couldn’t have been the case when she had body fat.

Despite the massive amounts of backlash (including a petition that got over 200,000 signatures, mine included), Netflix has responded by confirming that the show will still be aired on August 10th.

Never mind the doctors, dietitians and most importantly the thousands of people with eating disorders who have been triggered by the trailer alone.

Are the losses of production cost more important to Netflix than the mental health of their consumers? Apparently.

It’s not as if this is a new vibe for Netflix, ignoring the pleas of professionals and people who struggle with mental health issues is pretty on brand, just look at the backlash of 13 Reasons Why and To the Bone.

Glorifying mental illness and eating disorders is a Netflix Original classic, and it’s not like they’re not profiting off it, Netflix made $558.93 billion last year.

So, before I get into my issues with the premise of this show I want to start here, fat does not equal ugly.

Body positivity is so damn important and using such a huge platform to fat shame teenagers (because after all, the show is set in a high school) is unacceptable.

I’ve never been thin and regardless of what my body looked like I always hated it.

I hated it when I was competing in nationals for swimming, the fittest I’d ever been.

I hated it every time I was ever called fat by teammates, family, ‘friends’ and myself.

I hated it every time I saw my body in a picture, a mirror or a reflection.

I hated it when my friends who were smaller than I was would talk about needing to lose weight and talk negatively about their own bodies, because if they thought that about themselves, what did they think of me?

I always associated my fat with being ugly, they were synonymous in my mind and I know I’m not alone in that.

It has taken me until very recently to be comfortable in my own skin, knowing that my body is always going to have curves and a stomach and as long as I am healthy, active and happy that is enough.

So when I saw the trailer for this show I was floored.

My heart hurt, not for myself necessarily, but for every person (especially young person) who feels insecure in their body.

The perpetuation of the idea that people with fat are ugly and that you have to be thin to be treated with human decency is disgusting.

To anyone who has ever been or felt fat, it’s the same story, you can’t be attractive or valued if you aren’t thin.

Not only that, but the fact that the whole reason the protagonist, Patty loses all of her body fat is because she was assaulted and had to have her jaw wired shut.

If that doesn’t scream ‘stop eating and you’ll be adored’ I don’t know what does.

Also, she loses a fat suit (oh yeah, did I mention she’s wearing a fat suit for the start of the movie?) worth of body fat and has no stretch marks, no excess skin or any other signs that her body has majorly changed over such a short period of time.

Our bodies change but funnily enough losing the amount of weight Patty lost doesn’t just change the amount of skin she has.

Additionally, before having her jaw wired Patty’s narration jokes about her unhealthy relationship with food, reinforcing the idea that fat equals unhealthy.

This show plainly promotes unhealthy methods of and unrealistic expectations weight loss and without a doubt will be triggering to people who have struggled with eating disorders.

Weight loss isn’t unhealthy, being active and eating well is important, but the damage that this show can (and will) do cannot be brushed aside.

I won’t be watching, and I urge you not to either, you’re above being subjected to fat jokes.

To anyone who has ever struggled with their body weight, I’m so sorry that we are the butt of yet another cheap joke.

Regardless of your weight you are beautiful, you are powerful, you are sexy.

Being comfortable in your body in a world that profits off your insecurities isn’t easy by any means, but you’re doing great.

Your body weight and type doesn’t define you, you are an interesting, complex and wonderful person who deserves to feel happy in their own skin.

Dance around your room in your underwear and remember that you’re f*****g awesome just the way you are.

And to Netflix, I’m not the first and I certainly won’t be the last person to say, give us a show about a fat girl who learns to love her body the way it is, who is healthy, active and happy, rather than telling us that we can’t be attractive the way we are.


Mal xx

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