Why “The Bold Type” Is More Than Just a Typical Show About 20-Something Women

“A woman's hands on the keyboard of a laptop in a café” by Christin Hume on Unsplash

I was waiting for it to be a Sex and the City & Gossip Girl type show. I was expecting a show based on relationships. Work relationships. Friendships. Sexual relationships.

But it was so much more than that.

The Bold Type according to Freeform is based on Cosmo. It features the challenging and exciting lives of those in the magazine industry. It took me a solid year to watch Season 1 and I’m glad I did.

For the first time, it’s a show that focuses on women and doesn’t revolve around dating. It doesn’t even revolve around the men at the office. It’s about women.


Far too often a typical storyline includes a woman, almost always a woman, having to choose between her career and relationship. How often do we see her choose the man?

Some prime examples:

How I Met Your Mother — Robin & Don
Glee — Rachel & Finn 
Gossip Girl — Chuck & Blair 
The Devil Wears Prada 
Mona Lisa Smile 
Twilight
The Princess and The Frog

Up until the 70’s, Ireland had laws preventing married women from working.

It’s a common trope because it happens in real life all the time. I just wrote about churches asking women to ditch their careers for motherhood and being a stellar wife.

It’s easy to say women should ditch their careers for love because women have been doing it for centuries.

What’s refreshing about The Bold Type is that women are choosing careers. In this clip, Sutton breaks up with her boyfriend because of the potential harm the relationship can do to her career.

She says something so valuable in this episode.

“But I am putting my money down on my career and believing love will fall into place.”

When Sutton picks career over boyfriend she chooses herself.

We, especially millennial women, can take a lesson from Sutton and start choosing ourselves more. We need to decide if we want to travel, stay at a job or start something new, a relationship, move cities, etc. We get to decide for ourselves.

The choice is never wrong when you choose yourself.


I promise at some point I’ll discuss Season 1 but Season 2 is so fresh in my mind.

In Season 2, Sutton goes out on a limb to hire Kat’s girlfriend, Adeena for a photo shoot even though their styles do not match.

Considering the theme of the issue, Sutton decides to embrace the flaws for the shoot instead of the original idea (candy as a backdrop for jewelry).

The episode is all about body positivity. There’s even a segment of this episode where the Editor has to deal with a board member who is not supportive of the body positivity movement.

It’s a breath of fresh air on television. I loved that Freeform decided to show the positive sides and how women are embracing the movement and how some are not.


Identity is huge in this show.

Kat goes through quite a few identity issues throughout the two seasons.

In Season 1, we see Kat attracted to the aforementioned Adena. Kat, until this point in time, has always identified herself as a straight woman. Her attraction to Adena is confusing and continues to be confusing through Season 2. After Kat makes a bold move and follows Adeena so they can be together and later return to New York, Kat has some issues with her sexuality.

After kissing another woman, Adena does what is best for Kat and offers her an open relationship so Kat can explore her sexuality more. +1 for Adena here.

Kat also struggles during Season 2 with her racial identity. After scoring a MAJOR promotion, she is asked to submit her bio as she is now a department head. She struggles hard. A co-worker suggests she add to her bio that she is the first black female department head. The struggle is beyond real as she has a white mother and a black father. It takes some serious soul-searching and conversations with her parents to determine what to do.

Jane also struggles with identity. In Season 2, she meets her boyfriend, Ben. Honestly, I forget he’s there sometimes because the show isn’t about boyfriends. Ben is a Christian and Jane is not. Ben’s identity as a Christian proves to be a real struggle for Jane as she grapples with her own issues of religion. She considers splitting with Ben because of how he identifies himself.

The show takes a real look at how we define ourselves and how that impacts not only how we see ourselves but our own personal relationships.


Gun issues 🔫.

Season 2 dives into gun issues when Jane finds Sutton’s gun, Betsy.

Jane is incredibly anti-gun and Sutton doesn’t see the need to punish her for what other people have done.

Sutton and Jane have the discussion about people killing people v the availability of a gun and what the intention behind the gun is.

It’s a very real, raw and emotional conversation from both sides of the argument. It’s great to see a civil but passionate conversation between two women on screen.

Photo by Antonio Grosz on Unsplash

#MeToo

The way The Bold Type is tackling the issue of sexual assault is spectacular. Season 1 deals with Jacqueline (the Editor of the magazine) and her own assault story. It took her decades to come forward after an attack at work by a colleague.

Jacqueline’s story, written by Jane, put Jane up for an award in Season 2 and Jane was asked to write a follow-up. In her research, Jane comes across a woman who worked in the same company as Jacqueline years later. She was assaulted by the same man and felt some anger and resentment toward Jacqueline for not speaking up.

This hit me hard. You can find my own story later but let’s say this idea hit me hard. It’s so important for women to speak up but it’s also difficult. I thought it was so amazing to see a show cover both sides. Seeing how your story can impact others in both positive and negative ways was so vital.

I feel like the #MeToo Movement has shown a lot of positivity. More people are stepping up because others had the courage to do so. But imagine, just for a second, the number of people who could have been spared had someone stepped up sooner. As someone who been assaulted, I’ve seen first hand how speaking out can change the lives of others.


Basically, I have a giant obsession with The Bold Type and for dern good reason.

If you aren’t watching The Bold Type yet, head on over to Hulu, your on-demand services, Freeform, etc. to catch up. New episodes every Tuesday at 8 PM EST.