If you’re not familiar with Winx Club, just imagine My Little Pony x Barbie x 10 or just look at the picture above to start tripping. It’s an Italian animated TV show that centres around a group of female faeries and their magical adventures that’s been shown on Nickelodeon here in the States. The animation is average and the plots leave a bit to be desired, but on the whole, it’s a fun show in the same vein as DiC’s finest output.
Anyway, what brought the show a bit further to the top of my attention is a post over on the Escher Girls tumblelog that discusses a series of miniature figurines of the stars of the show that are being rolled out by Kinder, the brand of chocolate owned by Italian company Ferraro. The figurines themselves are below (you can click to get the full size):
Via: Escher Girls
The Escher Girls’ post discusses their poses in the context of supposed sexyness. However, there is something else that bothers me, and that is the fact that for the first time, the Kinder eggs are being genderised. That is to say, they are being classified through the oh-so-original use of pink on the packaging.
Well that’s subtle, isn’t it? Anway, the real insult is in the reason found at this site [in German]. It says:
Der Grund für diese Maßnahme? Erkenntnisse der Markforschung inspirierten kinder Überraschung dazu. Die besagen, dass sich Mädchen heutzutage nicht mehr in nur eine Schublade stecken lassen. Pink und Ponyhof ist ihnen genau so wichtig, wie Fußball und Frauenpower. Eigene Erhebungen haben diesen Trend bestätigt.
Or as a poor Google translation:
The reason for this action? Knowledge of market research inspired kids to surprise. Which state that girls today can no longer be stuck in only one drawer. Pink and ponies [for] them [are] just as important as football and girl power. [Our] own surveys have confirmed this trend.
Hmm, so basically the survey says girls like this stuff so it must be true, right? Well, things get even more blatant in the following paragraph:
Ob Blumen-Ringe oder bunte Armbänder mit Tiermotiven – das Basissortiment des Mädchen-Eies hält genauso klassische „Mädchensachen“ bereit, wie auch aktivierende Spielzeuge zum Werfen, Spielen und Malen, Puzzeln und Basteln. Genau die Vielfalt also, die sich die Mädchen von heute wünschen. Und genau die Bandbreite, die Mädchen mädchengerecht anspricht und deren Individualität fördert.
And an even poorer Gooogle translation:
Whether flower rings or bracelets with colorful animal designs – keeps the basic range of the girl-egg just classic “girl stuff”, as were activated for throwing toys, games and painting, puzzles and crafts. Exactly the variety that the girls of today want. And just the range, [the] responsive girl needs [to] promote their individuality.
Riiiiiight, so giving them girly things that will encourage them to promote their individuality. Hmmm.
So what’s the real issue here? Is it the fact that Kinder have decided to split their audience? Is it the likely decision to accept a co-pro deal in order to do so? Or is it the fact that toys from saccharine shows like Winx Club couldn’t possibly be seen as as desirable to anyone except little girls?
The answer is really a combination of all of them. Kinder, as long established as it is, should know better, especially given the backlash against Lego and their attempt to market a line of girl-oriented sets. And animation studios, like Winx’s producer, Rainbow, should be less inclined to create shows that are so restricted in their possible appeal.
The Hub was all too lucky with My Little Pony and it would be sad if that was a fluke. There are plenty of common themes that can be explored in kids shows and there is little reason for a show like Winx to be so heavily biased. Kinder has no excuses whatsoever though.