Freeform’s The Bold Type is assuredly a classic interpretation of three female best friends struggling to make their way through their early adulthood. However, the show has gained much popularity due to its increased modernism and forwardness. (I mean, look at its name.)
The relationships, personalities, and decisions of Jane, Sutton, and Kat dominate the show’s storyline with as they work at the fictional women’s magazine Scarlet. Though the three women work in the same building, each has her own respective struggles that she must overcome, and this focus on their differences builds a strong, diversified viewership. The show rarely places focus on characters other than the three women and their romantic interests or professional jobs. For this reason, it has established itself as a concrete medium for the portrayal feminism in the working world.
Even within the first episode, it is evident that the show solely focuses on the female gender. Topics from relationship drama and falling outs to fashion expertise and upward mobility struggles draw in predominantly young, female audiences by providing them with relatable themes. Male characters exist heavily in the background of the show; they are always seen to either submiss to female characters’ decisions or act as an obstacle that blocks the females’ progress.
However, the audience has yet to be introduced to a nonbinary or trans character (as of S1E8, that is). Non-heterosexual topics are addressed as the show monitors the workings of Kat’s personal life, but this seems to be the only insight into the existence of LGBTQIA+ themes on the show.
Kat is seen to first question her sexuality upon befriending Adena, a lesbian photographer who challenges Muslim stereotypes. The show focuses on the slow establishment of their relationship, and it has gained immense accreditation for outright ignoring television’s norms of not discussing homosexuality-dependent conversation topics (Gilchrist).
Despite a lack of characters whose sexualities and gender identities differ from those most visible in television in general, the focus on an openly bisexual character is a step in the right direction. The Bold Type has room for further recognition of more gender identities and sexualities, but its work so far has provided a good starting place. Its focus on women, especially those of the LGBTQIA+ community, makes it a top contender for primetime television.
Gilchrist, Tracy E. “The Bold Type’s Frank Oral Sex Talk is Breakout TV for Queer Women.” The Advocate, 18 June 2018, https://www.advocate.com/television/2018/6/18/bold-types-frank-oral-sex-talk-breakout-tv-queer-women.