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Netflix Series ‘Insatiable’: Disturbing Themes, Unhealthy Messages About Body Image [Review]

By: Laura Bennett

Parents will want to know about the new Netflix series Insatiable.

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

In episode one we see bullied teen Patty Bladell (aka. ‘Fatty Patty’), drop 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”.

insatiableWhile 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.

Aside from the fact Insatiable is a painfully weak attempt at entertainment, Netflix is setting a poor example in Episode One of how to respond to bullies, and find true body confidence.

As the season progresses, the show portrays adult content and disturbing themes. There is same-sex attraction, a flippant, satirical approach to religion and spirituality (Patty’s first pageant is ‘Miss Magic Jesus’), and an attempted exorcism. We also see two suicide attempts, a three-way sex scene and a murder. Not great if you want your household filled with healthy, uplifting content.

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.

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