August 7, 2022

Abstact Arts

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Pearl From Steven Universe Is Great for Autism Representation

5 min read

Assorted illustration in the media is critical. It styles how we assume about many others, how we imagine about ourselves and how empowered we truly feel inside our possess identities. As an autistic grownup, I’ve almost never arrive throughout explicitly labeled autistic characters that aren’t just stereotypes. A lot of are even straight up offensive like in Sia’s latest film.

When you are a aspect of a local community that is not represented really considerably, if at all, it’s prevalent to search for characters that you can relate to outdoors of a straight-labeled lens. In my circumstance, these people are hardly ever labeled as autistic, but their mannerisms and existence experiences continue to strike a chord. We also see this in other areas these kinds of as the LGBTQ+ neighborhood, wherever the official term is queer coding. For our functions, I’m heading to be diving into Pearl, a character from “Steven Universe” that I believe to be autistic coded.

Pearl’s Disgust With Feeding on

Because Pearl is a gem, not a human, it’s not important for her to take in in order to endure. Gems typically even now try to eat because of the pleasure of consuming food items — a excellent instance of this is witnessed through Amethyst’s strange and hilarious food stuff alternatives all over the collection. For Pearl, she feels the opposite of pleasure when even contemplating about eating food items. She cringes at the believed of food currently being chewed in her mouth, passing through her physique, and sooner or later coming out of her.

My interpretation is that foodstuff helps make her working experience sensory overload, a sensation which is popular for autistic people and often prospects to psychological mayhem by outbursts or complete shutdowns, both equally thanks to as well substantially stimuli being processed at when. It’s obvious that her avoidance of foodstuff isn’t just for the sake of preference her dislike of foodstuff is so robust that when she’s fused with Garnet and Amethyst and they consider to consider a bite of meals, Pearl just can’t handle it and their fusion falls aside solely. The texture and consistency of foods likely bring about some of Pearl’s outbursts when she even thinks about eating.

Pearl’s Literal Reactions to Social Conditions

For some autistic folks, myself provided, it can be difficult to properly study in concerning the strains, and as a end result we frequently interpret text and phrases at confront worth. We see this in Pearl as jokes go around her head and she’s often much too blunt. The most clear demonstration of this is with her romance with Amethyst, who is a pretty chill jokester by nature. They will typically bicker with each individual other, and I imagine it’s due to the fact Pearl’s autism tends to make it really challenging to not consider Amethyst’s actions very seriously and actually, and as a end result, she will become swiftly annoyed by her absence of knowledge.

Pearl’s Qualifications in Masking

In “Steven Universe,” just about every gem is developed for a distinct reason. Pearl was developed to be Pink Diamond’s personalized servant for lifestyle, which burdened her with a minimal societal status and a stunted advancement of her individuality. When Pearl and Rose (who is also Pink Diamond) determined to rebel versus Homeworld to defend the Earth, Pearl had to perform additional hard to discover herself immediately after a long life of remaining explained to she only existed for the convenience and reward of many others. Masking is a very similar working experience since it’s not just about “acting like other people.” Masking is accomplished as a reaction to social ridicule, and it signifies totally altering who you are for protection and social ease and comfort to the extent of losing who you truly are. That is exactly what Pearl went by means of and continuously is effective to prevail over throughout the sequence.

Pearl’s Psychological Intensity

Pearl generally gets agitated conveniently in contrast to other gems, and reacts very strongly to circumstances — but what I’d instead discuss is her unhealthily obsessive appreciate with Rose. She demands Rose all over to notify her how to act in a way which is “acceptable,” and she can take pleasure in staying the only one particular who understood her deepest techniques for hundreds of decades. Her really like was rigorous beyond what terms can describe, and I generally come across that to be the situation when looking at the physical and psychological feelings of autistic individuals. Due to the fact we reside in these a neurotypical-dominated society, there aren’t a whole lot of great approaches to describe the diverse strategies in which autistic folks working experience the globe, and I consider Pearl’s adore for Rose is a key illustration of that strategy.

Pearl’s Need to have For a Program

Pearl is not acknowledged for being spontaneous. She calculates and makes plans, which can be interpreted as a need to have to mentally get ready for predicaments. This, in my knowledge and belief, is classic autism because quite a few autistic men and women have a solid require to have manage and visualize what is going to occur future, which usually looks like obtaining a regular regimen or normally planning far in advance in progress, while having troubles working with sudden improvements out of anyone’s regulate.


Do I consider that Pearl is actually autistic? My answer is: Who cares? Confident, Pearl is a gem, and to assign a human neurotype to a gem in all probability would not be a quite precise prognosis. Nonetheless, with all of the problematic autism illustration the autistic neighborhood has experienced to offer with in 2021 on your own, I’m likely to tightly grasp any kind of optimistic and correct illustration I can get my arms on.