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Insatiable backlash: 110,000 sign petition to axe Netflix show over ‘body shaming’

4:16 pm, 24th July 2018

Insatiable, which is due to air in August, tells the story of “Fatty Patty”, a student who is bullied and ridiculed about her size before dropping the weight and miraculously becoming “attractive”.

Netflix describes the series as a “dark, twisted revenge comedy”.

A trailer for the show says: “This is like every great high school movie ever made. Now, I could be the former fatty who turned into a brain or an athlete‚Ķ or a princess. No. I’d rather have revenge.”

In response, a change.org online petition was set up by London-based artist and social activist Florence Given, calling the show “body-shaming” and “toxic”.

It has now been signed by more than 110,000 people.

Ms Given says Insatiable “perpetuates not only the toxicity of diet culture, but the objectification of women’s bodies”.

She says that by equating popularity with thinness, the programme will damage young girls who “will think that to be happy and be worthy, they need to lose weight”.

Actress Debby Ryan, who plays Patty, has previously defended the show, saying that rather than being guilty of body shaming, it uses humour to confront it.

Ryan wrote on social media: “Satire is a way to poke fun at the hardest things, bring darkness into the light, and enter any difficult conversations.”

She said scenes in which “Patty was heavier don’t use her size as a punchline and never justify the abuse she suffers”.

Ryan goes on: “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 actress also says she struggled with her own body image for 12 years, which “took me in and out of terrible places I never want to go again”.

The show’s creator, Lauren Gussis, who was inspired by her own experiences as a teenager living with an eating disorder, previously told Teen Vogue she wanted to use the series to tackle the issue of bullying head-on.

Talking about the need to address the way appearance and “looking different” is taught to young people, Ms Gussis said: “Every single character in this show has a hole that they’re trying to fill and they’re insatiable for something, whether it be validation or love, or money or power.”

Ms Gussis has also responded to the backlash, saying Insatiable is a “cautionary tale about how damaging it can be to believe the outsides are more important” and urging people to “give it a chance”.

British TV presenter and actress Jameela Jamil is among those who have criticised the show, saying on Twitter that it is “telling kids to lose weight to ‘win’.”

Sky News has contacted Netflix for comment.

The service provider was criticised last year after anorexia drama To The Bone, starring Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves, was accused of glamorising eating disorders.

Insatiable is due to air on Netflix on 10 August.