It’s been more than 15 years since Carrie Bradshaw and her pink tutu skirt were introduced to TV, but Pinterest boards and fashion blogs still love to make references to Sex and the City.
In a similar way, Freeform’s The Bold Type focuses on the female friendships between Jane, Sutton, and Kat, three women who work at a fashion magazine in New York and highlights important conversations that women today should be having. However, it includes certain important differences that anchor it in our fast-paced, modern-day world.
Sexuality is fluid and sometimes confusing
In Season 1, Kat firmly identifies as straight, until she meets a photographer at work and begins to question her sexuality.
In 2019, conversations around sexuality and its nuances have become much more commonplace than in the early 2000s. While Sex and the City did include characters who were LGBTQ, they were not main characters, and the show never fully explored what their lives were like.
A focus on career and work relationships
When the audience meets Sutton, she is unsure about pursuing a relationship in the office for fear of how it may reflect poorly on her professionally. This internal struggle is a constant theme throughout the first two seasons, as Sutton tries to prove her worth is not tied to any other relationships and tries to keep her personal and work relationships separate.
While Sex and the City’s Miranda also struggled to juggle the demands of her work life and new relationships, it was portrayed in a more negative light, rather than fully dissecting how different women attempt to juggle both.
Credit: Grazia Daily
The high cost of living in New York as a writer
There have been numerous articles arguing whether Carrie’s apartment, closet, and spending habits were realistic for a columnist in New York at the time. Regardless of how you look at it, Carrie was pretty bad with her money habits. The show painted a glossy picture of what life was like in New York; Megan Daum’s essay “My Misspent Youth” paints another picture of the consequences of living like Carrie.
In The Bold Type, money is commonly discussed, as each character has a different situation. Sutton’s relationship with money is more complex because of her experiences with her mom’s spending habits growing up, while Kat has never had to worry about money. Sutton and Jane live together for a while, with Sutton living in the living room in Jane’s studio apartment, and the characters frequently have conversations about money and the power it has. This portrays a more realistic example of what life may be like for post-grad writers trying to make it in New York City.
Credit: The Atlantic
Social media and the choices it forces us to make
Granted, social media wasn’t as omnipresent in the early 2000s as it was today, with Facebook just starting in 2004 and Instagram in 2010, so it’s understandable that Sex and the City doesn’t address this.
However, social media is frequently discussed in The Bold Type in various ways: characters are given job interviews due to their social media presences, Kat is the social media manager and has to make several tough decisions, as the magazine’s print and web departments often clash over deadlines and bylines. As social media and digital convergence are both constants in the publishing industry, the show’s portrayal is another way it updates Sex and the City’s general premise.
Though The Bold Type has its fair share of soapy, romantic storylines and glamorous clothes, it also makes it a point to include intentional conversation starters. The show often weaves in current issues, such as immigration, race, and women’s’ reproductive rights, in a seamless way that extends beyond the show itself.