The Issues with CAOS and Fate: Winx Saga

The Issues with CAOS and Fate: Winx Saga

In Netflix’s Original series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, lots of chilling things can be seen. Ghouls, freaks, witches, warlocks, literal Satan – and yet, somehow, the scariest thing can be found in the repetitive accounts of subliminal racism and cultural appropriation. The sad thing isit’s not exclusive to just this one show. It’s not even exclusive to just in the shows themselves. Which is why The Blue and White took to asking students how they felt about it. However, context is needed to fully understand what ‘subliminal racism’ and cultural appropriation can even define. Spoilers ahead for CAOS season four and Winx Sage season one. 

In Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, there are tons of examples of Satanism, Paganism, and other religious cultures. Despite common beliefs, the term witchcraft is actually Christocentric in origin, having been coined to demonise religious practices that were non-Christian. Rather than doing research on the topic, the show prefers to turn a blind eye to indigenous practices – using the Christocentric terms and beliefs. If it was purely satire, as the first season covers, it wouldn’t have been an issue. However, in the coming seasons, the topics of paganism practiced by nymphomaniacs of European descent came up. This was extremely offensive to indigenous culture, because it demonized their practices and beliefs after years of them trying to recover from said subjugation. 

A specific character of CAOS, Mambo Marie, is depicted as a spiritual Haitian woman, but id depicted with a non-creolized accent, as well as a deep-seated stereotypical psychic and ‘witch doctor.’ Outside of the showblack actress Tati Gabrielle came forward to explain that she was the stylist behind Prudence Blackwood’s iconic hairstyle.  On it’s own, this wasn’t necessarily a problem. However, many black actresses came out explaining that they too had to style their own hair, because of white hair stylists not knowing how to style natural hair. 

ThenWinx Saga was released. Winx Saga, to those out of the loopis a show based on the hit early 2000s tv show Winx Club. While some of the most noticeable differences are that Winx Club is animated and for a significantly younger audience, one may notice that two of three people of color on the original character set were replaced by white passing actresses. When questioned about why, the writers explained that they felt Terra (the cast’s replacement of the latina character, Flora) would be better suited to be played by an overweight character. In the show itself, the only person of color is constantly portrayed as revolving around the main character. This can be seen as an issue because not only was representation removed, but the lasting representation is portrayed exclusively in helping another white character. 

student of color at Apopka high school has explained his stance on the subject or subjects. “…this stems back to the Jim Crow Era. As the country began to industrialize and black people began entering the workforce, we were met with all kinds of hostility styles like deads, braids, afros, and curls, in general, were shunned and persecuted… So black hair, to mainstream America, doesn’t need to be studied or invested in because white hair is [their] default.” He continues on by explaining,“Look at Marie’s character, she should be a really diverse person. However, she ultimately seems like what we typically see psychics and mystics as, a joke Mambo Marie only gives [Americans] more reason not to take Haiti seriously… To me, this was the biggest letdown of the show.” In response to Winx Saga, he testifies, “There is a group of people who dislike the addition of marginalized communities in mainstream media… These decisions make being a minority a trivial and tradable experience. None of these decisions are meaningful and really just shows us that Hollywood is only doing this, so [that] they can’t be called racist for favoring white actors/actresses.” And finally, as an ending reply to the question of what can be done to fix all of this, he replies“Effort. All it takes are people who are willing Racism sells in any form, so it’ll take really genuine people who are willing to forgo some of that profit to portray these humans in meaningful ways.

Cason Nadler, a student at Apopka high school, explains his views on the matter. “I don’t think anyone would think that deeply about [Chilling Adventures of Sabrina], so I don’t believe it really matters.” He continues by explaining, “Get [them] to do their own hair or get a new stylist. When asked about the specifics of the Winx Saga and his opinions on ithe states, “I don’t think its that deep of a problem, nor do I believe it really needs to be fixed.” When asked how he would fix things, he said, “There is a major lack of Asian and Jewish people in acting. Put more people in acting from a young age.” 

Another anonymous person of color at Apopka High School, though having not seen CAOS or Winx, states that, “White washing and colorism happen in Hollywood all the time traditionally black hair and hairstyles have been deemed ‘unruly’ and ‘unprofessional, so the industry has made no attempt in dealing with it, or styling it. He goes on to say, “I haven’t seen the show, so I can’t answer 100% informed [but] … it could lead others to assume people of Haitian descent have ‘odd’ or ‘demonic’ beliefs. In reply to the Winx Saga questions, he examines, “I assume they wanted to do the right thing and promoted body positivity since the original Winx club did only showcase skinny characters. In the new one, … they could’ve simply introduced a new character to further promote diversity instead of replacing a character of color. In conclusion, he adds, “The first steps would be to get more diversity on screen.”