In the ocean side town of Beach City, a group of aliens called the Crystal Gems protect the town from evil monsters while raising a half human, half gem named Steven Universe. The show "Steven Universe" was created by Rebecca Sugar for Cartoon Network and is on it’s fifth season so far. The show gained popularity a few years ago and has had a consistent fan base since. I recently started watching the show and would highly recommend it for several reasons.
One incredible aspect of this show is it’s representation. The show has a wider variety of represented ethnicity, body types, and love. This can be seen from the towns people to even the Gems themselves. Steven’s best friend Connie Maheswaran is a girl with dark skin whose ethnicity isn’t mentioned at all in the show. Sometime shows have a hard time including non-white people in shows without mentioning that they aren’t white. Another example is the Pizza family who own a local pizza shop called Fish Stew Pizza. It’s not directly mentioned by the show, but it’s clear the family is at least third generation Ghanaian, due to Kofi pizza’s Ghanaian accent (it’s described this way on the Steven Universe wiki page.)
Representation can even be found in its casting for voice actors. Two of the Crystal Gems are Asian-American women- Deedee Magno who plays Pearl and Michaela Dietz who plays Amethyst and the third, a black woman from the UK named Estelle who plays Garnet. Estelle is also a singer and songwriter from the UK and this is her voice acting debut.
Body types are represented well in this show because every character looks different in design. The Crystal Gems, all three presented as strong characters, have different body types. Pearl is thinner, Amethyst is curvier and Garnet is taller with wider hips. Even Steven isn’t designed as your average small skinny boy and even sports baby fat. Every body type is showcased as strong and beautiful. There is never a time a character is made fun of for being too fat or too skinny. Their body type is just them and whenever a character gets jealous of another character it's usually because they don't feel as strong as them or as smart as them. It's never about being as skinny or as curvy.
Love is also represented well in this show. We see different types of love, whether it be from a single dad and his son, the Crystal Gems as caregivers to Steven, or Steven and his love for his best friend Connie. What’s great about this show is that they’re able to separate love from attraction to make it that much more real. They show love in it’s purest forms. Love isn’t just between a boy and a girl. Love is between two beings who really care about each other. And love doesn’t have to be romantic. Love can come from anywhere and be anything as long as it’s not destructive.
The representation in this show is super important and I would highly recommend it for every age group. If you have kids, show them this show. If you know kids, show them this show. If you don’t know any kids, well watch it anyway. Just because it’s a cartoon doesn’t mean it’s only for kids!