The Bold Type tends to turn gender representation into a battle of the sexes. Episode 6 is a perfect example of this.
Women make the decisions that matter while the men end up being the ones ignored even when they have valid points. For example, Sutton misplaced a valuable pendant that she borrowed from a fellow assistant of another company. Richard, Sutton’s forbidden lawyer boyfriend, advises her to come clean about the missing necklace strictly based on his legal expertise. Sutton ignores his advice, and Richard is left watching things unfold from the sidelines. Because this is a TV show, everything falls in to place so that Sutton gets back the pendant and is vindicated in her decision to dismiss Richard. If this were real life where things don’t always work out so rosily, not taking Richard’s advice would likely have been a tremendous mistake. The show glosses over these kinds of alternatives because women are right and men are wrong. Although I am all for women empowerment, the show could afford to work a little harder to strike a balance between how each gender is represented. Within the same episode, Kat is on a rampage to “take down the patriarchy” through a free the nipple social media campaign. She justifies her actions as fueling women empowerment and breast cancer awareness, but with Jacqueline’s wise words, she realizes that her fight was less about the cause and more about winning. Kat’s actions were stemmed in her need for control. Everything really comes down to power.
Kat, Sutton and Jane make many impactful decision that affect the course of their individual lives and the supporting characters around them, but Jacqueline is a sun so massive that its impossible for them to escape her gravitational pull. Although Jacqueline exudes power, the looming male force of the executive board eclipses her power. In spite of the limitations of her control, no one can question that Jacqueline is the boss. Often times women in such positions of power are seen as cold, calculating and bossy which aligns with what Jane says to Jacqueline in a fit of fury. Jacqueline invites Jane to see the other side of her which is when the show reveals that Jacqueline has a husband and two sons. Typically such a thing wouldn’t serve as a twist or a surprise in any capacity, but in all the preceding episodes Jacqueline was only shown as the woman in charge. The show establishes Jacqueline as a boss first and a wife and mother second as a weapon against gender roles. In traditional gender roles, women are supposed to be wives and mothers first otherwise they are neglecting their families for their careers. Being a good mother and wife and being a career women are not mutually exclusive. Jacqueline is a boss at work and at home. Likewise, every episode Jacqueline somehow manages to be the girls’ biggest critique and biggest cheerleader which just goes to show women can do it all.