BBC podcast host Deborah James has hit back at critics who’ve accused her of ‘sexualising cancer’ with short skirts and ‘pouting too much.’
Deborah, 40, from London, who has been living with incurable bowel cancer for five years, has documented the journey on the BBC podcast You, Me and the Big C and by sharing updates and pictures on her Instagram account.
The mother-of-two has been plagued by messages from cruel trolls who’ve criticised her clothing choices, saying she was ‘acting like a teenager,’ she revealed in The Sun.
The former deputy head teacher turned cancer campaigner said she wants women of all ages to be able to celebrate their bodies, and added looking in the mirror and feeling good is a big part of her treatment.
Deborah James, 40, lives in West London and has been living with incurable bowel cancer since she was diagnosed in 2015. Speaking in the Sun this week, she called out people who have criticised her for ‘sexualising’ her condition
The mother-of-two said putting on makeup, doing her hair and wearing short skirts help her face her treatment
‘I’ve been accused of sexualising cancer, of pouting too much and acting like a teenager,’ Deborah wrote.
Deborah added some people have questioned her choice of clothes, criticising the short skirts and ‘plunging necklines’ she decided on wearing.
‘I haven’t spent the past five years desperately trying to live to old age to be told how I should behave, if I have the luxury of making it that far,’ she said.
She went on to say that people have commented on how embarrassed her children – Eloise, 12 and Hugo, 14 – must be of her, in spite of knowing neither her nor her kids.
The mother-of-two said taking pride in how she looks is a coping mechanism she uses in her fight against cancer
She also pointed out how some people have called her out for loving herself.
The mother-of-two hit back at her critics, saying wearing short skirts, looking after her appearance and dancing are parts of who she is and helps her cope with her condition.
She added that she has done naked photoshoots in the past and would do it again.
The campaigner and podcaster, who was rushed to hospital due to an internal bleed that left her on the brink of death in January, said looking good helps her feel better.
She explained how doing her makeup and hair before heading to the Royal Marsden Hospital in West London for her regular chemo session and other cancer-related treatments helps her face the day.
And the mother-of-two, who loves to share videos of herself dancing while hooked on an IV, said she uses it as a coping mechanism.
Deborah, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, went on to say that people who have known her since before her cancer know that she’s always been this way and that she has never taken herself too seriously.
The mother-of-two, who was given five years to live five years ago, said that losing confidence causes her to lose herself, and that she needs to keep a positive mindset while trying to stay alive.
The campaigner recounted how she recently suffered a bout of colitis which caused her stomach to swell.
She explained that she wore a mini skirt when her stomach began to go down, and that she instantly felt like another person.
She asked whether a 40-year-old woman wearing a mini is that offensive, and said there should be no age limit to feeling good.
TV presenters including Susanna Reid and Holly Willoughby have been criticised for their clothing choices on TV.
This week, presenter Ranvir Singh was called out by viewers for donning a form-fitting dress with a plunging neckline.
Some felt her attire was too revealing and ‘unprofessional.’
Deborah said she feels inspired by women like Willoughby, Reid and Singh, and added she wouldn’t let her own husband pick her clothes, let alone strangers on the internet.
She revealed she wants her own daughter, who is 12, to be proud of her body and dress how she wants to.
In the latest episode of her podcast, Deborah spoke of a medical emergency that almost killed her in January
Deborah was live on BBC Radio 5 just before she began to feel unwell, before running to her bathroom to vomit – with a scary sight of large bits of bright red blood coming out – but the ambulance wait time was 30 minutes so husband Seb took matters into his own hands
In her column with The Sun, she explained that she was due an urgent operation to try and unblock her bile duct as blood tests revealed she was suffering from liver failure, stopping her from having further chemotherapy in the new year (pictured receiving cancer treatment)
The BBC podcaster previously told of the trauma of saying goodbye to her children after suffering a medical emergency at the start of the year
The wife and mother of Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, pictured, has been open about the ups and downs of her cancer treatment, both and and out of the hospital
This comes after an emotional time for Deborah, who had to be rushed to hospital by her husband on January 6, where she endured a series of operations to save her life.
She has since revealed the extent of the traumatic experience, revealing that she has PTSD after the horrifying episode that saw her vomit blood in front of her daughter Eloise, 12, and screaming to her children she loved them before leaving for the hospital, not knowing if she’d ever see them again.
In the show’s latest episode, the mother-of-two shared heart-breaking voice notes recorded five days after the emergency, in which she admitted she was scared of sleeping, eating or even coughing.