Winx Club TV Poster Image

Winx Club

(i)

 

Fairy-themed cartoon raises body-image issues for tweens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Teen heroines have impossibly shaped physiques, and some are stereotypically obsessed with their appearance and boys. That said, the series' themes include teamwork, cooperation, self-esteem, friendship, and respect. Guys and girls are on equal footing when it comes to putting up a fight, due to the uniqueness of their individual powers. Viewers see a teen cope with discovering the truth about her past and the danger it poses to her safety. 

Positive role models

Teens' giddiness over boys and obsession with their own appearance sends iffy messages to girls about body image and relationships with boys. But the characters do use creativity and rationality to solve problems, they draw strength in their collective abilities against their enemies, and they never back down from a challenge. Bloom's parents are caring and concerned about their daughter's welfare. Many characters are stereotypical, particularly the main villains of the series: the Trix witches Icy, Stormy and Darcy, mean girls with magic on their side.

Violence

Some hand-to-hand fighting, but more often violence takes the form of magical weapons such as light swords and guns that shoot energy rays, flying fireballs, and the powers to conjure storms, freeze people in ice, and deflect enemies' advances with energy shields. Some storylines touch on characters' deaths, but there's no blood or gore.

Sex

There's ongoing drama surrounding the main characters' attraction to their male counterparts, and some of their encounters include kissing and references to "going out" or getting dressed up (and made up) for a date. The girls wear skimpy outfits that accentuate their impossibly tiny waists and long, thin legs, and they talk about wearing make-up and high heels, implying that those actions correlate to their attractiveness.

Language

Occasional name-calling: "dimwit" and "blimp."

Consumerism

The series has inspired an international marketing conglomerate of DVDs, games, toys, and other accessories.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main characters in this fantasy cartoon aimed at young girls wear minimal clothing that shows off their impossible body proportions. In other words, this show does little to promote positive body image in its young audience, since what kids see on-screen is an unattainable goal. Stereotyping is strong in a few of the teens, who moon over boys and talk about dating; evolving relationships mean there's some kissing and hugging, too. Violence is a concern, and although most of it is rooted in fantasy (energy balls, light swords) and blood and gore are nonexistent, some storylines incorporate a character's death. That said, the content's not all bad; the magical storyline appeals to young tweens' sense of fantasy, and recurring themes of cooperation, respect, and friendship offer some teachable moments.

What's the story?

Bloom (voiced by Liza Jacqueline) is an ordinary teen whose life changes forever when she rescues Stella (Amy Birnbaum) from a pack of monsters. Once the dust settles, Bloom is shocked to learn that Stella is actually a fairy princess from another planet -- but that's nothing compared to Bloom's reaction to discovering her own magical powers. At Stella's urging, Bloom enrolls in Alfea College, a school for fairies in the Magical Dimension. Together with their roommates Musa (Lisa Ortiz), Tecna (Cathy Weseluck), and Flora (Kerry Williams), these powerful fairies form the Winx Club and set out to counter their enemies, a trio of witches from a rival school. They're often joined by four magical Specialists, and later episodes show them joined by new fairies Layla (Christina Rodriguez) and Roxy.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Start with mystical fairy powers, add the ability to fly, flashy clothes, and the constant slumber-party atmosphere of a fairy boarding school, and you have any tween girl's recipe for fun. WINX CLUB is teeming with witches, warriors, and magical mysteries, but it's also bogged down by some content that's not so great for its very impressionable target audience. The girls sport tiny skirts and tummy-bearing tops that show off their impossibly small waistlines and slender legs, and everything from their long, flowing hair (pretty, but not very practical when you're fending off bad guys) to the mere poses they strike invokes some sexual undertones. And all that is in the absence of the guys, with whom they share hefty doses of flirting and eventually some dates and kisses.

Violence is the other sticking point, although it's pretty fantasized (mostly energy balls and magical powers), and blood is minimal. On the upside, though, if your tweens do tune in, they'll be treated to an imaginative story with bold, take-charge heroines who find strength in cooperation, creativity, and a thoughtful approach to solving problems.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about body image. What do you think of the way the characters' bodies are drawn? How does what you see on TV and in movies influence your impression of what's attractive?

  • Are any of the characters in this show good role models? If so, who? What qualities are important to you in a role model? Who are some of your role models?

  • What role does stereotyping play in entertainment? How do writers use stereotyping for comedy? Are there instances in which this type of content isn't funny? Can stereotyping ever teach a lesson?

TV details

Premiere date:January 28, 2004
Cast:Christina Rodriguez, Dan Green, Liza Jacqueline
Network:Nickelodeon
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Friendship
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Teen, 15 years old Written byA-Deadly-Serenade February 3, 2013

Bad influence? You're kidding, right?

This show is a bad influence? Haha, oh gosh... If you people only have problem with how the girls are proportioned, then the show clearly isn't as bad as few of you claim it to be. The girls are drawn slightly skinny, yes, but that is just the style of the show. Yes they are a bit on the skinny side, but at least they don't have large breasts and wear practically nothing at all. (Like most women/teens are portrayed in animes) The girls hardly wear anything as revealing as few of you claim. Sure they show their bellies once-in-awhile, but at least their clothes are tasteful. Tecna hardly reveals anything; same goes for Musa, Layla, Flora and Bloom. (Stella tends to wear strapless dresses but, is isn't that bad) The most revealing outfits they wear are there Sophix and Lovix outfits and those are shown in one episode. Big deal. The girls are not self-centered and do not only care about boys and their reputations. Each member of the Winx sends out their own positive message and the characters themselves are not vain and do not obsess over boys. (Stella maybe, but that's about it) Tecna is smart and cares very much about her studies and being successful in life; Layla is strong willed and doesn't let a difficult task bring her down or discourage her from why she's trying to accomplish; Musa enjoys the arts and music, being creative and supporting creativity; Flora loves nature and tries showing this in mainly all the episodes she's in—reinforcing that we should and love and appreciate the Earth we have; Bloom is a leader and believes in trusting your friends and believing in yourself; even Stella sticks up for her friends and shows that beauty isn't everything. I also like how the show incorporated real-life situations. Stella's parents are divorced; Bloom was adopted; Musa's mother passed away—all very real situations that an audience of teen girls can relate too. (Some more than others) I know that Stella's situation will be the most relatable and I like that they added this hint of reality into the show. I for one, respect Stella's character more due to this. She struggles throughout season one dealing with her parents being apart. She loves them both equally and really feels awful that they separated; she even blaming herself at times. And what's wrong with a little romance? The girls are teenagers so they are bound to have a love interest. They hardly even kiss throughout the series so I don't see what the problem is. (Plus, when season five came around, the girls were already in their 20's so...there shouldn't be a problem with hugs and kisses) This show isn't a bad influence and if you still think so, you might as well take Barbie away for driving a convertible; take Pokémon away for promoting 'animal' fighting; and take Harry Potter away for portraying evil and promoting sorcery.
Adult Written byChrisams August 20, 2010

Great for Tweens

For a show aimed at Tweens (9-14+), Winx Club is right on the mark. The character design is distinctive, colourful and girly, other reviewers have pointed out the "sexualised" nature of the characters, but I disagree there - I don't see it as any more sexist than Barbie, Bratz or any other kids show. The actual characters themselves are all generally likable, which by comparison to many other shows actually have some depth - as far as them being role models is concerned, they're not any worse than most other kids shows, giving them longterm boyfriends (some of them are engaged) rather than flings was a great idea, im my opinion - it re-enforces the ideals of marriage and lasting relationships. Comparable shows would be W.I.T.C.H, Transformers or He-Man. Your kids could do a lot worse than watch this show.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 5 year old Written byTahiti1 February 18, 2012

Fabulous example of "Girl Superhero's"

Let me quickly start by saying that a small part of me agrees with some of the other reviewers that this show's boyfriend/girlfriend element is not necessary for younger kids, but I don't think it was made for super young kids anyway. That said, I do believe that its strengths completely outweigh this aspect for younger kids - not to mention the fact that the 'boyfriend' element is really pretty benign in that they generally refer to each other as friends and there is very little physical touching or sappy love talk. Now, that being said, we are pretty strict as to what we allow our children to watch and at face value perhaps would not have introduced this show to our 5 year old just yet if we were just flipping thru channels. HOWEVER, we were struggling to find a positive female superhero role model for our daughter, who was beginning to believe that only boys could be strong and fight evil and that girls were only supposed to sit back and be 'lovely' or 'cute' but were not strong and had to 'be saved'. Our daughter attends a school where most of the kids are boys (not sure why), but she was having trouble finding a "girl superhero" that she could pretend to be who was acceptable to the boys that she plays with. The boys had declared that there were no such thing as girl superhero's because there were no shows, or anything else for that matter, to depict them. We of course disputed this with her, as we all know that there are indeed girl superhero's. However, upon reflection from today's 5 year old perspective, looking at shows available to them, movies, toys, room decor, etc., they are right. There is very little depiction of wonder woman, bat girl, spider girl, etc. anywhere to be found these days. Winx Club is really a wonderful show that not only illustrates that individuals have different strengths, but emphasizes respect, acceptance and kindness. It depicts a group of girls who are each from different 'worlds' and backgrounds - some princesses, some not - who come together at school to form the Winx Club. They are at this school to learn how to develop their powers and yes, do look like Barbies that transform to Fairy's, but they are all very different in both looks, personality and strengths. To me, they are what I would call "classical" teenagers, where they spend their free time giggling, shopping, grabbing pizza and having sleepovers - there is very little thought to modern teenage drama surrounding hurtful gossip, cell phones, & facebook. The girls can only earn greater power by doing selfless things for others and are provided guidance by a kind, yet strong, older woman who is their school director. The girls all respect that fact that they come from different backgrounds and support this in each other. They also recognize and respect the fact that they each have different powers and never display envy or selfishness in believing any other girl and/or her power is any more or less important that any others. They also recognize the value in teamwork and trust, and that each of their powers is necessary to ultimately defeat the evil Valtor. Their 'boyfriends' also have some power, but tend to provide more of a support/partner element to the girls - and are completely fine with their roles. This show provides girls (and boys) of all ages the message that its OK for girls to be leaders and team players; to have great strength, yet acknowledge that we all have weaknesses; to work hard at achieving something, yet sometimes fail; to befriend others from different backgrounds and not only accept them for who they are, but to find value in each others differences; it teaches the importance of giving of yourself, of friendship, trust, courage and communication. This show is has been wonderful for our daughter, in that its helped her begin to define who she is as a girl, a friend, and a 'superhero'. :)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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