I really think Peridot is autistic (or at least an allegory for autism).
I know this is a common headcanon, but it’s one I subscribe to personally, and one I feel has a lot of stuff to back it up.
Peridot is, in my opinion as an autistic person, a textbook example of autism. And, being me, I feel like the best way to explain this is through bullet points.
- She doesn’t get other people. One could argue that this is due to Homeworld bullshit, but keep in mind that Jasper and Lapis have a much better understanding of How To People than Peridot does.
She finds structure comforting. Look at Homeworld’s caste system, for instance–it’s something that is actively detrimental to her, as peridots do not seem to rank especially high on the Homeworld social ladder, but she clings to it regardless. (Granted, some of this might be conditioning, but I digress.)
- She’s obsessive about her interests and areas of expertise. Now, her technological and Kindergarten knowledge is pre-programmed, but her interest in Camp Pining Hearts is very much not. She grows very attached to the series, and develops an encyclopedic knowledge of it fairly quickly once she watches the whole thing. In fact, according to her Twitter, she’s writing an essay on a character she doesn’t like and why she doesn’t like her!
- On a related note, watching the same episode over and over? I’m not sure if that’s an autistic trait exactly, but it’s definitely something I do.
She’s often insensitive, even mean, without having any ill intentions. This, of course, ties into her not getting other people–she doesn’t pick up on social cues, and can thus say deeply hurtful things without any intention of hurting anyone.
- As a more specific example, her recording her message to Amethyst in Too Far strikes me as an autistic thing. She knows full well that she might slip up and say something wrong, so she thinks it over. She figures out the message she WANTS to get across, and puts time and effort into making that message clear–and, knowing that she might not be able to do that in the heat of the moment, she records it.
- She uses odd, stilted language and terminology. I initially assumed this might be a matter of Homeworld dialect differing from ours, but again, Jasper and Lapis don’t use the same kind of terminology.
- She has comfort objects. Her limb enhancers definitely count, as do her tape recorder and tablet. While comfort objects are, of course, not a solely autistic thing, they seem to be a particularly common thing among autistics.
And there are two more metaphorical examples as well:
- Her alien motif. A lot of autistics describe themselves as feeling like they’re from a different planet; while this is a bit more literal in Peridot’s case, again, other Homeworld gems don’t seem to have Peridot’s quirks. It’s a pretty accurate motif for her to have, if you ask me.
- The whole “you don’t have any powers” thing that Homeworld drilled into her head brings to mind parents who assume their nonverbal autistic children cannot communicate at all, without taking into account that they have other ways of communicating, such as writing (I know several nonverbal autistics who are very eloquent in writing, and others who, while not nonverbal, are far more eloquent in writing than in speech). Peridot’s ferrokinesis is a skill unique to her, as far as we know (or possibly even a skill exclusive to peridots, but the point is, none of the other Gems seem to have that ability), and discovering that opens up possibilities for her that she was told time and time again would never be available to her!
The best part? Peridot isn’t treated as special or extraordinary for her accomplishments–she’s not treated as some inspirational story. She’s treated as a person, a regular Gem, who just works a little differently than other Gems. And I think that’s really important.