Netflix originals bring awareness to important topics

By Jaclyn Quan

Community and World Editor

  Since the launching of their online video streaming, Netflix has helped produce well-known television series and movies. Unlike traditional television shows and films, many Netflix Originals focus on bringing awareness to controversial topics that are not widely received. These shows place social commentary on various subjects such as race, sexual orientation, animal rights, body image, and politics.  

  Released in August, ”Insatiable”, has been garnering much attention from many people across social media. Debby Ryan stars as Patty, a once overweight girl, who goes on a liquid diet after getting injured in a fight and loses a lot of weight from it. Newly transformed, Patty is determined to seek revenge on those who bullied her when she was overweight. Since the show’s release, many critics accused it of body shaming as they found its storyline to be tone deaf when they notice that the main character only gains self-confidence after she loses weight and seeks revenge.

  According to writer Roxane Gay, the show has a “flawed logic” which conveys a notion that “fat women can’t stand up for themselves and must undergo physical trauma to become their best, skinny selves.”

  Due to the increasing outrage, some people went as far as to petition against the show demanding Netflix to take down the show.

  Another Netflix Original would be “Dear White People”. The series centers on a group of minority students in a predominantly-white Ivy League college as they navigate through the social injustice, cultural bias, and racial tensions that occur on their campus. Despite being controversial for its central plot focusing on race relations between blacks and whites, the show has been widely received by many critics for its satire, writing, social commentary, and its relatedness, along with its ability to bring awareness to the social inequality and discrimination of blacks in America.

  “Icarus”, a ground-breaking sports documentary directed by Academy Award-winning director, Brian Fogel, focuses on the recurring doping scandals of Russian athletes, who are known for their athletic prowess and their dominance in the Olympics. However, the documentary goes further to try to explain why these scandals occur. It goes even describes the role of the Russian government and their involvement in the ongoing situation. Most importantly, Icarus brings light to the continuous corruption and incriminating activities committed by the Russian government.

  For those who love animals and animal rights, “Okja” is a film they might enjoy. The science fiction film focuses on a 10-year-old girl named Mija who lives in the mountainsides of Korea with her grandfather and her friend, Okja, a super pig. When Oka gets taken away by a huge agricultural corporation for scientific purposes, Mija runs away from her home and teams up with a group of animal rights activists to save her friend before it’s too late.  The science fiction film touches on the subject of animal cruelty, slaughterhouses, corrupt corporations, and human-beings’ attitudes towards non-humans.

 

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