I have a love-hate relationship with “The Bold Type.”
As a young woman, I love watching the main characters’ glamorous lives unfold. As a student journalist, I hate how the show misrepresents journalists as self-serving bloggers whose heavy-hitting stories come easily.
Despite my problems with the show, I’m hooked. I cannot stop watching every single ridiculous moment, and when season three episode one arrived on Hulu this week after airing on Freeform on Tuesday, April 9, I just had to drop everything and watch it.
“The Bold Type” is about three young women, Jane (Katie Stevens), Kat (Aisha Dee) and Sutton (Meghann Fahy), who work at a fictional women’s magazine, Scarlet. The women navigate their careers and complicated personal lives while dazzling in fabulous outfits and attending glitzy parties in full-length ball gowns borrowed from the publication’s fashion closet.
Their outfits are always on point, their love lives complicated, and the issues they tackle are in line with social justice movements. The last item on the list is where things get dicey, in my opinion.
One of the biggest issues the show tackles is sexual assault. In season one episode 10, Jane, the writer of the trio, works on an article about a performance artist who stands in Central Park holding two weights in her hands. The weights represent the metaphorical weight the woman carries as a sexual assault survivor.
Jane is urged by Jacqueline (Melora Hardin), editor-in-chief of Scarlet, to dig deeper as she writes the story, which upsets Jane because she thinks she’s competent as a writer. In the end, viewers learn Jacqueline is also a survivor of sexual assault when she shows up in Central Park to take the weights from the performance artist and holds them herself.
The image is powerful. It’s thought-provoking, and it highlights the struggle survivors face when sharing their story. It was an excellent ending to the season. What I didn’t like with this story line happened in season two episode six when Jane is nominated for a journalism award and is essentially given credit for starting the #MeToo movement before it actually started in real life.
The show should tackle social issues, but they should do it in a way that stays consistent with reality and does not give a fictional publication credit for an important, real-world movement. The award storyline combined with Jane’s other “journalist” moments are where I have a real problem with the show.
“The Bold Type” tries to portray Jane as a heavy-hitting, aspiring political journalist. Journalists are supposed to serve the public, not themselves. So many of Jane’s stories are self-serving and seem more in line with what a blogger would write.
Arguably, this article is self-serving for me because I’m writing about a show I like, but I did not start watching the show with a preformed opinion or take on the article with a chip on my shoulder.
Jane frequently writes with a view point already in mind, such as in the latest episode where she’s tasked with writing a profile on Scarlet’s new digital editor, Patrick Duchand (Peter Vack). Upset a woman’s publication hired a man to run digital, Jane sets out to dig up dirt to make Duchand look bad.
In the end, she discovers he’s not a bad person, but as a journalist, whether he was bad or not shouldn’t have mattered. She should’ve been dedicated to finding the facts, both good and bad, because being a journalist is about sharing the truth with the public, not about digging up dirt to serve yourself.
Despite its faults, “The Bold Type” is worth watching because it’s about three young women crushing their careers and chasing their dreams. Kat is a social media superstar and Sutton is an aspiring fashion designer who bet on herself. Jane has her faults, but combined, the three are what I as a young woman dream to be: as bold as the typeface in a women’s magazine.