Sunday, July 29, 2018

LGBTQA+ Importance and Visibility in Steven Universe

Ruby and Sapphire Cosplayers @Metrocon 
I been thinking for over a month what approach I can take writing this entry, and today I found the inspiration at Metro Con Tampa, which is an anime and video game convention but it also bring some really good cosplayers to town, as well fans of the seminal show of Rebecca Sugar "Steven Universe"

Today I finally saw with more clear eyes after last weekend at Metro Con in Tampa, Florida; the fans (at least the segment who aren't toxic) found a way to express themselves not only through what happens on the cartoon but socially.

The convention was the first place I could finally see it on my many LGBTQA+ enjoyed the show so much (including myself) and the importance of the themes it offer. Let's start that the show itself is set on a fantastical enviroment with aliens but also it follows topics as acceptance, happiness and finding your true authentic self.

The show itself can be compared to the pop culture status that Avatar: The Last Air Bender had 18 years ago, it's one of those rare shows that can reach to people easy because of the message it offers but also that it aims to the community which most of the time is ignored in the prime time television. At the convention I realized how critical how Rebecca's creation has been, especially in the last two years were the most vulnerable point of the LGBT being the Transgender, gender non conform, non binary parts of the community have their rights attacked over and over, and having a show that is inclusive gives a voice of reaffirmation to their identities but also having a space of self-expression without fear.

If we analyze the characters, much of the main characters that are the gems have no gender as their bodies are just a mere construction of light, like hard-holograms, they can modify their own bodies but they always go by their personal pronouns which are always she and live in a matriarch oriented society; each gem also have a peculiar ability to fuse and create a new form of life while the new form of life can act independent, the gems that compose the new creation need to be under constant harmony to keep the new one stable.

Gems such as Garnet (and by default Ruby and Sapphire) act on the spectrum that an emotional stable partnership can originate wonderful results into tow individuals, but also it shows that gender itself can be fluid, that we aren't bounded to our own preset notions about who we are an individuals.

We can see main characters are gender fluid, not only the main Gems but Steven himself, as he doesn't comfort with his boy attires but on ocassions he dress with women clothes (sure it can serve for comedic purposes depending on the view) but also when he and Connie fuse they become a different persona, a persona that is not referred by male or female pronouns but rather by neutral such as they or them, which I can't think of a television show on mainstream and less in a children's show.

Not only the show focus on the dynamics of who we are, but with who we relate to and who we love. Maybe the best example is with Pearl and Pink Diamond, is an unrequited love in which also mixes the different social status people have depending on where they were born and money. Pearl fall in love with Pink but Pink never reciprocate it, even if they were close enough to do a fusion, Rose never loved a potential partner but rather as a close friend.

The structure of the episodes is quite simple that a child can understand that the gems are complex beings, that use female pronouns but are agender, they can be aromantic or even express feelings; and the same episode structure can be enjoyed by adults because they are seeing the drama and epic elements that maybe a child can dismiss, albeit to a generation of children that are more vocal and there are parents who can be supportive of identity expression and sexuality, Steven Universe offers what other shows don't which is the ability to connect with their audience on a one on one and give them ideas on how to express their creativity in public spaces but in private, but overall the show gives a message of unity that we as a community we need.

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