New Netflix Series ‘Insatiable’: More Unhelpful Messages About Body Image [Review]

By: Laura Bennett

After making headlines with 13 Reasons Why and pushing the limits with To The Bone, Netflix aren’t scared of stirring up controversy with their teen content—and new series Insatiable is no different.

Bullied teen Patty Bladell (aka. ‘Fatty Patty’), drops a drastic amount of weight after having her jaw wired shut. Gaining confidence from her new, slimmer look, she decides to exact her revenge on her detractors—through beauty pageants. Patty enlists the help of a disgraced coach, who wants to clear his name from (supposedly) false assault charges.

“Seeing young women think that it’s ok for older men to ogle them flies in the face of every female empowerment campaign, ever.”

It’s a rough plot for a show that’s meant to be a comedy, and straight away deserves its MA15+ rating. From the first episode (which is all this review is based on), Insatiable shows how our need for validation and approval can drive us to extremes, messing with our sense of healthy desire.

In one scene, Patty decides to lose her virginity (unsuccessfully) to someone who mistreated her, just so she can say no to him later on and be a tease. A supposedly great idea to “show ‘em who’s boss”.

While it isn’t expected to be as emotionally exhausting as 13 Reasons Why or To the Bone, Insatiable raises red flags for glorifying an unhealthy relationship with food, and confusing the message around eating disorders.

Patty is a young woman trying to understand how to appeal to other people as a friend and girlfriend, and so far it only comes down to her dress size. Once Patty is skinny, the attention Insatiable suggests is worth getting is just uncomfortable. Seeing young women think that it’s ok for older men to ogle them, and run commentary on their appearance, flies in the face of every female empowerment campaign, ever.

The show also touches on themes relating to same-sex attraction, and has a satirical approach to religion and spirituality (Patty’s first pageant is ‘Miss Magic Jesus’).

Aside from the fact Insatiable is a painfully weak attempt at entertainment, Netflix is missing an opportunity to offer young people a real example of what it looks like to hold your own against the bullies, and find true body confidence.

Insatiable is rated MA15+ and definitely one to be wary of.

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

About the Author: Laura is a media professional, broadcaster and writer from Sydney, Australia.