Be Bold with The Bold Type

Darren Star, famously known for producing original binge-worthy series like Sex and the City, Bevery Hills, 90210, Younger, and most recently, Emily in Paris, has once again won me over with a new favorite show of mine, The Bold Type. Yep, he did it again! The Bold Type follows relatable and empowered female protagonists who attempt to balance their chaotic professional lives with their intimate dating lives – and, you know, dismantle the patriarchy in the meantime. 

I often partake in the common, albeit shameful, habit of scrolling through Instagram while watching TV, but not with The Bold Type! It’s not an exaggeration when I say this show captures every ounce of my attention. 

The Bold Type follows three female, millennial protagonists – Jane Sloan, Kat Edison, and Sutton Brady – who work for Scarlet, a women’s magazine in New York City. They each teach a unique lesson about sexual liberation and female empowerment. One of my favorite progressive elements of the show – one that Star also explores in Emily in Paris – is its openness about sex and other “taboo” topics. The show offers a safe space to explore and think. 

In a fast-paced, social media driven society, it’s both challenging and exciting for young women to find their passions, purposes, and voices, all while managing to carve a successful career path for themselves. Watching the female protagonists navigate their way through the usual workplace obstacles and confront often tricky and hilariously awkward encounters with their significant others teaches us a lot about the path toward a rewarding relationship. Their authenticity forces us to evaluate whether we’re pursuing our genuine passions and being our true selves and prompts us to re-evaluate why if not. 

*Spoilers ahead!*

Jane, a writer for Scarlet, focuses on expressing her voice by immersing herself in uncomfortable situations. In one episode, Jane reluctantly volunteers to check out a sex club, hoping she will feel comfortable enough to explore her own sexuality and write a story that will encourage others to do the same. She puts herself in an uncomfortable situation in order to grow both as a writer and as a woman, a lesson for all of us to follow, even if we don’t necessarily go to a sex club... 

Another time the show tackles a difficult topic is when Jane discovers she has the BRCA gene, a genetic mutation that increases her chance of developing breast cancer. This storyline reveals a brutal and vulnerable reality many women experience. Instead of glossing over the health concern, the show really focuses on the effect it has on Jane’s daily life as well as the toll it takes on her once worry-free relationship. The show gets raw and real, and I’m here for it.

Another highlight that got fans talking is Kat’s exploration of her racial and sexual identity as well as her realization that she's bisexual. The show explores the complex realities of dating and the importance of being open-minded, which end up being infinitely rewarding for Kat. A pivotal encounter that forces her to be unapologetically herself is when a male bartender she’s romantically interested in suggests that she use a strap-on to “peg him.”

I’ll be the first to admit that this made me a little uncomfortable, but then I realized that’s precisely what makes the show so valuable. It directly addresses taboo topics that make us uncomfortable, but encourage us to think more openly. I mean, hey, we need to leave judgement at the door here…you can’t knock it till you try it!

While Jane and Kat are working through their problems, Sutton’s narrative follows her sexy, steamy, and VERY secret relationship with a company board member. She goes to great lengths to hide her modern day forbidden love story until it becomes too real to keep secret. Even though being romantically involved with this man could cost her her dream job, she sticks with her gut and shoots her shot.

While I’m not advocating everyone carelessly ask their co-worker out on a romantic date (I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t end too well nowadays!), I do think that Sutton’s story offers a valuable perspective – if you’re sure of what you want, you have to go for it. And sometimes, figuring out what genuinely makes you the happiest, especially if it’s against the rules, is the hardest part. So, note to self, figure out what you really want and go for it. Period. 

What I love about this show is that the iconic trio behaves authentically in every decision they each make, asserting their power and breaking down traditional gender roles one step at a time. Watching them be unapologetically themselves prompts us to ask ourselves what - or who - we really want.