For those of you who may have wondered what makes Steven Universe so unique (and beloved by parents!).

by Laura Dale

When it comes to TV designed for children, Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe is one of the most progressive, thoughtful, and generally important shows being made today. Following the story of a young boy with the power to protect and heal, the show frequently introduces children to complex emotional topics in easy-to-understand ways.

One of the most impressive topics that Steven Universe as a show regularly tackles is the concept of consent and the role it plays in interpersonal relationships, from the good to the bad.

A little background on the show: in Steven Universe, there are a species of sentient alien rock women called gems, who are all named after various precious stones or minerals and have varying strengths and weaknesses. When two gems are in perfect sync, and properly aligned with each other, they are able to fuse and become a totally new being together, which is frequently used in the show as a stand-in for telling stories about various kinds of intimate relationships. Sometimes it’s love between friends, sometimes it’s romantic love, and sometimes it’s used as a child-friendly stand-in for sexual interactions, an act considered the height of trust-based intimacy between two people.

One of the first really impactful examples of a consent discussion in Steven Universe revolves around the character of Garnet, who is a permanent fusion of two other gems….

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