I have spent most of my adult life working with young children. I am preschool teacher, and even though I come home on most days covered in various body fluids with play-doh in my dreads I don’t care, because I get to help kids see how awesome they are. There are hundreds of cartoons out there in world all fighting for parents’ dollars and children’s attention, but not many show children they power they have within. Ever more rare is a show that represents that power coming many in form of many different races, shapes, sexes, and sizes.
Steven Universe is a show that truly represents that strength, heroism, friendship, honor and love, can come from anyone. I live in a small town in the Midwest. Most of the children in my classroom are African Amercian, Latino, or Interracial. Almost all of them love superheroes and Disney characters, but when there is one that looks like them there is deeper connection. Their little faces light up. Their little imaginations run wild because there is real live confirmation in a movie, book, and or poster that people like them can be super heroes and princesses, and whatever else they want to be.
Steven Universe’s wonder goes even beyond that. Steven is being raise by women. How many young men can relate to that in today’s society? Amethyst is spunky, funny plus sized heroine. How many little girls can look up to here and know that skinny isn’t the size beauty and fabulous comes in? Pearl is thin, with a big nose and feet and also awesome!! The list goes one and on. The lesson that Steven Universe teaches reaches beyond five year olds. I myself have a beautiful 12-year-old daughter. She can into this world dark and lovely, and I made it a point to let her know her beauty is as acceptable as any blonde bombshell from the second she was born. Yet as confident and wonderful as she is. As past barbies, and stuffed animals as she claims to be when Garnet came into the screen her face split into her magnificent grin. “ Mom,” she said “ Can I cosplay her? She has my fro, my dark skin, even my thick thighs!” I smiled. “ and how does she look baby?” I asked
“ She’s fabulous just like me!” Zharia said striking a dramatic pose.
“Yes she is baby girl” I said picking up my keys and heading to thrift store. “We have some giant boxing gloves to find.”