Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Steven Universe Is Awesome

I've been sick for the past week and a half so I haven't done much of anything that doesn't involve laying in bed and pretending not to exist. As we all know, the best thing to do while you lay in bed and go in and out of medicated hallucinations is watch TV. In my learned opinion, here are the three best things to watch when you're unwell.

1. Top Gear
2. How It's Made
3. Cartoons

I'd like to talk to you about the cartoon I ended up obsessed with over this weekend. It's colorful, funny and feminist! Imagine that! Introducing Steven Universe! You should be watching this.

Cartoon Network has some great cartoons on it. There's Adventure Time and Regular Show and old favorites like The Misadventures of Flapjack. I've been avoiding some of their new shows because they looked pretty awful. Imagine my surprise when my Regular Show marathon turned into a few episodes of Steven Universe, which I discovered I enjoyed immensely.    

Steven Universe is a deceptively simple concept. A boy named Steven discovers that his deceased mother was a Crystal Gem, a woman who used the magic powers of a gem on her body to protect the world. He discovers he also has a gem (in his belly button) and is recruited by the last three gems to help save the world. The only problem is that Steven is much like Finn from Adventure Time; silly and likes to break into song. He brings some craziness into the lives of the other gems, which is hilarious.

What is really cool is the Crystal Gems. They're three women who are very different, very strong and intelligent. Garnet is the leader and she is black, with a giant afro. She's wise, shockingly funny and kind. Pearl is an A-Type personality, stick thin with almost translucent skin. While she's uptight, she's also very understanding and patient while teaching Steven. Then there's my favorite, Amathyst. She's purple, voluptuous, with long white hair and enough sarcasm and snark to make every episode a laugh riot. All three of them represent many different body types and ethnicities, which is awesome! Unlike Adventure Time, who has the two main female characters be built nearly the same, Steven Universe shows that women come in all shapes, sizes and colors and that they ALL kick ass. It's refreshing!

The episodes are never about fighting an enemy, they're usually learning important life lessons. Each Crystal Gem takes the time to help Steven and they go along with some of his more zany plans. There's no relationship drama, no fashion emergencies. No one ever mentions losing weight or being unhappy with their figure. The women are presented as capable, intelligent and strong. They kick butt and take names all while helping hapless Steven not get killed.

I was hooked! It was like a smaller, more modern Sailor Moon (Steven would be Chibi Usagi).

If you're looking for an empowering cartoon for girls, look no further than Steven Universe.
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