Aisha had a grudge against guys in the early seasons of Winx Club. In fact, she almost banned them all from her life in season three! Have you ever wondered where this beef came from?
“Well, she’s a feminist,” you say.
Yes, because feminist equals man-hater. ?
I’m not saying she’s not a feminist, but can we please stop feeding that stereotype? Just because a female character is strong and believes women are capable and deserve equality doesn’t mean she should shun men. Some feminists have nothing against them and are even in happy relationships with them.
Let’s try again. Sometimes when someone hates an entire group because one trait, it’s a learned response. Someone (maybe a parent) taught them to fear people in the group, or the person had a negative experience with one or more members of it. If not, the person is just prejudiced.
Let’s assume Aisha isn’t just sexist for no reason. Is there a moment from her past that made her uncomfortable with men?
…Well, no. We can’t point to a specific moment from her backstory. As far as we know, she didn’t spend time with any guys her age until she left Andros. (Silvan doesn’t count, since he’s a comics-only character.) She didn’t date before then, either.
Maybe she had an unpleasant experience with a man from the royal court. I ran into a fan on Tumblr who made up such an experience for her backstory. Trigger warning: according to them, she must have been sexually assaulted. That’s also why she was scared of dark in Winx season two.
Look, no matter how much more “mature” you think Winx Club used to be, this is and has always been a show aimed at kids. The minimum target age for the first three seasons was eight years old (five in season three). There’s no way Rainbow would write something that horrific into this show. That impending disaster called Fate: The Winx Saga? Sure. I bet there will be lots of sick stuff like that in there just to amp up the edginess. But it doesn’t belong in Winx Club.
(Side note: I hate how both fanfic and professional writers think “for adults” equals dark. You can tell a mature story without making all the characters angsty or cramming every disturbing experience you can think of into their lives.)
A Better Explanation
Anyway, I think the truth is more obvious — and less traumatic. I said earlier we couldn’t blame a specific moment from Aisha’s backstory, but I may have fibbed. A little. It wasn’t a specific moment — it was her whole childhood!
She had no freedom, right? Whose fault was that? Her father, King Teredor.
For most of us, our fathers are the first and most influential men in our lives. Even not having one shapes who you become. Unlike friends and boyfriends, we don’t get to choose who our fathers are or how involved (or not) they’ll be with us.
So the first man Aisha knew confined her to her house, ignored her feelings, stifled her self-expression, and forced her to conform to traditional feminine norms. Off to a great start, guys!
She sang her frustrations to him in her character song, “Live My Life”:
I heard you say that I’m a rebel
That I don’t follow any rule
And you know it won’t get better
‘Cause I won’t change my attitude for no one
Daddy, please don’t be upset
Remember when you were my age
You were so restless, we’re the same
So won’t you set me free?
This is just me
Love me for who I really am
(Who I am)
You taught me all I know, that’s why
I will always be your girl
I wanna be out there in the world
I don’t wanna be in chains
The Winx franchise is full of signs that King Teredor was the problem.
- In her dream in “The Invisible Pixies” (Winx season 2, episode 13), one of her servants said her father called to make sure she attended her lessons. The sequence may have been a dream, but this probably happened a lot, which is why it was in her subconscious. If that’s true, it means King Teredor may not have been around much.
- In “One Last Fluttering of Wings” (Winx season 3, episode 13), Aisha wanted to help protect Andros from Valtor’s possessed mermaids. But her father had already given up and wanted her to go back to the safety of Alfea. (Eventually, she convinced him to keep fighting.)
- In comic #131, “La Prova di Nex” (Nex’s Test), her mother Queen Niobe trusted Nex right away, but Teredor didn’t. He doubted that the former Paladin could protect Aisha, to which she herself replied, “Nex is not my bodyguard!”
Two more examples. First, let’s talk about her ban on men again. I think the Winx fandom took it too seriously — and out of context. Remember: she was mad about the arranged marriage at the time. If she banned guys, the wedding would be off, right? ?
More importantly, notice who she included in the ban:
No father, no boyfriends, no guys at all!
No father, huh? What did that mean anyway? Banning boyfriends is easy — and again, it covered her unwanted fiancé — but how do you ban your dad? Was she gonna stop talking to him? Was she gonna disown him? I don’t think she’d thought it through.
But it didn’t matter because three episodes later, she told her mother she wanted to choose her own guy. So I guess the ban was over.
Finally, you know how Aisha likes to tell guys, “I can take care of myself”? Well, her overprotective father didn’t think she could. What if because of him, she convinced herself that all men think women are helpless? So whenever a guy wanted to help her, it triggered her anxiety.
That’s another reason why I loved the dock scene with Nex in “Into the Depths of Andros” (Winx season 8, episode 8). When she tried her line on him, his response was: “I know that.” Nex has never doubted her competence. It’s what he loves about her! He knew she needed help this time, though (because of her state of mind), but he approached her as a teammate, not her guardian.
I love how these two aren’t afraid to challenge each other’s behavior and false beliefs, yet they still care for each other. Ugh, they’re such an underrated couple! ?
So Aisha never really hated guys. She just projected her anger with her father onto every male she met. (Of course, she doesn’t hate him, either — when he’s not being overprotective.) And as I’ll talk about (again) in a future post, her “strong, independent woman” act is also rooted in her past. Stay tuned.