Ideas And Values About Men And Women In Insatiable Series

In the Netflix series Insatiable, it is about the protagonist whose name is Pattie Bladell she is an overweight high school student who gets bullied about her weight and the way she dresses. That all changes when a homeless man tries to take her food and calls her fat she gets so angry she punches him in the nose then the homeless man punches her in the face which breaks her jaw. Patty is forced to be on a liquid diet which makes her skinny and now seeks revenge on the people who made her life hell. Patty gets help from Bob Armstrong who is a disgraced and unhappy lawyer/pageant coach and has no idea what plans Patty has in store when she releases her wrath upon the world.

In the Netflix film there are many episodes which contain gender representation references sayings all throughout the film but sometimes they are subtle and it makes you really analyze about what the characters said to understand its deeper meaning. This show definitely conveys more ideas and values about females and there are also some for men as well.

Media plays a huge role in creating gender and social norms because of multiple forms of media like television, films, and advertisements can be seen on any social platform. In this Netflix series, you are able to identify gender representation portrayed by masculinity and femininity when it comes to issues of labor and work. In season one episode one there are plenty of examples of gender ideas in just the first episode. The episode begins with the main character Patty Bladell saying she’s been overweight as long as she can remember and hates it. She is constantly being bullied by others because of her weight.

Many females are very insecure about their bodies starting from a young age. There are many women who feel that they are unattractive because they have this idea that being thin is good and they feel that in order to be attractive they must starve themselves. Most of these false body images are created because of television and media which portrays skinny models as the ideal body type and for those who don’t have that body type feel insecure about themselves. In the first episode Patty, or also known as “Fatty Patty” is seen running laps with her best friend Nonnie and she notices Pattie was pale and dizzy. Nonnie asked when was the last time she ate anything patty replies last Tuesday then she faints. It’s amazing the lengths women reach to achieve “the perfect body”. It’s upsetting to witness someone denying themselves food or going to the gym seven days a week just to look a certain way there are many risk factors that come with people who fear in gaining more weight like eating disorders.

According to the Mayo Clinic, they say “To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia usually severely restrict the amount of food they eat. They may control calorie intake by vomiting after eating or by misusing laxatives, diet aids, diuretics or enemas. They may also try to lose weight by exercising excessively. No matter how much weight is lost, the person continues to fear weight gain” (Mayo Clinic).

Females are damaging themselves to achieve the perfect look, to please themselves and others Patty is tired of the constant bullying from her classmates and even family that she denies herself food just to achieve an unrealistic body standard. In the Netflix film being fat is equated with being “sick and “out of control.” Patty is having a hard time loving herself let alone a significant other she works hard to try to love the way she is. In the same first episode fast forwarding a little there is a beauty competition taking place with Bob Armstrong and his contestant Dixie Sinclair who is not the smartest and is considered to be an airhead there is also his nemesis Bob Barnard with his prize-winning daughter Magnolia Barnard. At the end of the contest Magnolia Barnard wins the pageant and Dixie’s mom Regina Sinclair was furious and demanded her money back when she didn’t get what she wanted she falsely accused Bob Armstrong of sexually assaulting her daughter when she doesn’t get her way. Which ruins his reputations for pageant coaching and at his legal practice. It is very easy for men to be blamed for sexual assault because men are more likely to do so. That’s a gender stereotype that is usually attached to the male population in that type of concept. It’s easier to pin the blame on men and everyone will willingly believe any accusations that are made against them. No one would really expect or even accuse a girl at first its more common for men to be accused of such actions.

Now, three months later Bob Armstrong couldn’t get a single pageant coaching gig or legal case because of the false accusations. Bob Armstrong had worked so hard to get to where he was and it was shattered within a matter of seconds and ruined his family name the things he once loved to do are now almost erased from his life. Further into the first episode’s storyline, it shows Bob Armstrong taking Patty’s case for physically assaulting a homeless man because he called her fat and tried to take her chocolate away. He settled for probation and the best he can do for her was to keep her out of jail and move on. Until he first meets Patty he sees what potential she now has because of the weight she lost and just how beautiful she has become. She was able to achieve this because her mouth was wired shut because of her broken jaw. Bob Armstrong said “She was a diamond in the ruff. A beauty queen just waiting to happen.” He saw Patty as a way for his redemption to become a pageant coach once more. He wanted to use Patty’s beauty and smarts to get what he wanted so he had to figure out a way to keep her out of jail. Bob A. said pretty girls don’t have to go to jail meaning if she uses her beauty to her advantage Bob is teaching her that it pays to beautiful and that you’re able to achieve anything when you look good. Bob is taking advantage of Patty since she is new to her new body and is still self-conscious about her new image that she isn’t fully aware of what he is trying to achieve. According to Psychology Today, they state “Low self-esteem is more common in beautiful women than you would expect. Some just don’t believe they are attractive. They have a distorted self-image and don’t believe others who tell them how stunning they are. Thus in their mind, everyone is a “liar” and not to be trusted.”

Since Patty has a small crush on Bob A. she is willing to do anything to please him and make him happy. Patty thinks if she can hit it off with Bob A. but sadly he just using her looks to get ahead. Bob A. is transforming her into a beauty queen, which Patty isn’t used to at all so they both work together to achieve beauty queen status. For Patty’s court hearing Bob A. is transforming her to be the victim of the crime which means that appearances would be everything but the bad news is was there is a witness who could send Patty to jail so she had to prepare. He even told her to “start reading about Catherine the Great, Cleopatra, anyone who used their beauty for power. This testimony, it’s not just about facts, it’s a seduction.” In order to clear Patty’s name, she has to do just that. Throughout the first season, there are gender representations when it comes to the LGBT community. Nonnie who is Patty’s best friend has a huge crush on Patty and can be seen throughout the season. But she is still unaware of the feeling she has and unsure of how she feels. Many teens go through stages of coming out it all starts with a questioning their identity. Its starts with asking themselves am I really straight? That sometimes takes a long time to answer that question because most of the time they are scared to think that they aren’t straight. According to Moira Weigel “Almost everyone who goes out who is not straight, white, and gender conforming will at some point fear that a flirtation has put him or her in danger. To worry all the time weighs on you, oppressing you even if you never actually meet the violence”.

There is an internal battle that the individual goes through it’s a tough situation that one goes through. Nonnie goes through this same thing. Nonnie is jealous of Bob A. because Patty has a huge crush on him an always talks about him in front of Patty. Even Patty’s mom Angie is able to see how big of a crush she has on Patty. But later on, she tries going out with Donald Choi but Donald is able to see right through her act of trying to be something she’s not Donald say’s “I want this to be like a date and I don’t know if it is I don’t know if you’re gay.” Nonnie responds with “Neither am I okay? … Look I’m not stupid I know what people say about me. I’ve thought about it a lot”. According to Psychology Today “There is some research to suggest that LGBT youth who come out to their parents and who are supported by them are less likely to have mental health problems or engage in unsafe sex than their counterparts who are not out, or who are out to disapproving or rejecting parents”.

Nonnie is having a hard time trying to find out who she is just like many other LGBT people. It’s hard for her to accept who she really is but she puts in the work to accept herself and love herself In the same episode, Patty is having a hard time of letting go of “Fatty Patty” after all those years of torture she was in Patty. Patty is afraid if she gets fat again people won’t think she is beautiful. Now all Patty has is this desire to get revenge against anyone who has made her life miserable. Patty is upset the homeless guy didn’t show up for the court hearing to see her win the case. She wanted to file a countersuit against the homeless man “I want revenge against anyone who has ever been mean to me. I had a taste of victory, but it’s not enough. I want more.” According to Naomi Wolf she states “Recent research consistently shows that inside the majority of the West’s controlled, attractive, successful working women, there is a secret “underlife” poisoning our freedom; infused with notions of beauty, it is a dark vein of self-hatred, physical obsessions, terror of aging, and dread of lost control”.

Patty wants to use her beauty as a weapon to get back at everyone who has wronged her. The first one on that list is the homeless guy that she coincidentally met at her mother’s AA meeting. Patty wants to ruin his life by making him fall in love with her but only to reject him. When they meet up at a motel room the homeless guy falls asleep on her she was furious “her demons were out and she was hungry. Insatiable. She still felt empty. Like the same pissed off fat girl. And she would have done anything to make that feeling go away.” In the following scene, Patty is seen drenching the homeless guy with alcohol and lighting a match. But instead, she called Bob A. to tell him she is going to go through with beauty pageants. Patty is seen throughout the season fighting her demons Patty is ready to put in the work to avenge herself. While at the same time trying to love the way she is now. Patty doesn’t have a picture perfect family, her dad left her mom as soon as he found out her mom was pregnant. Patty’s mom whose name is Angie Bladell doesn’t play the ideal mother role she’s selfish, irresponsible, and absent most of the season. Angie has an addiction problem and many other problems as well. In the first episode when she is thanking Bob A. for taking Patty’s case pro bono (free) as both of them diverge in a conversation Bob A. wants to talk to Patty, Angie says “Her jaw is wired shut. That homeless guy broke it.” Bob asks why she is the one that got arrested and Angie reply’s “Well she did break his nose. He tried to take away her chocolate bar. She’s very serious about her food” as she hands Bob A. her yearbook photo “See? It can’t be easy, you know, looking like that and having a mother who looks like me.” Angie also blames Patty for ruining her life and getting her hooked on drugs and alcohol because she got pregnant and started working at a nearby fast-food chain. Angie also tries to seduce Bob A. into helping them by showing some of her cleavage even though he already offered his help in the first place. I believe that Angie experienced maternal depression that could be very serious for the wellbeing, her function as a mother, the development of the infant, and family. According to Maternal Depression: Implications for systems serving Mother and Child “Research indicates that maternal depression poses a serious risk to the quality of the parent-child relationship which in turn can threaten a child’s physical, social, and cognitive development during early childhood. For instance, infants and young children of depressed mothers have increased risk for social and emotional problems and delays put children at greater risk”.

Maternal depression is probably the reason why Patty and Angie don’t have a good mother-daughter relationship Angie is too busy resenting Patty for disrupting the life she once had. After Patty’s won her court hearing Bob A. thinks that Patty has a shot at being the next Miss USA if she worked hard. As Bob A. is explaining that to Patty, Angie has an upset expression on her face but in reality, she’s jealous of all the attention Patty is getting. Angie says “Absolutely not. I don’t want my daughter sexualized, objectifies. Especially not by older men.” As they both storm off they are driving to Angie’s AA meeting where Patty is still mad for what her mom said to Bob Armstrong. Angie tries to make everything about her when she says that she’s been 100 days sober and that today was supposed to be about her even though her daughter won her court hearing and wasn’t going to jail.

Angie may not be the best-fit mother but sometimes during the episodes, you can see that she tries hard to be a good mother to Patty. Angie also tries hard to show Patty that she is trying to change and put in the work to be a good mom. In this Netflix show, we are definitely able to point out how this show conveys ideas and values about men and women. I have to admit this show has a deeper meeting that meets the eye when you really analyze the show you are able to see hidden meanings. The show helps bring to light the many struggles someone might have whether it’s about your weight, sexual orientation, or even if you struggle with addiction. But every one of the characters tries their best to turn their lives around and make the best out of their lives.

03 December 2019
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