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SYFY WIRE Steven Universe

Rose Quartz starts an intergalactic war because she likes sex

By S.E. Fleenor

“What can I do for you?” Rose Quartz and Greg Universe sing to one another. “What can I do that no one else can do?” The bedroom eyes they’re giving each other only get more intense as they belt the song out, moving around the stage and around each other as if they’re two birds engaged in a mating ritual.

Rose, an alien, loses herself in the song and the camera cuts to her seductive, pink lips as she opens her mouth and sings, “I like the way human beings play. I like playing along.” Greg strums the guitar determinedly while Rose twirls her fingers in her microphone cord and they lean close to one another.

The whole exchange is tense and sensual and titillating and if you’re wondering if the other characters in the scene pick up on the sexual chemistry, Pearl’s jealous posturing toward and outright denial of Greg’s advances should be an indicator.

Rose is the (former) leader of a rebellion and the mother of Steven in Steven Universe, an animated children’s show. The bulk of the series’ narrative revolves around Steven and his family and friends; however, the decisions Rose made prior to giving up her form to bring Steven into existence have lasting consequences that ripple throughout the five seasons (so far). As Steven learns more about himself and his mother, he learns that Rose wasn’t who she appeared to be at all, but was, instead, Pink Diamond, one of the rulers under the Diamond Authority who wanted to gut the Earth to create more Gem soldiers. 

Gems reproduce by pulling full-grown Gems from a planet’s soil and have neither romantic nor sexual relationships. JUST KIDDING. That’s only what the Diamonds would have you think. When two Gems, Ruby and Sapphire, accidentally fuse, an action reserved only for use during battle and only between Gems of the same kind, they create Garnet. A Gem Fusion, Garnet is both herself and the love and commitment between Ruby and Sapphire. That’s just the tip of the fusion iceberg! 

All of the Crystal Gems fuse at different times and in different combinations, bringing to life delightful Gem Fusions who are people all their own. Steven and his human friend, Connie, even share a close relationship and sometimes fuse together to form Stevonie, a non-binary icon. Throughout the series, fusion becomes a queer symbol of relationships, identities, love, and sex.

It’s easy to see why Steven Universe has been heralded as the queerest show on television — and it’s about time it was recognized for being extremely sex-positive, too. Not only does fusion serve as a stand-in for sex between characters, but also Rose engages in sexual activity with humans throughout her time on Earth. In fact, she loves sex so much she starts an intergalactic war!

Are you finding it hard to believe a character on an animated children’s show could be so all about getting down? Oh, friend. I can’t wait to tell you more about Rose Quartz.

Ostensibly, Rose started an intergalactic war to stop the Diamonds from destroying all life on Earth, but really Rose just liked to bang the way humans do, and if Earth was destroyed, so too would be freaky humans. In the end, her decision wasn’t altruistic at all, but rather the result of libidinous aims. What evidence have I for such a salacious claim? I’m so glad you asked!

When Rose first comes to Earth and explores the planet, she finds flowers and butterflies and so much life. Realizing that if her Diamond family had their way, all that life would be snuffed out, Rose decides she had to do something about it. At least, that’s the G-rated version. In Season 5, Episode 13, “Your Mother and Mine,” Garnet retells the tale of Rose’s arrival on Earth, adding, “Curiosity turned to appreciation. Appreciation turned to fondness. And fondness turned to love.” While Garnet tells Steven and some friends this addition, the viewer gets to see Rose dance with and then mack on a hot dude from BCE history.

For thousands of years, Rose enjoys dalliances with “the men that would come into her life now and again,” according to Pearl in Season 3, Episode 8 “Mr. Greg.” Pearl, who also shared a loving relationship and a special Gem Fusion called Rainbow Quartz with Rose, is recalling how much she didn’t care that Rose banged a lot of human dudes because she “knew that they didn’t really matter until you.” The “you” in this situation is, of course, Greg, Pearl’s first and only romantic rival.

By the time we even reach the point in time portrayed in Season 2, Episode 9 “We Need to Talk,” when Rose sings, “What can I do for you?” to Greg, she’s already made it clear that she loves to play with humans. That’s not what surprises her in that song. What surprises her is how much she likes to play with this human. Again, though, she likes it enough to record a song and music video about boning down with her human lover.

Later that same episode, Greg, Steven’s dad, begins falling in love with Rose. He asks her if she’s ever loved other humans and, being the clever person that she is, she returns the question, only answering yes after Greg does. He next asks, “Have you ever been in love with a human?” which one could read to mean that his prior question wasn’t really about affection, it was more about getting down, ipso facto, Rose likes sex and has engaged in a lot of it over several millennia.

In summation, Gems do not bang. Humans do bang. Humans will all die if nothing is done. Rose loves humans—banging humans — thus, Rose starts an intergalactic war so she could bang more humans.

I rest my case.