So, the number one post on this blog to date is one where I share my thoughts on these here fae:
My eldest fell in love with them when she was five.
At the time, I hummed and hawed over whether I should be letting her watch them.
Two years later, they are still a regular feature of our home. So much so that I am hopeful they will help teach her how to read:
So there’s the answer.
Really, I shouldn’t have been all that surprised that my eldest would notice and like the Winx Club. She’s been pretty faithful to the fae since discovering Tinkerbell at two.
And honestly? I’m pretty pro-fairy. I have a full Maleficent costume for Halloween – which worked fantastically last year when my eldest was Mal (Maleficent’s daughter) from the Descendants.
And as I mentioned back at Letter F for the fairy Fawn, I even have a Fairy Pinterest Board that I started so my girls and I could collect pictures of them together:
Getting back to Winx, there are currently seven seasons, three movies and two spin-off shows (PopPixie and World of Winx). While her interest has waned since first discovering the show, enough of these are on Canadian Netflix for my eldest to still sometimes want to watch these three years after first discovering them.
For the uninitiated, Winx Club is a 2004 Italian animated fantasy/adventure series created by Iginio Straffi. Season 1 starts with Bloom, a girl from Earth, who discovers her magical abilities when she saves Stella, a fairy princess from another planet. Stella then invites her to join Alfea, the top fairy school in all the realms, where she meets other friends to form the Winx Club. When trouble arises they transform into fairies who use their unique magical powers to fight evil and save the world.
They are aided by the Specialists, boys (who become love interests) who are training to be warriors who can use a differing range of weapons along with other abilities.
They have exciting adventures and become fast friends.
Season two (2005) introduced the Pixies, small and super-cute flying fairy-like creatures, who the Winx bond with after rescuing. The spin-off show PopPixie was created in 2011, which features the pixies, elves, gnomes and magical animals who all live in a small village called Pixieville.
Most of this sounds – and is – benign to positive. Winx reinforces issues like the importance of teamwork, cooperation and the power of friendship and respect. Guys and girls are on equal footing in a fight because they have unique powers to bring to the battle. The characters don’t back down from a challenge and creatively problem solve.
That said, the Winx are all also unrealistically skinny; dress skimpy; and are obsessed with body image and boys. The pixies while drawn younger-looking also sport short skirts and halter tops.
As someone who spends a bit of time online surfing for fairy pictures, I can attest to the fact that “dressing skimpy while being skinny” is, well, um, fairy tame to normal. However, it still gave me pause as a parent.
Back in 2014 when I first discovered them, I spent some time pondering whether even if aspects of the show really were too “old” for my child, how much does that really matter? ie: How much of the older “stuff” is sinking in? Is she really just enjoying the fantasy fairy aspect while missing much of the other messaging?
And if she’s not watching it to the exclusion of other varied media, is she not still getting balance while also enjoying her fairy fix?
In my search for answers, I discovered and subscribed to Common Sense Media which, among other things, reviews a variety of children’s shows and provides information and advice on which parents can base viewing decisions.
I found scrolling through the information and Winx Club reviews there informative. I especially found the differences between parent and child reviews interesting as to age appropriateness and beliefs of how various images influence younger kids.
Common Sense Media also told me what I knew – it’s was old for my kid.
Indeed, it apparently still is given the suggested age group is tweens.
That said, 2.5 years out from our original discovery of this show, my now 7-year-old still loves the make-believe, fantasy fairy-land. That is still what she’s watching for. And I LOVE that she LOVES that.
Indeed, one of the lines in the opening theme even declares:
I colour my existence with my imagination.
I can’t really complain about that.
I also still think that as long as I continue to balance Barbie and Winx Club with other influences – for example right as I type my kids are watching Mini TFO’s Stella et Sacha, two weeks ago both my daughters were crazy over The Boss Baby and last week the Brownies took my eldest to tour the local paramedics station – we can continue to have conversations about fantasy and reality as it applies to real beauty and female role models.
What about you? What sort of TV viewing rules do you have for your kids?