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The Simpsons has just introduced a powerful new character and storyline, which viewers have highly praised.
In this week's episode (October 24), titled 'Lisa's Belly', the eldest Simpson daughter struggled with body anxiety. Marge takes her to hypnotherapist Dr Wendy Sage to help her handle the anxiety, and Sage happens to be a breast cancer survivor who has had a unilateral mastectomy.
The show's creators wrote the plot to honour Breast Cancer Awareness Month, casting writer and breast cancer survivor Renee Ridgeley in the role, who is the wife of The Simpsons' showrunner Matt Selman.
Speaking to Yahoo Life, Ridgeley opened up about the character: "While Sage has all the telltale signs of a breast cancer survivor: a visible scar from a port-o-cath (a device used to deliver chemotherapy), curly hair regrowing from chemo treatment, an obviously one-breasted appearance, and is visually concave on her mastectomy side, the episode does not focus on her past disease."
"Sage shows up as exactly who she is now," she added. "By living openly as a one-breasted woman, she sends a message of acceptance and wholeness celebrated by individuals in marginalized groups."
Viewers raved about the show's exploration of body positivity and inclusion of breast cancer survivors.
"A great lesson in body positivity and the power of words," one Twitter user said.
"This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month done well," wrote another.
Some survivors who have had a unilateral mastectomy, in which one breast is removed, call themselves "uniboobers". One user wrote on Twitter: "As a uniboober, thanks to you [Matt Selman] and [Renee Ridgeley] for including this character! It's good to get more visibility and recognizing the beauty in all body types."
Sage, you have big fans in the #flatvisibility community! Thanks for boldly rockin your #uniboob so that we can see the effects of cancer treatment with pride. If we can see it, we can be it @real_wildfire #portscar #chemocurls #wholewoman @mattselman @jaliza90 #bcsm
— Renee Ridgeley (@reneeridgeley) October 25, 2021
I loved Dr. Wendy Sagel and what she represents, without a doubt @TheSimpsons is the best show ever for making us aware of these relevant issues.
Congratulations on creating this character @reneeridgeley
Great episode @mattselman @jaliza90 pic.twitter.com/7JvPcWtSLC
— Alex Ortega (@Alex_Simpsons23) October 25, 2021
Um can we take a moment to applaud this? I had to rewind a few times to confirm…this is amazing! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— G. Whitman (@grndylw) October 25, 2021
As a uniboober, thanks to you and @reneeridgeley for including this character! It’s good to get more visibility and recognizing the beauty in all body types.
— JennieEukel (@jennieeukel) October 24, 2021
— Magwillti (@magwillti) October 25, 2021
Awesome! From one uniboober to another 💕
— Surviving Pink (@survivingpink_) October 25, 2021
I basically only watch new Simpsons out of muscle memory but the one tonight, which is about how casual body-talk by mothers can give daughters a complex, is one of the best I've seen in years.
— Mario Bava's Zack Sunday (@BudrykZack) October 25, 2021
The Simpsons season 33 premiered on Fox in the US on Sunday, September 28, 2021. In the UK, the series airs on Sky One and Channel 4, while its archive of 33 years is available on Disney+.
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