Steven Universe is one of the most important cartoons of our time. Here’s why.
At 28 years old, I would rather curl up to a bowl of cereal underneath a warm duvet and watch Saturday morning cartoons than spend a night out on the town. Re-reading that sentence makes me feel like the best option is a no-brainer and it’s likely we’re on the same page since you’re here.
In any case, that is how I stumbled upon Steven Universe and I am SO HAPPY that my inner child will not let me outgrow cartoons.
I love them all but Steven Universe has slowly climbed the ranks of my top ten must-watch list, in part because of the real-world gems I collected from the series.
Here are a few:
1. A woman doesn’t need to be “perfect” to be awesome. Pearl, Garnet and Amethyst are the dynamic trio from the Crystal Gems team. Despite being kick-ass superheroes, they are incredibly relatable and will even wear their flaws as badges of honor. This is an invaluable lesson for the young girls who strive to achieve society’s false ideas of perfection. Don’t believe the hype, just be you.
2. Relationships are complex and sometimes messy but ultimately beautiful. The crystal metaphor in Steven Universe makes this crystal clear. Each gem has its own personality traits and when they fuse they bring out the best (or the worst) in each other. Even when the fusion is good, it still has its ups and downs but they are better off together than apart. A friendly reminder to keep the good relationships close and never let small personality stuff get in the way of the bigger picture.
3. Real men wear pink. Steven is sensitive, good, loving and sees the beauty in everything. After he saves Lapis from her internal demons, he takes the time to remind her of all the good in the world and within her. Yet perhaps the greatest example of Steven’s wonderful nature is his relationship with Connie. While his romantic feelings for her begin to develop they remain grounded in friendship, admiration and mutual respect. Here’s a chosen boy who embodies the possibilities for masculinity to be rooted in love and compassion rather than domination.
4. You are your own worst enemy. I’m a thinker and sometimes being in my head can get in the way of life. The ever-wise Garnet reminded me to breathe and make peace with my thoughts by simply being my own best friend.
5. You don’t have all the answers and that’s ok. No matter how much good Steven does or wants to do, life has a funny way of throwing a curve ball. He’ll beat himself up for it but thankfully he has a strong support system to help guide him through the mess.
Added bonus – the soundtrack is pure gold: