Getting gay with "Steven Universe" (2013) on Cartoon Network

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cerrodepedro
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Getting gay with "Steven Universe" (2013) on Cartoon Network

Postby cerrodepedro » Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:17 am

I've become obsessed with Steven Universe. I do this: Get introduced to something that someone else just sees, nearly flippantly. but entirely organically, as valuable, as special, then become far more invested in it than the person who intuited its value and introduced it to me in the first place. Flaw? Perhaps. I don't know. All the worry around ego kind of gets tiresome.

Why is this Cartoon Network oddity so exciting? Why is it special? Well, because it's QUEER. SUPER QUEER. And I use that term in a way that's been adopted by a lot of us young 'uns to describe any deviation from binary, cisgender perspectives, or heterosexual coupling patterns, or coupling period. The acronym, which more folks are familiar with when it comes to serving a similar linguistic function to the latest spawning of the word "queer" varies by audience but LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, as in, not very narrowly defined, intersexed, asexual, and everybody else) is pretty inclusive, and many believe "queer" is helpful to include all of it. I like the term. Go wild on Google if you think it's worth your time.

Before you get all worried about some fallaciously constructed notion of intrinsic danger or evil of "political correctness," the purpose of the acronyms, the exhaustive searches for descriptors, is to describe humanity more accurately. We're evolved. Our brains, most of all. Sure, we went upright (according to most evolutionary biologists) to outlast prey in long-distance pursuits, are incredibly adaptive with our blood thanks to several mammalian traits, and have opposable thumbs, but comparably those are insignificant traits. Y'ALL WE HAVE A PROFOUNDLY LONG AND DELICATE GESTATION WITHIN AND WITHOUT THE WOMB. IT'S SO OUR BRAINS CAN DO CRAZY COOL SHIT. So it stands to reason that 7 billion or so macroorganisms at the very top of the food chain of this supremely habitable planet experience a great deal of variation. The only reason that is a problem is because we make it one.

So Steven Universe: There's this alien species that likes to go around colonizing planets, including the Earth. They're called gems, and they're named after literal gems. They do WILD THINGS. They "fuse," which is coming together so completely as to form singularly sentient organisms, or in short, sex. Gender is irrelevant, but somehow it is expressed. Larger physical forms are merely illusions, projections, albeit highly powerful and useful projections. Steven happens to be a hybrid of human and gem. His mother did something with his human father, got pregnant, then transmutated her essence into half of what he is.

There was a faction who opposed the violent, irresponsible, and ignorant colonization of Earth specifically after finding a lot of value in its inhabitants. So they rebelled and threw out their comrades, resigned to live out their ostensibly eternal existences defending the planet.

So the show creator, a bisexual woman, very blatantly depicts many aspects of human gender and sexuality through these gem beings, but the humans' non-hetero, non-cisgender, sometimes non-sexual iterations make it to the animated screen as well. Those of us who aren't straight, who don't fit into gender categories very neatly, who may not necessarily experience sexual desire like others do, if at all, we RECOGNIZE IT. And it's undeniable. Fuck, it's canon. And it feels good, good, as the show creator said in a conference, “... to feel like I exist, and [she wants] everyone else who wants to feel that way to feel that way too.”

So maybe in this thread I'm going to link to various examples. I'm certain Wikis and Tumblrs and other such web phenomenon have documented them.
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