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Don't Use Your Words!Children's Emotions in a Networked World$
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Jane Juffer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479831746

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479831746.001.0001

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The Steven Universe, Where You Are an Experience

The Steven Universe, Where You Are an Experience

Chapter:
(p.173) 6 The Steven Universe, Where You Are an Experience
Source:
Don't Use Your Words!
Author(s):

Jane Juffer

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479831746.003.0007

This chapter analyzes the Cartoon Network series Steven Universe, demonstrating that it is possible for television programming to valorize neurodiversity. The show and its fandom speak to the creativity of kids who occupy precarious positions in the contemporary U.S.—mixed-race, mixed-legal-status, gender-nonconforming, and blended families. The show’s hero is a young boy whose superpowers are explicitly linked to his ability to express (rather than control) his emotions. Kids also say they love the show because it allows them to process mixed-identity categories in complex ways, especially through the show’s notion of “fusion,” in which characters who are emotionally in accord with each other fuse into a hybrid identity. This fusion is illustrated in numerous examples of fanart, especially on the Tumblr platform, which markets itself as a safe space for young people who are struggling with depression and loneliness.

Keywords:   ?Steven Universe, blended families, gender nonconforming, mixed race, fusion, Tumblr, fanart

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