5 Life Lessons Learned From ‘Steven Universe’
Steven Universe is a coming of age story that has received widespread acclaim (and inspired a few memes) since its 2013 premiere. The show’s creator, Rebecca Sugar, is the first female to make her own show on Cartoon Network. (Go, Rebecca!) Beyond that though, Steven Universe explores LGTB relationships, showcases a non-nuclear family unit, and navigates through some mature situations. The fact that the three female Gems have different “ethnicities”, body types, and neutral genders is a huge step forward in the world of cartoons. Basically, STEVEN UNIVERSE IS AWESOME! Here are some of the things we’ve learned watching Steven Universe:
You determine your future
Garnet is teaching Steven not to be a victim in the first season episode, “Future Vision”. Steven becomes overwhelmed in this episode by learning all the bad things that could possibly happen to him from Garnett. (If you have anxiety, you’ll relate to Steven in the episode, as you often become consumed by thoughts about the future). Garnet tells Steven that instead of being overtaken by fear, he has to take back his power and realize that he chooses his own future.
You can’t let others determine how you feel
In the “Tiger Millionaire” episode, Steven becomes depressed after Mr. Smiley calls him the “cruelest creature on the planet” and the crowd agrees. Amethyst gives him some amazing advice when she tells Steven that only he has control over his emotions. Often we get wrapped up in the things that other people say about us, but as Amethyst says, “Those are just words people use to describe how they feel about you.” Amethyst herself has been through a lot in her life. As one Tumblr user pointed out, “Amethyst probably legitimately feels like garbage as a result of being abandoned in the Kindergarten and being a ‘reject’ gem — I was struck by the thought that she also does have a fixation on actual, literal garbage. We’ve seen her room, after all; she’ll take anything that someone else doesn’t want. That’s when it hit me:
Amethyst collects garbage because she empathizes with those objects for being ‘thrown away’.”
Friends are there for you through thick and thin
In the episode “Full Disclosure”, Steven is pushing Connie away because he doesn’t want to put her in danger. He tries to tell Connie that he doesn’t want to be friends anymore, but she fights back and lets him know that she is there for him. (What an emotional episode!) True friends are there for you during the good and the bad. You don’t have to be perfect to be deserving of friendship.
It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them
Steven appears to be the “bumbling idiot” archetype, but if you watch the series, you know that he is so much more. Steven is human, he makes mistakes, but he also learns from them and grows as a person. He might not be able to control all of his powers yet (as evidenced his disastrous attempt at shape shifting in “Cat Fingers”), but no one is perfect at anything on their first try. It takes time and patience to refine your natural gifts and become the person you were meant to be.
Being mixed-race is difficult and awesome
Steven Universe is, for all intents and purposes, a mixed-race character. Being part human and part alien, Steven struggles to fully fit in with either group. Juliet Khan, in an article for Comics Alliance, puts it well when she says, “[Steven]’s tugged between two directions, two histories, two ways of life. He’s unable to settle, unable to be ‘just a Gem’ or ‘just a human’. He’s finding, over the course of the series, that there are experiences he’ll have that no one — not his father, not his mothers, not his friends — will understand.” However, Steven’s unique position allows him to relate to two different groups simultaneously, making him the show’s hero.
Do you watch Steven Universe? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below!