Some Winx fans think Nex is a womanizer and a misogynist. So I have an idea: let’s pit him against Aisha’s comics-only love interests: Jordan and Silvan.
Jordan is a Specialist from Winx comic #30: “Un Ragazzo Per Aisha” (A Boyfriend for Aisha), a.k.a. “Love for Layla”. Thanks to some Pixie matchmaking, the two spent an afternoon getting to know each other. Aisha fell head over heels for him right away.
Silvan is a test pilot from Winx comic #71: “Il Coraggio di Aisha” (Aisha’s/Layla’s Courage), which took place not long after Nabu died. She and Silvan were childhood friends. (Why did all her love interests from Andros need prior connections to her?)
Why compare Nex to these guys? Because Jordan was a womanizer, and Silvan was a misogynist. That’s why Aisha broke up with them.
So if Nex is a womanizer and a misogynist, he should seem like a cross between these guys, right? Let’s find out.
Jordan From “A Boyfriend for Aisha” (a.k.a. “Love for Layla”)
Between these guys, Nex seems to have more in common with Jordan. They’re both athletic, and they love action and adventure. That’s why the Pixies thought Jordan was perfect for Aisha:
AMORE: He climbs mountains, rafts down rivers…exactly what Aisha* likes to do!
After their impromptu date, Jordan asked her out to go dancing with him. Sadly, she had to return to Alfea early, so she told him they’d meet up another time. Bummer.
Oh, well. Better call another girlfriend!
The Pixies gaped as he ran through his list of ladies.
Isabel, honey….You know how I can’t bear being without you! What do you mean you have to study? …Oh, ok. See ya, babe! Let’s try Priscilla then! If she’s not free, either…Priscilla, my beauty, what are you up to?
“How many girlfriends does this guy have?” cried Tune, and she and her friends jetted to Alfea to warn Aisha.
What is a Womanizer?
Just so we’re on the same page, let’s define “womanizer”:
[He’s] a man who always seems to have a new girlfriend, and who has no hesitation about starting up a new relationship before he’s ended the last one.
Sounds like Jordan to me. At least three girls thought they were his girlfriend or his only prospect. To woo them, he bragged about his athletic skills and his adventures; he sweet-talked them (“I can’t bear being without you!”); and he called them smarmy pet names like “my beauty”.
But does Nex have any girlfriends besides Aisha? No. In fact, he’s been faithful to her since before they started dating! He also doesn’t call her “babe”, “my beauty”, or any other term a player might use.
So, how is he a womanizer? ?♀️
If you wonder where I got this from, look no further than Winx fanfiction. Nex is usually the guy who can’t commit to any girl…until he gets one pregnant and feels guilty. (Side note: it’s never Aisha. Not that I’d wanna read a story like that about this couple.) And it’s not a different interpretation of his character. These writers seem to think it’s Winx Club’s version of him.
Nex vs. Jordan
How did Nex get this reputation? He flirted with the Winx in his debut episode:
Hey, ladies! When it’s my turn, I’ll give those guys a run for their money!
It’s funny — when I rewatched this scene, he didn’t sound as flirty as I remembered. Still, this was all it took for the fandom to label him a womanizer. Why? Because he flirted with five girls at once? So what? It’s not like he wanted to date them all!
Plus, he was still single then, and since he met Aisha, he hasn’t flirted with anyone else. But as Jordan showed, a womanizer doesn’t stop flirting because he doesn’t care about his girlfriends’ feelings. He doesn’t date for love — he dates for fun, so he keeps his options open.
Nex isn’t like that. He does care about Aisha’s feelings, and he’s in a serious relationship with her. So I’ll ask again, Winx fandom: how is he a womanizer? The shoe doesn’t fit him.
By the way, as if Jordan couldn’t get any worse, he was also a liar. All the adventures and athletic skills he bragged about? He made them up. The guy couldn’t even swim!
Aisha, Priscilla, and Isabel all dumped him.
(Side note: Yes, “Isabel” and “Priscilla” are two members of “Winx Junior”. We thought Rainbow created them in season four, but this is a season two comic! They seem to be the same age as Aisha rather than freshmen, and the redhead’s name was Alice in the show. Rainbow, you need to keep better track of your background characters. ?)
Silvan From “Aisha’s Courage” (a.k.a. “Layla’s Courage”)
Following Aisha’s dream vision, the Winx found and saved Silvan, who had crashed his shuttle in a river. He recognized Aisha from their childhood together, and the two started seeing each other every day. It looked like the start of a new love story.
But the plot turned quickly. Because of his training, Silvan had no time for dates and often stood Aisha up. Desperate not to lose him, she left Alfea, moved into an apartment close to the base where he worked, and found a job there.
That’s when she started hearing nasty talk about him. Her new boss didn’t seem confident in him:
COMMANDER: Captain Silvan does his best, but…if I’m not mistaken, you know him, don’t you? He’s your friend, right? AISHA: Yes! I often see him… COMMANDER: You are a clever girl, and I hope having you around helps him sort himself out!
And her co-workers — specifically the women — couldn’t believe she and Silvan were dating:
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Hi! You’re new, right? Good catch, Silvan! The rest of us girls were really surprised! He! He! AISHA: ?!? What? …
Aisha Learns The Truth About Silvan
Aisha’s job gave her access to student records. It turned out Silvan skipped lessons frequently, so she asked him about it one day at lunch. Maybe she could convince him to stick to his studies.
It didn’t work. After he accused her of checking up on him, he threw his napkin and yelled:
I am fed up of books and manuals! I want to fly! But why am I telling a woman this! Uff! See you later!
Yikes. Strike one. No, two at this point.
Not long after, the commander asked Aisha to accompany Silvan on a test flight. Silvan didn’t like it, but he told her he’d rather she came along than someone else.
“But don’t let it go to your head!” he said.
During the flight, the shuttle’s second engine overheated. Aisha came up with a plan to turn the engine off and cool it down by nosediving, but Silvan didn’t want her telling him what to do.
“If you don’t it, I will!” she said as she switched off the engine. Her plan worked, and the couple made it back to the base safely.
Silvan lied to the commander that everything went well. He also took credit for her quick thinking. When she confronted him about it, he said:
Aisha*, child, you don’t want to show me up! Actually, it’s a good thing you came with me…but you’re a woman, and we’re talking about my career here! Get on with it, okay?
Strike three. Aisha broke up with him and went back to Alfea.
Sexism in Winx Club
The Winx fandom started calling Nex sexist and/or misogynist after a comment he made in “Back in the Middle Ages” (Winx season 7, episode 8):
Just like a girl, insist things go their way whether it makes sense or not!
The horn effect kicked in right away. A Winx fan on Tumblr said Nex has “a penchant for misogynist language”. The word “penchant” means “a liking for or a habit of doing something”. If Nex likes making these comments, why didn’t he do it before, and why hasn’t he done it since? And since when is one time a habit? I guess when it’s him, they round up.
Other fans claimed the line was evidence Nex is like Riven, but Riven isn’t the only other guy in Winx Club who’s ever said something sexist. If you rewatch the series, you’ll notice sexist comments used to be more common (as they also were in other shows).
Here’s a line from “The Crypt of the Codex” (Winx season 2, episode 10):
Girls are so selfish, it’s unreal!
Obviously, Nex didn’t say this. He wasn’t even in season two (although he should have been). And as you probably guessed, Riven didn’t say this, either. So who was it?
Here’s another line, from “The Last Fairy on Earth” (Winx season 4, episode 3):
…how long is a man expected to survive living with seven women?
Who said this? Not Nex, Riven, or Sky…but Bloom’s adoptive father Mike.
Those are just a couple examples. Like I said, re-watch Winx Club for more from guys besides Riven.
What Makes a Character a Misogynist?
Even though sexist comments were more common in the old days of TV, writers still distinguished between characters who said sexist things sometimes and actual misogynists. We tend to treat misogyny as a synonym for sexism, but as RationalWiki puts it:
Misogyny…is more malicious and generally advocates harm and contempt for women. Thus, misogyny is an extreme form of sexism.
Speaking as a woman, I think labeling every man who makes a biased comment about women a misogynist — or even sexist — doesn’t help anything. I’m not saying we should never call out these comments, but we need more discretion. Canceling every man for even a mild remark doesn’t stop sexism or misogyny. It reinforces them.
Also, we warn men never to say anything negative about women, but when we criticize and even mock men, people don’t take it as seriously. In fact, some people believe sexism against men and misandry, hatred of men, aren’t real. How is that equality?
Case in point: which Winx character has made the largest number of sexist comments: Aisha or Nex? Aisha, by a landslide. She added another to her record in “Popstars!” (Winx season 8, episode 4):
Guys… They have a way of complicating everything!
But which character did the Winx fandom cancel for sexism: Aisha or Nex? Nex. Not only do they let Aisha get away with it, but they praise her for it.
No, I’m not saying we should cancel Aisha. What I mean is if one sexist comment from Nex sparked more outrage than several sexist comments from her, there’s a double standard in play. It’s especially obvious when a fan says Aisha “would never date a guy like him” because of his sexist comment. They’re trying to protect her from something she’s more guilty of than he is!
As for extreme labels like “misogynist”, I think we should save them for extreme cases. Nex, Sky, and Mike made sexist comments, but these guys aren’t misogynists. They don’t hate and wanna harm women, and they love and respect the women in their lives. (Well, Nex and Mike do, anyway. I won’t wade into Sky’s relationship drama right now.)
That’s one reason he and Musa have had the rockiest relationship of all the Winx couples. But he doesn’t always get along with the other Winx, either. He’s disrespected most, if not all, of them verbally and sometimes physically throughout the series.
I know, I know. Riven’s mother abandoned him when he was young. Poor guy, but does that give him an excuse to treat all women, including his girlfriend, like trash?
The things he said to Aisha weren’t just generalizations or criticisms. He wanted to crush her confidence and make her feel inferior to him. Why else would he call her “child”? It doesn’t get clearer than that.
And when she asked about his lessons, Silvan acted like she didn’t deserve an explanation because she’s a woman. Did he think women can’t understand career matters? Or maybe to him, women weren’t worth talking to.
We know why he treated her like this: he felt threatened by her. Aisha is a force of nature like the ocean that powers her. Weak-minded men need not apply.
Silvan thought the only way to save his pride was to lie, take credit for her ingenuity, and silence her so she couldn’t upstage him. His message was clear: “I’m a man. Know your place.”
To make matters worse, he didn’t put any effort into their relationship. He skipped dates without warning, and he made excuses when she complained about it. Even after Aisha gave up her friends and education to be with him, Silvan still prioritized himself and his career over her.
That’s the behavior of a misogynist, a man who doesn’t think any woman, not even his girlfriend, deserves his time or respect.
But Nex doesn’t act that way. He loves spending time with Aisha and prioritizes her in his life. Remember when he told her, “I’ll come and see you soon,” at the end of “New Magic Harmony” (Winx season 7, episode 25)? She doesn’t have to wonder when their next date will be, and she doesn’t feel the urge to take drastic measures to save their relationship.
Also, while Silvan saw her competence as a threat, Nex celebrates it. He supports her so passionately, he drives her crazy sometimes! And when she succeeds, he feels proud of her and praises her like a partner should.