Steven Quartz Universe leads a unique life far from the average contemporary American. He grew up without a mother, largely raised by his father, Greg, and three alien species called Gems named Garnet, Amtheyst, and Pearl. Content to live with his dad in the back of his van, Steven eventually moved into a house Greg and the Gems built, stationed over the main entrance of the Gems’ temple. There, he would begin his training, for you see, Steven is different: a half-human, half-Gem. His mother, Rose Quartz was a Gem herself. When Steven was born, she gave up her physical form so that he may live, inheriting his mother’s gem on his belly button at the same time.

Steven has a lot to live up to: his mother was the leader of the rebellion, the Crystal Gems, who saved Earth thousands of years ago. He grew up listening to stories of the elusive figure with rose-colored glasses, thus Steven spends much of the earlier episodes striving to be the best Gem ever. Optimistic and eager to boot, he trains to the best of his ability and often tags along with Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, whether they think he’s ready or not.

Steven Universe starts the show off with a simple premise: kid with cool powers tries to master his special abilities. However, as the show progresses, Steven is gradually and unexpectedly involved in the Crystal’s Gems’ deep, shady past. Skeletons in the closet slowly open up and he starts to see sides of his family that he never knew about before. Steven copes remarkably well in spite of the numerous messes he’s unintentionally stuck with, but the emotional toll is slowly starting to gnaw at him. Nothing speaks this better than learning a few things about Rose Quartz that has him questioning her and his entire philosophy. Time will tell how Steven will deal with this, but no doubt he’ll make the best decision.

At his heart, Steven is a kindhearted boy with a positive attitude. He easily gets along with his neighbors and family just by being nice and sympathizing with their woes. Even enemies can’t help but gravitate towards Steven. Though he sometimes has to fight, Steven often tries to solve conflicts through words and good gesture. Even his primary weapon is a shield that he uses to defend instead of relying on physical force. His unusual methods have won him battles and helped him bypass obstacles the Crystal Gems wouldn’t have thought of. Steven is an interesting and necessary commentary on emotional emphasis and non-violent behaviors. Toxic masculinity is a problem and boys are often told in social media to be tough and forceful. Steven Universe aims to subvert such expectations from Steven by giving him the direct opposite: a pink-shirt wearing boy who uses the power of love (and music) to win over the people he cares about and want to care about. If anyone is opens up for a second chance, he will give them that second chance and he will do it with a smile on his face.

As the show progresses, more and more elements challenge Steven’s chief beliefs, often casting doubts in himself, but he continues to retain his beloved enthusiasm. Steven is a model for us all and proof that generosity and kindness are just as effective, if not more, to solving conflict. Believe in Steven.

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