Netflix’s new series Insatiable has stirred quite the controversy. Starring Debby Ryan, the show follows the chronicles of Patty, a previously overweight high school girl who loses the weight and seeks revenge. The show claims to be all about body-positivity, but critics believe it’s the exact opposite.
Once the trailer dropped, controversy erupted all over social media. People attacked the show for sending the wrong message. My takeaway from the trailer is that it does send the wrong message. It is saying that the only way for plus size women to gain respect is to shed rapid weight and transform their bodies. And, for a show that is seemingly geared toward teenage girls that can be really toxic and problematic.
Debby Ryan, who plays lead character Patty, disagrees and truly believes that the show is about body positivity and sheds light on how cruel people can be high school. She shared this tweet with her followers the day the controversy broke out.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”und” dir=”ltr”><a href=”https://t.co/XEbJnyjmei”>pic.twitter.com/XEbJnyjmei</a></p>— debbyryan (@DebbyRyan) <a href=”https://twitter.com/DebbyRyan/status/1020770952827744258?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>July 21, 2018</a></blockquote>
No matter if the show is satirically handling body-shaming issues, its main plot still caters to the classic plus size girl who loses her weight and now becomes valued in the eyes of others trope. It does not teach anyone anything about body shaming or body positivity. It only gives bullies more unique one-liners.
So, instead of binging on Insatiable when it starts streaming on Netflix, here is a list of actually body-positive television shows and movies.
Shallow Hal (2001)
Shallow Hal, a true 2000s classic, stars Jack Black as Hal, this overly shallow man who only pays attention to the most attractive women. He goes his merry way of course until he is “cursed”. Said curse changes Hal’s perspective allowing him only to see people for what they truly are. “Hot” women with terrible personalities and morals morph into ugly women, while those who have hearts of gold, like lead character Rosemary Shanahan played by Gwyneth Paltrow, are given a beautiful outward appearance. Hal ends up meeting Rosemary, but doesn’t realize that she isn’t conventionally attractive, like his previous shallow-self would prefer. In the end, Hal learns an amazing lesson, and it truly shows that personality and heart trumps outward looks.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Little Miss Sunshine follows the story of young, quirky girl whose dream is to compete in a beauty pageant. Abigail Breslin plays Olive Hoover, an unconventional girl with an odd family who piles into a van to travel to California for the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. Though clearly intimidated by her predominately blonde and tanned competition pool, Olive finds confidence in herself and gives the performance of a lifetime.
Quite the classic, Hairspray the movie follows Tracey Turnblad, a plus-size Baltimore girl whose dream is to be on The Corny Collins Show. Sadly, the head of programming is a backwards, ex-beauty queen who looks down upon Tracey for her body type. But nonetheless, she persists and blows the competition out of the water. Even winning the heart of a young Zac Effron (swoon).
My Mad Fat Diaries (2013)
My Mad Fat Diaries is a British comedy that chronicles the life and times of Rae, a plus-sized girl in the world of the 1990s heroin chic. Straight from the mental hospital, Rae reunites with her old friend Chloe who introduces her to a new gang of friends. She faces the challenges of deep insecurities and not wanting to go outside while trying to keep social. While crushing hard on her new friend Archie, she develops an unlikely romance with the ever so dreamy Finn Nelson, who actually is the one who crushes on Rae first.
Netflix’s Glow follows the creation of the popular 80s program, Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. The show leads with characters of all different body types and quirks, and truly delves into the backstory and feelings of all the characters. Together, they create a bada** team of athletes who support one another throughout the entire process.