We can’t look at Patty and feel empowered by her character when she is a walking testament to everything we are told is wrong with us.Netflix loves revenge stories, especially super problematic revenge stories that push harmful stereotypes and reinforce dangerous narratives. 13 Reasons Why has had a controversial run on the platform, and now they want us to make way for Insatiable—an obviously fatphobic upcoming series whose creators are promising that it’s not as terrible as it seems, and it seems pretty terrible. The story follows Patty, a fat teenager played by Debby Ryan, a thin actress. In order to play both fat and thin Patty, Ryan wears a bodysuit that honestly it looks someone just strapped a maternity belly on her and said, “That’s good enough.” Despite the fact they put a thin person in a fat suit and did a terrible job of it, I have to say that, for me, this is preferable to having to watch a fat actor take this role and serve as a real-life “before picture” for Ryan. After a fateful meeting with someone’s fist, she spends the entire summer with her jaw wired shut and shows up on the first day of the new school year with a smoking hot bod, as rated by conventional beauty standards. She decides she will get revenge on the people who made her life he'll when she was fat. Her vengeance is where the story is supposed to be “empowering,” but we’ve already boarded the fat-shame train before we even get to that point. This series is marketed as a dark comedy, in the vein of Heathers or Jawbreaker. In reality, it is nothing more than a revenge body narrative that begins from the idea that fatness is undesirable and fat bodies must become thin in order for those who inhabit them to be truly happy. Patty does not come back from her summer still fat and decide to let her tormentors have it. She only seeks this revenge after she returns as a thin person who suddenly has access to a world of options that were blocked to her before. Regardless of what she decides to do with that social capital, this entire story still rests on that fact.
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The new Powerpuff Girl, Bliss, is so important to little brown girls around the world who sit watching the rebooted version of the show today.By Jonita Davis There used to be only one way to get my three girls, ages 2, 4, and 6 to settle down long enough to give me a break. I would pop in a DVD of The Powerpuff Girls cartoons or turn to a marathon on Cartoon Network. The girls would watch the show, mesmerized by the colors, the story, and the action for at least a half hour. They each had a designated Powerpuff Girl. The oldest was Blossom, the four-year-old was Buttercup, and the youngest was always Bubbles. They would keep these parts for years, and act out their own fights for the safety of Townsville in my living room. Many a lamp and three couches were sacrificed to the cause. My little brown-skinned girls would imagine themselves as these bold, magical characters and would spend hours recreating their favorite episodes or making up completely new villains and storylines. When their little brother came along a few years later, he would assume the role of either the professor or the villain of the hour. No, he could not be one of The Powerpuff Girls, those parts were only for girls. I have to admit that I loved seeing my girls using their imaginations to make up stories that required courage, confidence, and even more imagination to fulfill. I truly believed that seeing girls in a position of power and intelligence on screen had something to do with the confidence and strength my girls have now. Today, my Blossom is about to celebrate her 21st birthday in a few days. My Buttercup is 1500 miles away at college, and my Bubbles is working her way through her senior year in high school. They are all strong and independent women. I think all those Powerpuff Girls sessions had something to do with that.
As articles praising the return of “The L Word” saturate my Twitter timeline, I question how the show will frame the intersectional issues women of color face in the LGBTQ community. By Leslie Whitmire “The L Word” first aired during my sophomore