Netflix has had a difficult few years producing quality movies or TV series which portray mental illness and challenging topics regarding mental illness, in a safe way for viewers. Criticisms started after the release of 13 Reasons Why which depicted sexual assault, depression, and suicide in teenagers. Doctors warned against the series and advised parents not to let their teens watch the show. After the show’s release, studies found that suicide rates had increased among teenagers, possibly due to the “cluster” effect or the “copycat” effect which can come from portrayed suicide. After 13 Reasons Why came To The Bone, which depicted the journey of struggling with, then attempting to recover from an eating disorder. Netflix has been criticized for being overly graphic, not providing enough information, and still participating in shaming language which doesn’t accurately portray the recovery or treatment process. Problematically, this inadequate messaging continues to send the wrong ideas about living with mental illnesses, which can be life-threatening.
Now, Netflix has released a series called Insatiable which focuses on the life of a young high schooler who was bullied and fat shamed for her weight. After losing weight and becoming “hot” and “pretty”. The problem is already inherent. Fat shaming is a problem because it reinforces negative stigmatization’s on body size and body appearance. The “hot” transformation is problematic because it reinforces thin idealism and continue to compare one body appearance as better or more acceptable than another body appearance. Moreover, it skirts the surface of the real trauma which can result from being bullied due to physical appearance.
Bustle explains that “when the trailer first hit social media, people immediately took issue with two things: the before-and-after, fat-to-skinny plot and the fact that [the main actress] wears a fat suit.” Vox touches on why this shaming contrast matters because “it can’t avoid suggesting that [Patty, the protagonist] was right to hate herself, that fat people should hate themselves, and that they should hurt their bodies until they get better- which is to say skinny.”
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