[major spoilers for Steven Universe ahead!]
Anonymous wrote in:
I noticed that you have mentioned Steven Universe before, and was wondering whether any other SU fans on the ace/aro spectrum (though I guess it would apply more to aro people) were bothered by that one line in “Stronger Than You”- “You’re just mad ’cause you’re single”? Or, if you’re not bothered by it, do you have any other thoughts as about it, or am I just being picky?
I’m not aware of anyone else having commented on that specific part of the song. Readers? Y’all seen anything?
Anyway, yeah, that line did make me stop and think twice. And I don’t think anyone would be wrong to be hurt by it, since those words do echo unfair accusations used in real life.
What comforts me is the rest of the context, which suggests a different meaning. Garnet isn’t just attacking “singlehood” on its own, after all.
The full sentence is:
I can see you hate the way we intermingle
but I think you’re just mad cause you’re single
…which suggests this is a retort to Jasper’s animosity toward her as a fusion, which itself is a part of Homeworld’s as-of-yet-not-fully-explained prejudice against, in Peridot’s words, “permafusion.”
Jasper talks to Garnet as if she shouldn’t exist, and Garnet turns that around to mockingly accuse Jasper of wanting to fuse, too (…an accusation that seems to be supported by the fact that Jasper does fuse by the end of the episode — albeit with the implied belief that it will be a better fusion because it’s not the fusion of two “weak gems” like Garnet’s).
I’m sure there’s something to be said about these lines being delivered by a Black woman, as well, but I’m not going to try to make that commentary myself.
So I think it’s worth taking into account that Garnet’s status as a longterm fusion makes her despicable in the eyes of Homeworld and, in some ways, that dynamic functions as an oppression metaphor (this is made especially obvious in the way Peridot later talks to her like a homophobe).
Given that Ruby and Sapphire’s relationship is forbidden, I can’t fault Garnet for turning that around to mock a powerful Homeworld gem and saying, “you wish you were like this.”
The specific use of the word “single,” as well, with the particular relationship connotations that it has for us, is important I think for making it obvious that Ruby and Sapphire’s relationship is romantic in nature (something that, yes, people have been disputing).
That’s what I can appreciate about it, anyway. But, yes, it does have unfortunate echos for aros. And I can easily imagine someone listening to the song and coming away with an amatonormative mindset reinforced.