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Steven Universe- Gender, Sexuality, Identity and Influence

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Noelle Butler

on 25 November 2015

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Transcript of Steven Universe- Gender, Sexuality, Identity and Influence

Gender, Sexuality, and the Influence of Steven's Universe
Background
Representations of Women:
Body Types
November 4, 2013
Rebecca Sugar
First woman- CN
Story of her brother
"I tried to be a role model [by showing that] anyone who wanted to could take traditional ideas of animation and bring them into the present but keep all the trappings of what used [to make cartoons great] in the past" -Sugar
Quality, Audience and Reception
Positive reviews from adults and children
"The endings are heartfelt, it has good role models, it has awesome story lines" (11 yrs)
Most viewed premiere to date in 2013 (6-11 yrs)
Artistry- planting oneself in scene and sharing perspective
Voice acting
Zach Callison (Steven), Deedee Magno (Pearl), Michaela Dietz (Amethyst) and Estelle (Garnet)
Ruby, Sapphire, and Garnet
Dispelling Societal Norms
Levinson- 1970s cartoons
Women- fewer, less active or noisy, less power, rescuee
Men- common and dynamic
"television's portrayal of the sexes in cartoons...does reflect real world values concerning traditional gender-role stereotypes"
Limited time for character development
1995-96- 63% male, 37% female (and not much has changed)
Power and Special Ability
The Gaze/Bechdel Test
Sensitive Sides
“I know you think we don’t trust you. I know more often than not we treat you like a human child. But the truth is, we rely on you.Your voice inspires us,."
“Oh, Steven, we already love you.”
A Fight for Earth and Equality
"Fusion is just a cheap tactic to make weak gems feel stronger"
"But I am even more than the two of them. Everything they care about is what I am. I am their fury. I am their patience. I am a conversation."
Influence and Conclusion
A Different Take on Heroes
More male superheroes
Male gaze
Correlation of children's behavior and gendered superheroes
“ Because I watch shows with [my daughter] I have noticed that nearly all the shows on Cartoon Network show skinny male characters as the heroes. I think it's refreshing for her to be watching a show where the heroes, if not the [title] character, are women. I think it's also important that not all the characters are skinny.” -Mother reviewing show
"I can see you hate the way we intermingle..."
Psych studies- potential effect on children's view of gender/sexuality
Identity mold- no prefixed identity
Personal experience
Variety in character = possibility of drawing in wider audience
Self-worth/confidence and acceptance
“ The show has great morals, and supports major body positivity. The diversity in this show is amazing! People of all races, sizes and ages are all looked upon equally in the show.”
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Howe-Smith, Nia. "'Steven Universe' Creator on Growing Up, Gender Politics, Her Brother." Entertainment Weekly. EW.com, 15 June 2015. Web.

Kondolojy, Amanda. "Cartoon Network's 'Steven Universe' Premieres As Its Most-Watched Series of 2013." TVbytheNumbers. Zap2It, 06 Nov. 2013. Web.

"Member Reviews for Steven Universe." Member Reviews for Steven Universe | Common Sense Media. Common Sense Media, n.d. Web. Oct. 2015.

Mey. ""Steven Universe" and the Importance of All-Ages Queer Representation." Autostraddle. N.p., 13 Mar. 2015. Web.

Michael, Edwin, Afi Roshezry Abu Bakar, Ira Melita Ibrahim, Geetha Veerappan, Norazleen Mohamad Noor, Lim Ean Heng, Taufik A. Latif, and Ng Kar Yann. "A Comparative Study of Gender Roles in Animated Films." Global Journal of Juman Social Science 12.5 (2012): n. pag. Global Journals. Global Journals Inc. Web.

Mulvey, Laura. "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." Ed. Marshall Cohen. Film Theory and Criticism. Ed. Leo Braudy. 7th ed. New York, NY: Oxford UP, 2009. 711-35. Print.

Pappas,, Stephanie. "Do Superheroes Model Damaging Gender Roles to Kids?" LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 18 June 2014. Web.
Paul, Annie Murphy. "Your Brain on Fiction." The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 Mar. 2012. Web.

Pike, Jennifer J., and Nancy A. Jennings. "The Effects of Commercials on Children?s Perceptions of Gender Appropriate Toy Use." Sex Roles 52.1-2 (2005): 83-91. Web.

Polo, Susana. "Our Interview With the Cast and Creator of Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe!" The Mary Sue. N.p., 15 Oct. 2014. Web.

Steven Universe: "The Return/Jailbreak" Dir. Rebecca Sugar. Perf. Zach Callison, Deedee Magno, Michaela Dietz, Estelle. Watch Cartoon Online. N.p., 13 Mar. 2015. Web.

Thompson, Teresa L., and Eugenia Zerbinos. "Gender Roles in Animated Cartoons: Has the Picture Changed in 20 Years?" Sex Roles 32 (1995): 651-72. Plenum Publishing Corporation. Web.

Thurm, Eric. "Steven Universe: "The Return/Jailbreak"" "The Return" · Steven Universe · TV Review · The A.V. Club. N.p., 12 Mar. 2015. Web.

Velocci, Carli. "What a Children's Show Can Teach Us about Sex and Healthy Relationships." Polygon. N.p., 14 July 2015. Web.

Writing with Rebecca @MAGFest13. Perf. Rebecca Sugar. Youtube. Youtube, 9 Feb. 2015. Web.

Zak, Paul J. "Why Inspiring Stories Make Us React: The Neuroscience of Narrative." Cerebrum. The Dana Foundation, 02 Feb. 2015. Web.
Sources
Steven and Male Representation
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