Shanah Sloane

Something Entirely New’: Queer Resistance and Hegemony in Steven Universe

Although Steven Universe is the first to present unambiguously gay characters and couples on an American children’s cartoon, it is important to consider how gay characters are presented and what this work does.  This qualitative analysis examines how Steven Universe resists heteronormativity through explicit expression of same-sex desire, the coding of same-sex desire and in-group jokes, and criticism of the nuclear family.  However, Steven Universe also reinforces heteronormativity by recirculating widely held beliefs about homosexuality through a variety of stereotypes and subtle erasure of gay characters.  Ultimately, Steven Universe is, by many standards, the best gay representation currently on children’s television.  Unfortunately, Steven Universe continues to utilize various stereotypes and through its depiction, continues to render heterosexuality as the hegemonic ideal.