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Sometimes, We're All Pink Diamond

by Ossiana M. Tepfenhart 5 years ago in tv
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Here's why the most unlikable new character on Steven Universe might be the one we all can relate to.

Anyone who's known me can tell you I'm a huge fan of Steven Universe. The show is one of the most well-written cartoons in history, and regularly pushes the envelope when it comes to broaching complex subjects to kids. Things like LGBTQ rights, relationships, and even mental illness have all been discussed (albeit, subtly) throughout the show.

The thing that really ends up making the show so lovable is the characters they add. Though most of them are aliens, many of the characters have proven to be more human than us at times. They evolve, they grow, they have pain, and at times, they hit a little bit too close to home.

With most of the characters, it's easy to like them... or at least respect them. This is even true of the "bad guys" of the show, which is always a seriously impressive feature.

You can, to a point, like Yellow Diamond because of her strong attitude and the way she tries to keep her composure. You can, to a point, appreciate Jasper's loyalty to her cause and how clearly the war has affected her outlook on life. Even Eyeball has her own unique twist that makes her likable.

But when we finally saw the Pink Diamond reveal? Well, it's really hard to feel connected to Pink. It's hard to even like her, at all.

Throughout the dream sequence, she's a bit of a punk. We see her pestering Yellow Diamond, stamping her foot for an army, and basically trying to grab things without permission.

Yellow, ever the stoic, still keeps her cool and tries to get Pink to behave. She almost acts maternal towards her, with the way she talks to her. At first glance, this makes most audiences side with Yellow...

But what about Pink? It's easy to cast her aside until you take a look at the nuances of the dialogue. If you take a look closely, she's got a lot in common with many of us...

What we see at surface is actually only half the story.

If you listen to a lot of the dialogue, it becomes clear that Pink hated being ignored by Yellow Diamond. In fact, she even outright says so while Yellow was on her "phone" with the Nephrite.

Much like a kid who just wants a parent's reassurance, she starts clamoring for attention. Moreover, she's really enthralled watching Yellow plan her invasions. She wants to learn more; she wants to learn how to be more like Yellow. Without a doubt, she looks up to Yellow.

At one point, Yellow coldly turns to her and asks, "Oh, you're still here?"

Just like most other kids would, Pink hollers at Yellow to ask what's going on. She even starts asking how she can help, what Yellow is doing, and even starts hinting she wants to learn.

After a while, Yellow doesn't even bother replying to Pink. That's when she starts deciding she can "help on her own" and starts punching all the buttons on the tablet.

Yellow, fed up with Pink's interference, grabs her arm. That's when she stops saying things that insinuate her wanting to be like Yellow, and when she really just starts to have a tantrum.

Eventually, she gets up, walks away, and punches the glass window in a fit of rage. End of story, right? Not quite.

To fully understand Pink, you need to see the discourse through her eyes with some idea about Diamond society. In Pink's eyes, it's actually a pretty sad situation. The Great Diamond Authority is supposed to be egalitarian among diamonds... but she doesn't even have any of the responsibilities of a normal diamond yet.

To a newbie who is told they're an equal but doesn't really have much to show for it, that kind of cognitive dissociation is awful. It feels unfair, even if it's totally fair. It's hard not to feel slighted when you're an "equal" who doesn't have what everyone else seems to have.

To make matters worse, Pink feels ignored by a being that she not only respects, but wants to emulate. Though she's respectful of Pink, Yellow Diamond acts like she's a pest when Pink asks what she's doing. (I mean, Pink is kind of a pest, but still.) Any time that she asks Yellow for attention, it's rebuffed.

What happens to younger kids when they end up feeling snubbed, ignored, or rejected? What happens if you have parents that don't teach their kids how to ask for something, or how to behave? Well, if you're around them, you already know. They act out. It's really looking like Pink, the then-newest diamond in the Authority, was just like that.

The thing is, it's clear that Pink Diamond wasn't ready for her own planet and army yet. We know that, simply because of how she was jabbing the screen. Yellow's reaction to that was like a mom whose child grabbed the steering wheel to spin it; she was worried about safety more than anything.

So, Pink is still a crappy person, right? Well, yes and no.

Haven't we all been there?

Most of us, at one point or another, have felt slighted when it really was not the case. If you watched earlier episodes, it becomes very clear that Yellow Diamond cared deeply for Pink.

Much of this is not Yellow's fault. Sure, Yellow could have tried to talk to her more or given her a task that would have helped Pink learn the ropes. That would have been great. But, when it comes down to it, Pink was feeling the diamond version of teen angst. She was pissed about "not being all grown up yet."

In Pink's case, what hurt her was the fact that she thought she was ready for a lot more than what she really was. The thing is, nobody explained to her the "whys" of it. She felt disregarded, disrespected, and barred from the basic aspects of being a diamond.

Many of us didn't always have the self-awareness it takes to realize when we're acting like fools. It's a learning process, and it's something that takes both time AND experience to fully grasp. Let's face it, we've all had moments where we've winced at some of the things we've done in the past.

Most of us also have, at one point or another, felt like we were not particularly viewed as an equal simply because we haven't been given the opportunity to prove ourselves. Whether we're right or wrong doesn't matter in this case; what matters is that we can put ourselves in Pink's shoes.

I'm willing to bet that we all have had moments where we've seen our inner Pink come out.

Given time and the right role models, most of us grow out of that. There's evidence to suggest that Pink Diamond eventually did, too. In fact, there's some evidence that suggests that Pink ended up being very empathetic.

If you listen to remarks made in earlier episodes, it becomes clear that Pink Diamond did have a softer side she didn't show in this episode. Think back to the zoo episode, and you'll realize she's a bit different from other diamonds. She had a human zoo because she wanted to preserve some life from Earth.

Steven is a Rose Quartz hybrid with healing powers. Rose Quartzes were originally made by Pink. Ergo, it's safe to say that she also made Rose Quartz soldiers with healing powers as a way to console the zoomans and ensure they'll stay healthy.

Clearly, Pink didn't act as a Diamond should, but is she really that awful? Perhaps not. In a nutshell, we've all been where Pink Diamond was at that point—whether it was in our teenage years, our kindergarten years, or just having a hard time adjusting to other aspects of life as it throws us inevitable curve balls.

I'm willing to bet that we're just seeing a slice of Pink's early years, before she became the leader of the Earth invasion. Though many may disagree with me on this one, I say, let's give Pink a chance.

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About the author

Ossiana M. Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of NJ. You can message her via Twitter on @bluntandwitty or via Instagram on @ossiana.makes.content. She's always looking for freelance work and collabs!

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