Disclaimer: These numbers will change, but they’re accurate as of the writing of this post.
Some Winx fans have left negative comments, but the likes far outnumber them. Example #4 has 75 total comments. Some of them are positive, and occasionally people commented more than once. But even if all 75 were negative, they’d still be a drop in the bucket compared to the 1500 likes!
It’s the same on other sites. Speaking of “Legendary Duel”, I looked at the like/dislike ratio for the full episode on the official Russian Winx YouTube channel. Remember that this is the episode where Aisha and Nex become a couple. Rainbow even used a screenshot of them as the thumbnail:
The video has about 800 dislikes…but 8800 likes. That’s 8000 more likes than dislikes.Are they all for Aisha and Nex? No, but some of them must be. Regardless, why doesn’t this video — or the two Sirenixarc clips on the Italian channel — have more dislikes?
As for the comment section, I’m sure it’s full of complaints, but it only has 1400 comments. That’s 16 percent (less than one-fifth) of the number of likes. It’s a noticeable number, but still smaller than you’d expect.
If most Winx fans hate Aisha and Nex, who’s liking these posts and videos? Why are there so many more likes than dislikes and negative comments? And assuming that some of these people support this couple, why aren’t more of them commenting?
Most people are afraid of social isolation. Therefore, people constantly observe other people’s behavior in order to find out which opinions and behaviors are met with approval or rejection in the public sphere.
No one wants to be shunned by their community, especially by friends and family. So we do or say whatever we need to — whether or not we agree with it — in order to fit in.
People exert “isolation pressure” on other people, for instance, by frowning or turning away when somebody says or does something that is rejected by public opinion. People [who fear isolation] tend to hide their opinion away when they think that they would expose themselves to “isolation pressure” …
We get rebukes and dirty looks if we act or speak against what the public says is right. To avoid this negative attention, we keep our unpopular opinions to ourselves.
People who feel public support, in contrast, express their opinion loud and clear.
If we think that lots of people will affirm our beliefs, we feel more comfortable sharing them.
The process is typically ignited by emotionally and morally laden issues….The spiral is usually elicited by controversial issues.
The more contentious and emotional a topic is, the more likely the Spiral of Silence will decide whose opinion is spread the most.
The Spiral of Silence in the Winx Club Fandom
If this happens in real life, why wouldn’t it happen in fandoms? Let’s look at the Winx fandom.
We can’t prove that most Aisha/Nex fans are afraid of social isolation. But if they are, that could explain why they’re liking posts instead of commenting on them. Liking is “safer” because you can remain relatively anonymous. (Do you know the names of all 1500 people who liked @winxclub’s screenshot?) But if you comment, everyone sees who you are and what you wrote. You become a target for the haters.
Aisha/Nabu and Aisha/Roy fans exert “isolation pressure” on Aisha/Nex fans by bashing every comment and post about the couple. I’ve also heard people say that “true” Winx fans prefer Aisha and Nabu. A few Aisha/Nabu fans have even told Aisha/Nex fans to kill themselves! The message is clear: if you like Aisha and Nex, you and your opinions aren’t welcome in the fandom.
Aisha/Nabu fans obviously feel like they have public support, so they’re not afraid to tell anyone what they believe. How often do you see their opinions? Every day and everywhere. (Aisha/Roy fans are becoming like them.)
Shippers are notoriously intense and emotional, but the Aisha shipping war is worse because of Nabu’s death, which was controversial by itself. Her relationship with Nex is also controversial because of how he was introduced and the illusion that she would end up with Roy.
Defeating the Spiral of Silence
If the Spiral of Silence is happening in the fandom, how can we stop it? The Noelle-Neumann website has answers:
The opinion of a minority may actually be perceived as majority in the public sphere if their partisans act assertively enough and publicly defend their opinion with emphasis.
What if Aisha/Nex fans actually outnumber Aisha/Nabu and/or Aisha/Roy fans? What if most Winx fans are ready to move on from Nabu’s death and are relieved that Aisha didn’t pick Roy? What if most Winx fans support Aisha and Nex or are at least willing to give them a chance? We may never know the truth if Aisha/Nex fans stay quiet.
Let’s fight fire with fire. If Aisha/Nabu and Aisha/Roy fans are so outspoken, Aisha/Nex fans need to be, too. That doesn’t mean picking a fight with them. It means not being afraid to state our beliefs as passionately and often as they do. If other Aisha/Nex fans notice, maybe they’ll join in.
Public opinion is limited in time and space….What specifically public opinion approves or rejects will change with time and differ from place to place.
Aisha/Nabu and Aisha/Roy fans may have the advantage of popularity, but Aisha/Nex fans have the advantage of time. This couple is still together. Rainbow is still developing their relationship, as well as the characters individually. There’s still a chance for public opinion to shift in their favor.
The only way to defeat the Spiral of Silence is to break the silence. Let’s post and comment about Aisha and Nex often on Instagram, Tumblr, Amino, YouTube, VK, DeviantArt, forums, blogs — anywhere. Some Aisha/Nabu and Aisha/Roy fans will complain or retaliate. Ignore them.
I have a way to make this plan easier. Every week, I’ll share a link to an Aisha/Nex post I found online. If you have an account on that site, write a comment (don’t just like) and tell other fans to do the same. You could start with the links in this post.