Following the backlash of Netflix’s new TV series, Insatiable, after it was accused of fat-shaming, we take a look at the shows that celebrate bodies of all shapes, sizes and colours.
We may have a long way to come, but there are still plenty of TV shows that have a much more healthy relationship with body image, so here are five of the best TV shows that you can watch right now that won’t make you feel bad about yourself.
Orange Is The New Black
Orange Is The New Black is without a doubt one of the most diverse shows on TV. Body positivity isn’t featured directly on the show, but the producers give space for all characters, regardless of shape, size or colour, to tell their story of how they arrived at Litchfield Penitentiary. They’re given the chance to form meaningful and positive relationships with the other characters and their size is never the butt end of the joke.
Orange Is The New Black does things differently, giving equal time to women of colour, disabled women, and those who don’t fit the stereotypical ‘Hollywood’ body mould of a thin, white lady on the red carpet.
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are back for their second season on Netflix and since the first season, cast member Britney Young has quickly become a body positivity advocate, having recently said in an interview that she ‘know(s) what it’s like to never see yourself represented – and if you see your body type represented, the character is either a bully or the weird quiet girl in the corner who eats her hair and is picked on.’
GLOW smashes these stereotypes, as it follows a group of women wrestlers in the 1980s. Every wrestler, no matter what body type, gets their time to shine in the ring. If you want to read more about why you should watch GLOW, our writer Phillip Ellis can give you five great reasons.
Based on the feminist classic by Sarai Walker, Dietland charts the life of Plum, a ghost writer for a fashion magazine who attempts to lose weight to qualify for bariatric surgery. We see the microaggressions that Plum endures in an industry that obsessively places thin bodies on a pedestal. ‘The world hates me for being like this. Every day I walk around in this skin, people look at me like I have the plague. They act like I’m a stain,’ she says in the first episode.
Slowly, Plum begins to realise that losing weight won’t solve her problems. Her journey of self-discovery doesn’t involve celebrating every lost ounce as a victory. Instead, Dietland gives audiences a more complex understanding of what it feels like to live in a body that is ridiculed and shamed.
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Several ‘big queens’ have come and gone – and almost all of them have been asked to speak about their weight. Regardless of how performative this may be, we’ve also seen several queens speak openly about their body issues.
This season, Eureka and Kalorie Kardashian Williams both confronted issues surrounding fat phobia head on. Last year, the queens from Season 9 had open and intelligent discussions about their battles with eating disorders. In RuPaul’s Drag Race, body positivity is given a platform and queens are celebrated.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Netflix)
Ignore the title: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a feminist musical that has been described as the most ‘woke’ show on TV. For an introduction to the weird and wonderful world of its main character, Rebecca, take a look at the ‘Sexy Getting Ready Song’ where the show’s creator, Rachael Bloom, confronts beauty standards in this infectious musical number.
Elsewhere, when another character, Valencia, splits up with her boyfriend and begins to put on weight, Rebecca gives her intelligent advice about self-love. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is game changing in many respects – and has the musical numbers to prove it.