Looking at some of the negative things coming out of Steven Universe’s fandom.
Hey gang, Hope everyone is doing well. I’m pretty sure some of you out there probably haven’t slept a wink in the last couple of days thanks to Fallout 4 coming out. I’ll get my hands on it soon enough.
So this week I wanted to write about something that has been brewing for a few weeks now, but never got the chance to really go into it.
If you are a fan of Cartoon Network or spend enough time on social media, you’ve heard of Steven Universe. This animated show has really set itself apart as featuring characters of color, lesbian relationships, and its story writing. The brainchild of Rebecca Sugar, it’s the story of a young boy who is following in the footsteps of his late mother in helping defend the earth with his mother’s friends, who are gem like aliens.
However for all its progressive storytelling and design, it’s getting more and more press for being the show with what is labeled as the worst fandom for the show.
Now, before I go any further, this is not some blanket statement about a group of people who like a particular show. Despite a shared fandom, people are still individuals. But there seems to be a vocal group within the fandom that have really taken an unhealthy and elitist view of who should or shouldn’t watch the show, or what people can or can not do as fans of the show, even to the point of criticizing the creators of the show itself for not following what they think the way should be. Let’s break this down a bit.
The cosplay issue: The big issue here it seems is that many of these types of fans of the show think that if you are white, you shouldn’t cosplay from this show because many of the characters are representing people of color. They also disapprove of people who aren’t the body types of the characters on the show shouldn’t cosplay as the characters either. more specifically that if you are considered skinny, you shouldn’t cosplay certain characters because that reinforces the notion that only skinny characters are worthy and all that.
If you believe this than not only are you a bad representative of the show’s fandom, but you are not a good representation of the cosplay world either. Cosplayers aren’t out there to meet your demands and standards in the first place. Dressing up is part of the fun experience of a fandom and being with others. If you sit around and think you are doing the fandom a service by being so judgmental and elitist that you think you can deem who is and isn’t worthy to dress up as their favorite characters, you are just being a prick. Don’t be a prick.
The fanart issue: The same attitude seems to go after fan artists as well. These same people “require” that fan artists are allowed to draw the characters a certan way. Large frame character drawn to skinny? Nope, you aren’t allowed to do that. Characters not drawn to represent the right “color”, nope. With this small group of a larger fandom, you have to draw the character exactly how they are drawn 0on the show or else you are cast as either racist, fatphobic, or any other litany of labels and allegations. The biggest case being bantered around is a fan artist named Zamii070, who as the story goes, was met with so much of this hate after posting some of her SU fan art that she had a breakdown and ended up in the hospital after a suicide attempt. People actually encouraged her to kill herself becasue her fan art didn’t fall in their strict definition of what was acceptable.
It gets even worse. Members of the actual crew that worked on the show have made the statement that fan artists can draw whatever they wanted and they were cool with it. The “fans” of this ilk were actually offended by this. There were people who say they will be uncomfortable watching from now on because the crew behind the show is actually in favor of creative freedom and don’t hold a militant rule over what they think should or shouldn’t be done within the fandom. Elitist much?
The brony issue: Oh gods this is just getting bizarre now. This same militant faction of the Steven Universe fandom bassically holds a grudge against the male fandom of My Little Pony: Friendship is magic, mostly over “hijacking their show”. Right. Hate to break it to these people, but if it weren’t for the bronies, MLP would have been canceled after the second season. Hasbro never expected the Brony fandom and never planned to take that series this far, you know, into season SIX!
I’m just glossing over things for space issues, but Jeez, for a show that is supposed to represent inclusion, these “fans” seem to want to exclude everyone who is not just like them. But here is the good part. They don’t represent the show’s staff or the majority of the community.
I’ve seen it with wrestling fans, bronies, otaku, and just about everything else. People outside the fandom will always look for the worst people in a collective fan group and think of them as the representation. Granted. The people I’ve written about are pretty reprehensible people, but thankfully I’m sure there is many MANY more fans of Steven Universe that aren’t this terrible and judgemental.
Remember folks, it’s okay to like things. Enjoy whatever show you want. But it is not your “right” to tell others who can or can’t watch or what is allowed within a fandom. That kind of thing make you a prick.
Don’t be a prick.
Now that all that has been written I want to remind you all that this coming weekend I’ll be at the AniMaine convention at the Best Western Merry Manor Inn in South Portland Maine. I am running a Damn Write! panel on Saturday and will be around the con all weekend. Greg Ayres, Monica Rial, Terry Doty, David Williams, and Steven Hoff are all going to be there as guests, so if you are around that part of the country, come on in and check it out!
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