The Mess of the Show that is "Insatiable"

The Netflix original series Insatiable is about a high schooler, named Patty Bledel, who struggles with being overweight.

Within the first ten minutes of the show, Patty gets into a fight with a homeless man after he insults her for being overweight and asks her to share her candy bar. Patty gets punched in the face and breaks her jaw, which results in her having to go on a liquid diet. The next time we see Patty, she has lost 70 pounds and has magically transformed into a thin beauty queen.

After watching the first episode of this series, I have some major concerns to address:

1. Patty went on a diet as an 8-year-old, when no child should be thinking about weighing themselves. It is completely inappropriate for this show to include this, because it plants the idea in children’s heads that they need to worry about their weight at a young age.

2. We also learn that Patty sits at home on the weekend, eating junk food. The show contrasts Patty’s habits with those of popular cheerleaders, implying that in order to have fun, girls have to be skinny and popular. This is, again, harmful to young girls, because girls should be able to look any way they like, and the way a person looks should not determine whether or not a person has fun.

3. Next we meet Bob, a married man who coaches pageant girls because he believes that transforming people into beauty queens makes them more worthy. This stems from his own childhood issues: because he was an overweight child, he feels badly for people who are overweight. It is inappropriate for Bob to be a pageant coach, and he is accused of being a child molester, which is a whole other issue in and of itself.

4. When Patty gets hit in the face by the homeless man, she claims that getting injured was the “best moment of her life.” This is ridiculous. Losing weight should not be what makes a person happy or proud of their life.

5. Bob agrees to represent Patty in court and says, “Nobody cares about fatties or homeless people.” Although Bob is trying to defend someone whom he feels sympathetic for, the way in which he approaches the situation is wrong, because again, he is emphasizing that people who aren’t thin or well-off are less than people who are.

6. When Patty is overweight, Bob plans on settling the case, but once he finds out that Patty is thin, he changes his plan. Instead of settling, he decides to go through with the case because, “Pretty girls don’t have to settle.” This sends a message to the viewers that being pretty is an advantage, and that people who aren’t pretty are less than. Bob states that Patty is “Beautiful like someone who would never throw a punch.” Bob intends on turning Patty into the damsel in distress in the trial in order to win the case. He says, “Appearances would be everything.” Essentially, he is saying that substance doesn’t matter, only what a person looks like.

7. When Patty gets a makeover, Bob gives her a pearl necklace, to make her look classy and pure. These pearls remind me of women in the '50s who were expected to own a pearl necklace. Women in the '50s were supposed to be submissive housewives; this scene doesn’t reflect the progress that has been made in society.

8. Patty also doesn’t have a healthy relationship with her body. Even after losing 70 pounds, Patty thinks of herself as “Fatty Patty,” who she says is “like a demon” inside of her. Patty believes that if she gains weight again, people will view her as unworthy.

Insatiable is a show that does not encourage body positivity. Instead, it sends the message that a person is only worthy if he or she is thin and traditionally beautiful. Society has moved towards body positivity in the last decade, and it’s shows like this that encourage backwards thinking. People should be able to look any way they want, and what someone looks like on the outside is not what matters. I would not recommend this show, especially if anyone struggles with body image issues. Just remember, the way someone looks doesn’t define them as a person, and as a society, we should move towards valuing internal traits, rather than the superficial.