A few days ago, Netflix released the first trailer for its brand new TV show Insatiable, which follows a girl named Patty who returns to high school after losing a lot of weight and wrecking havoc on other students.
The series shows Patty as a larger student, who is bullied relentlessly about her weight and after getting punched in the face, she spends an entire summer with her jaw wired shut.
She then returns to high school, after losing a lot of weight, and decides to use her new good looks to get revenge on the bullies who teased her.
People have already started slamming the show, with a Change.org petition being created demanding that Insatiable be cancelling before Netflix has even had a chance to add it to their streaming library.
The petition's creator, Florence Given, explained in the description that she believes the show tells young women that you can only be happy if you're thin.
"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.
"The release is set to be the 10th of August, we still have time to stop this series from being released, and causing a devastation of self-doubt in the minds of young girls who will think that to be happy and be worthy, they need to lose weight.
"This series will cause eating disorders, and perpetuate the further objectification of women's bodies. The trailer has already triggered people with eating disorders. Let's stop this, and protect further damage."
The petition has 88,794 signatures at the time of writing, however, those involved with the series have urged viewers to give it a chance.
Debby Ryan, who plays Patty in the show, took to Twitter to address the backlash and said that it was bullying that she'd in her own life, that urged her to take the role.
"As someone who care deeply about the way our bodies, especially women's, are shamed and policed in society, I was so excited to work on Insatiable because it's a show that addresses and confronts those ideas through satire.
"Satire is a way to poke fun at the hardest things, bring darkness into the light, and enter difficult conversations. I have to laugh at my pain, otherwise I'll dissolve and weep and get stuck instead of working through it. It's a coping mechanism and for a lot fo people who are telling these stories, a healing mechanism.
"Over the last few days, I've seen how many voices are protective and fiercely outspoken about the themes that come into play in this story. I'm grateful for that and comforted by it, because I want those stories told too.
"Twelve years into my own struggles with body image, struggles that took me in and out of terrible places I never want to go to again, things I choose everyday to leave behind, I was drawn to this shows willingness to go to real places, about how difficult and scary it can be to move through the world in a body, whether you're being praised or criticised for its size, and what it feels like to pray to be ignored because it's easier than being seen.
"It was very important to Lauren Gussis, our writer and showrunner from whose brain and heart and life the character of Patty was born, as well as to me, that any scenes where Patty was heavier, don't use her size as a punchline and never justify the abuse that she suffers. The humor is not in the fat-shaming (Or thin-shaming, slut-shaming, virgin-shaming or "glam-shaming" for fans of Arie's season of The Bachelor...). The redemption is in identifying the bullies and saying "this is not okay".
"Patty had the same brain, the same sense of humour and style, soul and heart, the same chucks, but felt like she didn't matter to anyone until she was thin. She didn't have the same opportunities and she was treated worse, which is what triggers her rage. And Patty doesn't starve herself skinny. She snaps and undergoes a physical transformation, but it doesn't make her happy.
"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. I want more women to keep telling their stories and through that, face the gutting realities that bog us down every day.
"I'm, grateful to be on a show by whip-smart female creators that aim to dissect the insidious pressures we place on young women. I hope fans will wait and watch the show before passing judgement. If you go for this ride, I think you'll recognise both yourself and the things that make you mad about our fractured and beauty-obsessed culture."
Showrunner Lauren Gussis also took to Twitter to address the backlash and explained how her experiences influenced Insatiable.
"When I was 13, I was suicidal. My best friends dumped me, I was bullied, and I wanted revenge.
"I thought that if I looked pretty on the outside, I'd feel like I was enough. Instead, I developed an eating disorder... and the kind of rage that makes you want to do dark things.
"I'm still not comfortable in my skin, but I'm trying to share my insides - to share my pain and vulnerability though humour. That's just my way.
"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."
And finally, Alyssa Milano, who also stars in the show and is a leader of the Time's Up movement, also took to Twitter to explain that Insatiable doesn't make fun of Patty's appearance.
"We are not shaming Patty. We are addressing (through comedy) the damage that occurs from fat shaming. I hope that clears it up."
She also linked to a story published by Teen Vogue that says that although the show is problematic, it also creates a necessary dialogue about women's body image.
Insatiable is due for release on August 10.
If you are concerned about your own wellbeing, are experiencing a personal crisis or are concerned about someone else, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or at www.lifeline.org.au
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