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‘Steven Universe’ is the Feminist Cartoon We All Need Right Now

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If you were to ask my friends name three of my favorite topics, they would likely answer, “cats, cookies, and feminism.” So you can understand my delighted surprise when the first episode of Steven Universe begins with young Steven going to his favorite bodega to buy his favorite dessert, Cookie Cats which is ice cream sandwiched between two cat-shaped cookies. To Steven’s shock, he discovers that Cookie Cats have been discontinued. When the shopkeep tries to comfort Steven by letting him take home the cat shaped mini-fridge that used to house the treats, I was pretty much sold on the show with barely 2-minutes having passed.

Steven Universe is well worth your time, and with episodes in the now-common Cartoon Network style of runtimes under 12-minutes, it is convenient for binging or as a quick treat between other things. I am only a few episodes in so far, but the show is clearly feminist in accessible and child-friendly while being fun and engaging for adults: Steven Universe emphasizes empathy, consent, knowing and accepting yourself. The show centers a young man who is caring, sensitive, funny, and comfortable being a little unsure of his place in the world, influenced and shaped by family of powerful (both literally and figuratively) women of color. The article linked below gets into more details of these dynamics spanning more of the shows run. Definitely worth reading, but also worth just jumping right in and beginning to experience this world for yourself.

Steven Universe airs on Cartoon Network, and previously aired episodes are available on Hulu for streaming.

– Brett Goldberg

For further reading on the feminism of Steven Universe, read this post from Bust.

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