Another Nex post? Yes. I said I’d talk about the boys’ love languages next (since I just talked about the Winx’s), but this has been bothering me and wanted to address it now.
I’m just gonna say it: Nex is the most misinterpreted character in Winx Club. Period. Most of the popular opinions don’t line up with Rainbow’s intentions. Some of them aren’t even canon.
I keep saying the fandom ignores Nex’s positive traits — and his purpose — and focuses on his flaws, exaggerates them, and even makes some up for him. The last misconception on this list is proof it’s gotten out of hand. Love him or hate him, I think you’ll be surprised.
I can’t cover all the misconceptions about him in one post. For now, I’ll talk about three of them.
1. He loves Aisha for her looks, because he wants to be better than her, for no reason, etc.
This one means Nex is shallow and has no real interest in Aisha. He pursued her for selfish reasons. One blogger said Nex just wanted to “prove he is the ultimate player,” but he fell in love with her along the way. (Since when is Nex a player? What has he done to earn that label? 😑)
The true reason he’s in love with her is right there in the show and supported by supplementary info. Remember that season six article with his character description in it? One of the lines said, “Nex rimarrà molto colpito dall’atteggiamento forte di Aisha e gradualmente s’innamorerà di lei…” Translation: “Nex will be very impressed by Aisha’s strong attitude and gradually fall in love with her…”
There you go. It wasn’t her beauty or for bragging rights. He fell in love with her personality.
Not enough proof? I point you to the first thing he said about her, “Wow! She’s no joke!” Or in the Italian version, “Wow! That girl means business!” He was impressed by how strong and no-nonsense she is.
Aisha’s season seven character book, released in Russia a year or so ago, also supports this. On one page, she says (my translation), “Self-confident and determined Nex appreciates my strong personality.”
TL:DR; According to Rainbow, Nex fell in love with Aisha’s strong personality, not her looks or athleticism.
2. He’s sexist/misogynist.
According to Tumblr, Nex has “a penchant for misogynist language.” The word penchant means “a liking for or a habit of doing something, esp. something that other people might not like.” He must have said a lot of misogynist things to earn that accusation, right?
I know where this is coming from, but it’s been taken out of context. In “Back in the Middle Ages” (S7, EP8), Nex said, “Just like a girl, insist things go their way, whether it makes sense or not.” No, I’m not gonna defend the line. I didn’t like it, either.
But the reason I say it’s out of context is because of something Stella said in the other Middle Ages episode, “The Fairy Cat” (S7, EP9): “Aren’t men in these times supposed to be knights in shining armor?” Then a few seconds later: “Centuries pass, but boys are always the same.”
Was Rainbow trying to show us that Nex and Stella are sexist? Of course not. I think the writers were doing another “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” parallel. Another recent one was Tecna and Timmy’s date prep in “A Perfect Date” (S5, EP21).
But Rainbow keeps forgetting that Nex is new. Stella can mostly get away with lines like that because we know her well. But when he says it, the fandom doesn’t think, “Huh? That was out of character.” Why? Because they don’t know what’s in character for him yet! So, they interpret it as a newly-discovered character trait — i.e., “This guy is sexist!”
But I think Nex’s line was out of character. Aisha loves to prove she’s just as good as him (or better), and he loves that about her! He responds by challenging her (which he knows she likes), teaming up with her because he’s confident in her, and encouraging her like any other ally.
If Rainbow wanted us to think he’s sexist/misogynist, then that behavior wouldn’t make sense for him. Why doesn’t the fandom consider the writers’ intentions when it comes to Nex? Why doesn’t anyone ask, “Is this really what Rainbow wants me to think about him?”
When Rainbow wants us to know a character is sexist/misogynist, they make it obvious. It’s practically the character’s whole identity. Case in point: Rainbow already got their “Aisha dates a misogynist” plot out of their system in comic #71, “Aisha’s Courage.” Her boyfriend, Silvan, treats her like garbage. He calls her “child,” gets jealous of her success, takes credit for her smart thinking, and suggests she couldn’t understand important matters because she’s a woman. Aisha breaks up with him at the end.
That’s Rainbow’s version of a sexist/misogynist guy. Nex is nothing like that. And before anyone says, “Neither was Riven, but he was misogynist” (you were thinking it, weren’t you?), Rainbow made it obvious in his case, too. In his season two profile, he flat out said, “I don’t trust girls.” His behavior and dialogue in the show reflected that.
TL:DR; No, Nex doesn’t have “a penchant for misogynist language.” (That was the only time he’s said something like that. Since when is one time a “penchant?”) Given what we know about him, we can assume that sexism/misogyny isn’t supposed to be part of his character.
3. He’s secretly a villain.
This is what I was talking about in the intro. Years of overloading the negative side of the opinion scale have led to this. Now Nex isn’t a hero anymore. He’s a villain in disguise. Some fans even compare him to real villains like Valtor and Darkar.
Let’s dissect this, shall we?
First of all, what is Nex’s motive? If he’s secretly a villain, he must have a reason he infiltrated the group. Don’t you think after two seasons, we’d have at least a hint what his evil plot is or who he’s working for?
Second, villains in Winx Club are pretty obvious, even when they’re incognito. Rainbow shows us scenes of the villain grinning at the screen behind the heroes’ backs, cursing flowers while the heroes aren’t looking, mixing homesickness potions in the middle of the night, etc. But Rainbow hasn’t done anything like that with Nex. In fact, when he has done something unpleasant, he’s done it in front of the heroes!
Wouldn’t he wanna be on his best behavior, so they wouldn’t be suspicious of him? If he is a villain, someone needs to remind him what “secret” means. He’ll sabotage his plan at this rate!
Finally, Nex has had some moments that might show a secret side of him, but they’re the opposite of what the fandom thinks. For example, remember the scene in “Winx Trapped!” (S7, EP11) where Squonk kissed him? Instead of getting mad (like you might expect a heartless villain to do), he melted.
Even Timmy was surprised. When Nex saw him staring at him, he made a muscle to try and play cool. Timmy didn’t seem to buy it, though.
Their reactions tell us a couple things. First, Timmy already thought of Nex as a guy who isn’t moved by mushy stuff. If Nex is secretly a villain, wouldn’t he want people to think he’s sensitive, since that’s a typical hero trait? But if Timmy didn’t think Nex was that sensitive, that means Nex hasn’t bothered trying to maintain a squeaky-clean image like a secret villain would.
Second, Nex wasn’t comfortable with Timmy seeing him act like that. Why? What if his tough guy side is just an act, and he really is more sensitive than he lets on? If so, why does he hide that side of himself? Is he just trying to be cool, or is there a deeper reason?
TL;DR: Rainbow hasn’t given us any reason to believe Nex is a villain, secretly or otherwise.
Something else the fandom says is Aisha would never date a “macho” guy (as they call Nex). First of all, why are they praising the idea that she should be judgmental and never see the good in a guy? (Or is just because they don’t see the good in him?) Second, a tough girl like her may be exactly what he needs. There’s a reason he’s attracted to her strong personality. Could it be because he knows he needs to be humbled?
I got a real-life example of this recently. My aunt and uncle came to visit a week or two ago. He’s my mom’s brother, and she and my aunt joked that he used to be macho — they actually said “macho,” and it’s partially because he was in the military — but he’s softened up somewhat since marriage. To be fair, I don’t know much about their relationship, but my aunt said she did a good job with him! 😂 (I hope they don’t read this. 😅)
Going back to Winx Club, I think there’s a fundamental problem with the couples. Most of them are made up of a flawed girl and a perfect or barely-flawed guy who acts as her emotional support, but has no room to grow as a person himself. Thus, he doesn’t gain anything from dating her. He’s just her cheerleader.
That’s not true love. It’s bad character writing and bad relationship writing. If one of the partners is shallow, the relationship is shallow. To quote the article “Writing Romance: Why Perfect Men Make Boring Heroes” from StandOutBooks.com, “If he’s already perfect, what’s left for the heroine to bring to his life?” And one more: “If a man has no room to grow when he meets the heroine, are they really meant to be together?”
Springhole.net has another article about shallow love interests (and best friends). It includes a list of common warning signs that a love interest (or best friend) is shallow. Unfortunately, all of the Winx’s boyfriends (including Nex) tick at least some of the boxes, but a few guys tick all of them. (I’d say the only guys who aren’t shallow at all are Sky and Riven. I’ll let you read it yourself.)
I think Nex has the potential to break out of the shallow love interest trap. Until then, the misconceptions will probably continue. My hope is Rainbow will give him a character growth arc and/or backstory in season eight. That might finally shed some light on what Rainbow intended for his character.