• Fan Theory: Jasper Hates Herself

    Jasper - big, strong, tough, and perfect. Peridot said she was perfect, despite her origin in the Beta Kindergarten. She constantly bragged to Amethyst about how much better she was. So how reason could a warrior loyal to Homeworld have to feel bad about herself?

    I’m still kind of surprised by the people who think Jasper’s self-loathing wasn’t shown on screen, because her self-deprecating laugh following her line “Nobody I fuse with ever wants to stay” conveyed how she felt about herself perfectly in a way no explicitly stated “I hate myself” line ever could.

    I have talked a little bit before about how you kind of need to “read between the lines” with jasper’s character. so I am just going to illustrate my thought process here for why it was always kind of obvious to me that she hated herself: 
    the first thing I noticed was that in the return/jailbreak jasper reacts to anxiety with aggression. which I’ve noted in a couple of posts, but the gist of it is you see her scared when steven uses his shield. from that point forward her temperament totally shifts from laid back jerk to overly aggressive asshole. I read a lot of her behaviors in jailbreak as symptoms of ptsd (irritability and agression sure, but I’ve also interpreted her constantly walking around the ship and checking in on her prisoners- when logically she has no reason to believe any of them are capable of escaping their cells or posing any sort of threat, as hypervigillence).
    and this happens again in super watermelon island- more than once. the first is seeing malachite panic when alexandrite shows up (there is literally no indication that lapis was the one who was scared, besides the fact that it was back and forth. the voice didn’t change, the background music didn’t change, the top eyes go wide with fear after it’s already been established that the top eyes are jasper’s and we see her same “gasps, eyes widen with fear” response when steven uses his shield and when amethyst whips her in the face in earthlings). and her immediate response aside from reflexively attacking that fear as “pathetic” is to turn it around and convince lapis to have some “fun” with her and fight the crystal gems. the second time is when the watermelon stevens attacked, and she smashed them for trying to “hold [her] down” (being “held down” is very specific for what lapis did to jasper, when lapis talks about what bad things happened to her she always refers to being held prisoner).
    and this is a clue that (at least in some areas) there is a difference between what jasper is really thinking/feeling, and what she is saying/doing.
    and not coincidentally, those areas revolve around what she doesn’t want to feel/acknowledge. one important bit of characterization from her disgusting way of treating her “army” is that it once again reinforces what we saw at the beginning of super watermelon island- jasper does not like fear. she’s disgusted by it when she sees it in other soldiers and punishes it, and like all of her other toxic beliefs she applies it to herself too and is disgusted with herself and punishes herself for feeling fear.
    this makes sense given her incredibly rigid worldview. she sees herself as her role as a soldier, not an actual person (which is why she almost exclusively refers to herself as a quartz soldier during season 3). she cannot allow herself to think, feel, or be anything other than a fighting machine. that’s what she was made for, that is her entire life and her entire identity. any thoughts or feelings that would contradict this in her mind (feeling scared, weak, vulnerable) can’t exist. so she either does her best to deny or repress them, or she punishes herself when she does feel them.  
    and then we have alone at sea. lapis (someone who knows she doesn’t deserve to suffer, gets angry when people mistreat her, and will take things too far in order to regain a feeling of control over her life) cannot fathom why jasper would ever want to go back to malachite. while I have my own interpretations of their relationship, I think now after reading interviews and margo in bed, I think the intended message as to what their relationship is supposed to represent is one that’s complicated. and it’s complicated specifically because neither of them love each other, they “bring out the worst” in each other, but they both want to be together because they got something they wanted out of that relationship. with lapis, that was a feeling of power and control… by having total power and control over jasper. as for jasper? she talks about power, and tries to bring up any and all of “the good times” they had together. but I think like pearl claiming that she manipulated garnet because she was having “so much fun” being sardonyx and how she “wanted to share a few more victories” with garnet, her real reasons for manipulating her had to deal with much deeper issues with self worth. jasper talks a lot about power, but it’s possible too that malachite filled some void in her life (after that line in earthlings: perhaps a sense of companionship? as messed up as it is, jasper is a very insecure person who thinks she needs to force people to be around her. lapis forced them to stay together, meaning jasper didn’t have to put any effort in keeping her around. lapis wanted her around, even if it was only to hate her and take everything out on her).
    but regardless of whether or not there is some ~deep~ emotional/psychological reason for her wanting to go back to lapis, or if jasper really did just want her power, the point is she placed literally zero value on her own suffering (which is why lapis couldn’t understand her). and again, this is brought up later when she tells the corrupted gem “you suffer because it’s what you deserve, we all get what we deserve”. jasper thinks whatever suffering in her life is deserved.
    so we have a few well established character traits with jasper: she defines herself by her role, there is a difference between what she’s thinking/feeling and what she says/does, that she feels like she deserves whatever she gets even if it’s horrible.
    so with all of that in mind, it becomes painfully obvious that jasper hates herself and a lot of her egotistical behavior is a front. and there is most likely some dissonance there where she does feel scared or vulnerable, and she hates herself, but she can’t actually allow herself to feel those things because she’s not “supposed to” as a (presumably highly ranked) soldier. so she turns that fear into aggression, she turns that vulnerability into controlling/domineering behavior, and she hypes herself up as the best gem on the planet despite her deep sense of self loathing. and this is reflected in her gem weapon too: the same tool she uses to hurt others is also used to protect herself.      
    so yes, we did see her self loathing in canon. it just wasn’t the clear and unambiguous “I’m the worst :(” presentation that we occasionally see from steven/amethyst/smokey quartz.

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