The Bold Type

Date Tue, August 15 2017

The Bold Type is a new show on Freeform (formerly ABC family) about three women in their 20s who work at a fashion magazine known as Scarlet: Jane (new journalist), Sutton (aspiring fashion designer currently working as an assistant) and Kat (social media maven). The three women form a fierce friendship in NYW as they navigate work, social media, dating and feminism.

Sound familiar? Well, sort of. I mean, it’s easy enough to compare The Bold Type to any TV show starring a few lady friends. But it’s been a while since we’ve had one of those or, at the very least, since I tuned in. But 2017 is a different year. Sometimes it feels like a different world.

But 2017 is a different year. Sometimes it feels like a different world. People own their feminism loudly as Kat does in this show. Women are strong and know that sometimes the world is sexist and unfair and they have to play by a man’s rules even if it’s unfair. This is perfectly exemplified by the strong material character who is the owner of Scarlet. At times, their boss Jaqueline seems like a mentor similar to Kat Grant in Supergirl.

The Bold Type isn’t just feminist because it features multiple women: it screams it. And I like that.

Of course, not everyone will. Some people will just want to run in for the fashion, the steamy sex scenes and the gossip. You’ll find all of this in The Bold Type, but the script has been updated since shows like Sex and the City, which was more faux-menism than feminism at times.

The Bold Type isn’t perfect, either. It’s unrealistic, and I frequently find myself feeling frustrating toward the characters who at once seem naive and entitled and more fortunate than anyone I’ve ever met in real life. As you’d expect, they’re all thin and beautiful. But while The Bold Type might not look like it’s breaking ground on the outside, watching for a few moments highlights something deeper and more purposeful. The Bold Type seems to be created with an intent that you cannot deny.

I mentioned Supergirl as another show that has feminist leanings. The analogy comes easily because characters in both shows work at a magazine. The Bold Type does more to touch on how magazines are affected by the digital age while Supergirl seems to have a more diverse cast overall (so far we’ve seen a queer POC and a lesbian Muslim in this show, and there’s room to expand). The Bold Type has more sex and fewer superheroes but that’s to be expected.

This new show reminds me of another dramedy that I once enjoyed: Ugly Betty. Of course, The Bold Type makes no attempt to hide how attractive — and perhaps unrealistic — the main characters are. Ugly Betty also has more soap opera-esque elements while The Bold Type remains a bit more realistic. And I hope it continues to be a show that portrays fantasy as plausible rather than a fantastic reality that could never exist.

I can’t imagine that The Bold Type would attract many (straight) male viewers. Some of them might even object. The show has already talked about the very real issues of doxxing, sexism in the tech industry, anti-Muslim sentiment, just to name a few. Although few of these subjects get as much attention as I think they deserve, I am glad that The Bold Type discusses them at all.

If you don’t have Freeform, you can watch The Bold Type on Hulu, which I have been doing.

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