Steven Universe, The Visual Representation of Love

If you haven’t watched Steven Universe yet, do it. Drop everything you’re doing and watch it now. Literally, right now. Yeah, its finals week, but your GPA is not as important as this show is. Okay – I’m totally exaggerating, school is important too, but definitely treat yourself to an episode or two after studying a bit because this show is absolutely revolutionary and is exactly what every kids show needs to be: uplifting, intelligent, and so heart wrenchingly and irrevocably full of love. In fact, the show itself is love. Steven Universe is quite literally a visual representation of love.

You know how with every fandom you can usually spot your character in the first five minutes? Wave goodbye to that, because there’s going to be a lot of, “MY BA- no wait, this is my – but what about…?” and then passing out. You most likely will not have a favorite character since every character from the very beginning of the opening credits is going to be your favorite. Even the side characters are going to be your favorite. Even Onion (especially Onion) is going to be your favorite. Every single character is engaging in their own unique way, each character has an inner conflict that within their own subplots of the show you watch them deal with. No one is two-dimensional or just seems to “be there”. They’re all your babies. The amount of “feels” you are about to embark on for the inhabitants of Beach City are overwhelming.

You will also notice that the representation is fantastic. Especially for those who usually get absolutely zero representation. Not only are the Crystal Gems nonbinary, but they are feminine presenting and use female pronouns. There’s this sad stereotype within the nonbinary community that to be androgynous identifying, one has to be masculine, which is the furthest from the truth, since there is no right or wrong way to be nonbinary. Femme nonbinary people often get the shaft or their identities are ignored because of this, which is unfortunate. But look, we’ve got some badass femme presenting nonbinary Gems destroying those stereotypes now. On screen for all to see.

Many, many sexualities are represented. We’ve seen two femme identifying gems kiss each other on screen, when in years past on Cartoon Network lesbian representation could not be blatantly canonical (aka the Bubbline fiasco). Bisexual (or pan, or queer) representation is seen through Sadie’s character, where she has feelings for Lars, but has also been seen blushing over Stevonnie, who presents femininely. There is also the widely accepted head canon (please, oh please, become canon) that Sadie and Lars are a trans girl and a trans boy.

There’s a plethora of racial diversity to the point where it’s actually a realistic portrayal of humanity for once instead of a white wash party. There are the Pizza’s, Garnet, Mr. Smiley, Connie and her family, and Onion (…?). You’ve got your body positivity! Steven and Greg are chubby. Amethyst is short, Garnet has wonderful hips, Pearl is a little bird. Rose Quartz is the size of all the love she has to give to the universe.

Most importantly, female representation. There are more females and femme identifying individuals on this show than men rather than the other way around, which is the usual. Steven is the only masculine identifying one amongst the powerful gems. Connie is wonderful. Connie is flawless and in her own sense is a positive representation of the “fandom girl”. I could literally rant about every single one of them, but then this would become a novel.

Even better, the representation is so subtle because it should be. By doing this, the show itself promotes the idea that you deserve to be yourself and do not need justification for it. So many shows today either shove the representation in your face shouting, “LOOK WHAT WE DID. WOW. SO PROGRESSIVE” or the “representation” is there to make jokes. In Steven Universe, people’s identities are just not a big deal because they shouldn’t be. The show is celebrating the intelligence of the audience, of children by doing this. Children will see that Garnet is black, that Steven is fat, but they know the imminent invasion of Earth is a lot more important to discuss.

On important issues; love. Familial love, friendship, romantic love. Steven, the innocent yet vastly intelligent little boy is surrounded by the love of those who raised him; Garnet, Pearl, Amethyst and Greg. It is seen that they each teach Steven different lessons on life and love, yet as we learn, the opposite is more of the truth. Steven is the glue that holds these four together in their healing from the loss of his mother, Rose Quartz. I won’t go into too many details, but a lot of what each gem is personally going through is some dark and serious stuff. For a kid’s show, its deep, but the depth of the lessons kids watching are receiving from this show is exactly what, I think, they should be learning. It’s done in such a light hearted way because the characters are so pure. So much is gained for all who watch this show. It shows the viewers the importance of healthy love for everyone in your life. Hell, the idea of fusion itself can be an allegory for so many different forms of love, but I think that’s an article for another day.

I don’t even have a real conclusion for this. Just please watch it. I can promise you it will change your life. And listen to this:

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