Revenge is a dish that should be served cold. And to believe it is the high schooler Patty – the main character of the new series by Netflix, Insatiable.
Patty is bullied in high school because she is fat. And so far nothing new. But one day he gets a punch in the face by a homeless (obviously near a candy store, because he’s fat) and is forced to keep his jaw closed, unable to eat. When she finally comes back from the accident, she is thinner and more determined to take revenge with all those who have offended her.
All this may seem sarcastic, in the typical American black comedy style, but Insatiable stages the oldest story of the world, a fat girl who becomes thin to take revenge. And in 2018 is it still right to talk about these themes in this way?
What’s wrong in Insatiable
Patty reflects all the stereotypes that people have about fat people: they can’t be sexy, they eat constantly, they don’t have sex or they can’t do it (because they are not attractive) and they think constantly about losing weight – or if they think about other things, all they should think about is losing weight.
Show to the teens (but also to all the other age groups) through a series that if you do not eat you will become thin (and therefore sexy) is wrong. First of all, because extreme food restrictions are not healthy, but only dangerous. And then because being thin doesn’t automatically equate to being attractive. Losing weight is not something that allows you to come out of your shell as if you were stuck in something that doesn’t allow you to really express yourself. And this is the idea behind the concept (sometimes abused, sometimes simply misunderstood) of fatphobia, the idea that if you’re fat you’re less capable, less “smart” and less brave – even to be able to rebel against bullying.
And here we come to another problem in the series: fantasizing about violence as revenge for the acts of bullying received. Physical violence is not the right answer to bullying. The idea that bullying and being set aside is the reason for physical violence is just one of the reasons why things don’t change. If bullying is not justifiable under any point of view, we need a strict education and re-training for those who impose violence against others, not the idea of revenging against themthrough aggression and violence.
It’s true, the series is not even out. It will be available from August. And all that I’m talking about comes only from the observation of the trailer. But the assumptions don’t suggest anything really good, except the usual fat-shaming.