At the very end of class last night, I recommended the show Steven Universe as being very Queer-friendly and diverse. While it’s technically a children’s animated show, it deals with some very adult subjects. I don’t want to “spoil” the overall plot, but in the world of the show, there are extraterrestrial powerful creatures called “Gems,” who each associate with a particular gemstone. One of the most powerful Gems, Rose Quartz, falls in love with a human man and makes a sacrifice to have a child with him. That child is Steven Universe and maybe the only male Gem (up to the point that I’ve watched, the Gems all seem to be female). Steven is raised by three other Gems: Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. All of them, along with Rose Quartz, rebelled against the other Gems to protect the Earth. The Gems can also “fuse” with each other by dancing – this is a pretty obvious metaphor for having sex.
The show addresses topics like non-traditional families, sex, non-heteronormative sex and love, rape, assault, abuse, the exercise of power, discrimination, and a lot more. While I’m not TOTALLY thrilled that the main (and title) character is a boy, he is associated with the gemstone Rose Quartz, which is traditionally considered a “female” stone. I also really like that the Gems are depicted as having all kinds of different body types; for example, Rose Quartz, who is non-platonically loved by more than one character in the show, is NOT exactly skinny or small.
If you have a Hulu subscription, you can watch the first three seasons. (The third season just showed up and I binge-watched it, which is how I came to bring it up in class!) CLICK HERE for the Hulu website.
There is a pretty large Steven Universe fan community. Click the image below for the wiki:
I’d be willing to read a midterm/final research paper involving discussion of Steven Universe from a Queer perspective – just check with me first!
Prof. Jaime Weida