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Interview with Dr Natasha Larmie - @FatDoctorUK

Interview with Dr Natasha Larmie - @FatDoctorUK

First time I knew about the existence of Dr. Larmie it was in social media. I loved the way she explained the horrors and problematics of fatphobia, in a relatable, unapologetically and educative way. What a woman! I think with a smile when her stories appear in my instagram. I am so glad to be able to learn more about her and her own feminist journey!

Her website is full of great content and  I am really excited about her imminent podcast launch!

Who is @fatdoctoruk what do you want people to remember about you?

I'm a GP with over 20 years of medical experience who is a card-carrying, flag-waving member of the body acceptance movement and is advocating to put an end to weight stigma in healthcare. Since June last year, I have been blogging under the name the Fat Doctor and have appeared in a number of articles, interviews and podcasts as well as a guest speaker and honorary university lecturer.

If we're honest, I'm known for my infamous appearance on This Morning which earned me a reputation for being both a “deluded moron” and “brave campaigner”, depending on who you ask.

Once my eyes were opened to the impact of weight stigma on healthcare, especially in women and people in marginalised groups whose health us already impacted by systemic oppression, I couldn't keep my mouth shut. None of it is OK. None of it.

There are a number of principles that make up their very backbone or foundations of my profession (beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, practicing fairly and without discrimination). But weight stigma flies in the face of every single one of them.

Prescribing weight loss has been demonstrated to be harmful in a number of different ways. There is no evidence that it benefits our health. Ignoring symptoms and attributing legitimate health concerns down to weight alone is discriminatory and negligent. Yet it happens every day and no one is being held to account.

Since I started this journey, my biggest hurdle has been practicing what I preach. It is easier to promote body acceptance to others than it is to accept your own body! But I'm getting there. Slowly.

I am the kind of person who speaks their mind and calls out people for their double standards, hypocrisy, misogyny and white supremacy. As a result, my social media accounts are often restricted because I am reporter for "hate speech". Apparently some straight sized, cis white men have very fragile egos. One might even call them snowflakes

What is the goal? The big vision of what you would like to Achieve?

Ultimately the end goal is to force the medical profession to become weight inclusive, to abolish the discriminatory practices that deny people (especially women) access to equal healthcare and put an end to weight stigma. For example, a woman who develops PCOS in her early teens will no longer be told to go on a diet, will receive healthcare that does not include weight loss advice, will have access to fertility services should the need arise irrespective of her BMI, and will receive maternity care that does not terrify her.

And this is the feminist questionnaire identical for everyone

What is Feminism for you?

Feminism is the bare minimum as far as I am concerned. Women should be treated equally to men. We aren't. That needs to change. But it's more than that. Every single one of us has a list of ways in which we are privileged and ways in which we are oppressed. I am a fat woman and I experience oppression in many different areas of my life. But I am wealthy, educated, cis gender, straight-passing (bisexual but married to a man) and white-passing (I'm not White British but you wouldn't know that to look at me). All things considered, I am extremely privileged and it is therefore essential that I advocate for those who are less privileged than I am.

Which “everyday sexism” really bothers you?

All of them! But if I'm honest it's the harm that we cause eachother in order to get ahead. For example, white women who are so desperate to hold on to power and entitlement that they are willing to do so at the expense of black women

Do you remember when you start identifying as a Feminist and why?

I have always identified as a feminist. I was raised to never put up with the status quo and to to fight against oppression. I am the descendent of genocide survivors in both sides of my family. As soon as I learned that I had a voice, I learned how to use it.

Who is your biggest feminist role model?

I have too many role models to count. Right now I am immersing myself in the teachings of modern day feminists including Sonya Renee Taylor, Sabrina Strings, Lucy Aphramor and Lindo Bacon.

What is your favourite Feminist quote?

One of the ones that has always stuck with me is one by Gloria Steinem"

“Though we have the courage to raise our daughters more like our sons, we’ve rarely had the courage to raise our sons like our daughters.”

I think we often focus on the problem more than we do the solution. If we want to see real change in our world, we need to work on the future male generations. As a mother of two boys, this has had a huge impact on how i chose to raise them.

What is your proud feminist victory?

Standing up to men in the weight loss industry like James Smith, Layne Hayes and Steve Miller.  And doing so in a public forum, knowing that I would come under attack as a result, but doing it anyway. In my experience, men like that cannot stand to be questioned or confronted by a fat woman. Especially one more qualified than them. That was fun!

What is your feminist recommendation?

  • Book:Fearing the black body: the racial origins of fat phobia by Sabrina Strings.
  • tv show: I really liked the way that the Morning show dealt with issues like #metoo and #BLM in the context of television and media and the way it shapes society. I'm not sure it would be classed as feminist and it wasn't perfect by any means but I binge watched it and that is saying something because I am not usually conscientious enough to do that!
  • Film: "Dumplin". I cannot tell you how much I love that film.

What is your feminist call of action to whoever is reading?

My call to action to anyone that is reading this is to remember that weight stigma has been demonstrated to be on a par with racial and gender-based discrimination. This is particularly problematic for people who are experiencing all three at the same time. Fat folk are tired of being the villain that people point to whenever they want to make excuses for their own incompetence (excess COVID deaths, the cost of healthcare etc etc). We deserve to be treated fairly and equally. No matter what size you are, we hope you will agree and learn to stand with us and for us in the face of so much prejudice.

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