English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Author: Aaqila Faizer

The Importance of “Kadena” in The Bold Type

The Bold Type heavily focuses on the lives of three women, Kat, Sutton, and Jane. Therefore it’s no surprise that the majority of the show’s screen time is dedicated to women. However, the time and agency given to two of its minority actresses, Aisha Dee “Kat” and Nikohl Boosheri  “Adena”, make a significant contribution to the overall minority representation on screen today.

Some might question the importance of seeing people similar to them on television, however, representation is crucial for both younger generations and older generations. The Bold Type has contributed to a vastly empty representation sphere, young Muslim women specifically lesbian hijabis. While my life/personality is quite different from Adena my heart leaped when I saw her on screen, tears may or may not have been shed. I found it surprisingly satisfying to relate to Adena and realize how much I had been craving young Muslim representation on tv. It is important to note that The Bold Type was certainly unique with their characterization of Adena and did not make a cookie cutter stereotypically character, rather the show added multiple layers of individuality and complexity to Adena even though at first she was only a guest actor. The actor Nikohl Boosheri during an interview with Glamour stated that

“ If we were going to use pansexually and Islam and merge them together, it needed to feel real…with a character like this you are going to offend some people…I can only do my best to tell this one story.” – Nikohl Boosheri

Representation has a much greater impact when one person’s story is focused on rather than attempt to squeeze multiple stereotypes into one character’s story arc.

Kat’s story arc is also especially notable. The show spends a significant time developing Kat’s relationship with Adena and showing Kat’s path to understanding her sexuality. The show, in my opinion, did a great job representing coming out as an encouraging experience as opposed to a dark and upsetting process that is often emphasized in media. However, as one of the lead roles and a person of color, it was upsetting that The Bold Type, a show known to address relevant topics such immigration, seemly dismissed Kat’s race by never addressing it in season one. However, the show attempted to redeem itself in season two. The episode Rose Colored Glasses, allowed Kat to come to terms with her background while also creating a discussion about being biracial. The Bold Type is just one show in millions however they are helping to contribute to the hopefully expanding representation of women and minorities on screen.

adena and kat

Work Cited


Why the music in the Bold Type is Amazing

Music like all art has duality. The Bold Type takes advantage of this duality by using each song to add an extra depth of meaning/emotion to its scenes.

In the finale of season one, the song Quiet by MILAK plays as Jacqueline takes the weights from Mia. Everyone’s silent stance is contrasted against the music’s lyrics, “ I can’t stay quiet”. The repetition of this lyric implicitly reflects Jacqueline’s acceptance to share her story with others. In that same episode, the last scene the music choice reflects the overall theme of the show. While Kat embarks on a spontaneous journey across the world, Jane leaves Scarlett beginning her solo career, and Sutton is dealing with a complicated goodbye the song Living Out Loud by Brooke Candy evokes feelings of hopefulness for all three girls and encourages living life to the fullest by stating “Living out loud, is the only way I know how.”

Songs also play a part in foreshadowing, like during the scene in S1E6  when Kat seems to be causally texting Adena about getting a new idea. While the song Fire in Me by Julia Stone could emphasize the ignition of Kat’s new daring idea, it also helps foreshadow the spark between Adena and Kat’s relationship.

It is an important observation that all the songs used in The Bold Type have a positive vibe to them, the reason according to the show’s music supervisor, Rob is simply to reflect the overarching theme of the show, Empowerment. He mentions that even though there are sad moments, the show is more concerned with

highlighting the triumphs of overcoming the sadness… – Rob Lowry

Overall the songs in The Bold Type are carefully curated and play a significant role within each scene. They are not just background noise, but rather a way to foreshadow later scenes and emphasize the character’s thought process.

PS here is the official The Bold Type playlist for anyone who reads this blog post.


work cited:



How Shallow Depth of Field Builds Intimacy in the Bold Type

One constant element of The Bold Type is its use of shallow depth of field in nearly all of its shots. Many of the scenes in the show have a sharp focus on the characters while blurring out their surroundings. This film technique seems prominent in most tv shows today, but it specifically serves as an important tool in shaping The Bold Type’s overall premise. I was inspired to analyze The Bold Type’s use of shallow depth of field after watching a video essay by Evan Puschak of Nerdwriter on how The Handmaiden’s Tale uses shallow focus to convey the oppressive nature of Gilead. The Bold Type, likewise, not only uses shallow depth of field for aesthetic purposes but also to build intimacy within its character conversations. The show places a heavy emphasis on the daily details of its three lead women. While the show is set in the big city of New York, it is clear that the character’s lives are given a larger spotlight. Conversations are a huge factor in the show, and the use of shallow depth of field creates the illusion of a more intimate relationship between the viewer and the show’s characters. Character’s facial expressions and body language are given spotlight during a conversation. This extra focus helps draw the viewer into the discussion.

In the finale of season one of The Bold Type, Jane is tasked with writing a piece on a rape survivor’s art and activism. This episode is filled with deep conversations and plenty of extended close shots of the women talking.  During the final scene when Jacqueline takes the weights from Mia, the use of shallow depth of field is especially clear. Arguably it adds to the inspiring nature of the scene. Although the moment is between Mia and Jacqueline the focus still shifts from woman to woman. We see each woman’s facial expression at that moment, especially Jane’s. It’s a subtle effect, but this transition of focus works wonders within a show which revolves around character conversations. The shallow focus and the position of the camera cradled between the women’s’ shoulders gives the viewer a feeling of intimacy within the conversation. However, while the camera is constantly mobile, it remains looking over the women’s shoulders and never breaches their little circle, helping maintain a feeling of privacy within this crucial scene.

The camera looks over Sutton and Kat’s shoulders and focuses on Jane’s reaction to the moment.

The focus is on Jacqueline as she enters the circle.



Work Cited

Puschak, Evan. ” One Reason The Handmaid’s Tale Won Emmys Best Drama. ” Youtube, 31 August 2017, https://youtu.be/cY4aCnfrqss. 

How The Bold Type Writes About Tough Issues such as Gun Control

In the episode titled “Betsy”, Sutton Brady’s hidden shotgun is discovered by Jane Sloan. Pitched by writer Matt McGuinness the episode intended on showcasing two perspectives on the gun debate but according to the showrunner Amanda Lasher, aimed to approach the often polarized subject with a more personal stance (Britan).

“We felt really strongly about normalizing those conversations about gun ownership and taking it out of the political so we could make progress on this issue…“And as long as we stuck with our guiding light by doing it through the lens of the friendship and the girls’ experience, we thought we would be OK.” – Amanda Lasher ( showrunner )

The episode focused on writing parallel stories of Sutton’s reliance and safety behind her gun and Jane’s distrust and fear for guns. The Bold Type deliberately used a debate like setting by placing a meaningful dialogue between Sutton and Jane while using Kat, Ryan, and Jacqueline as moderators. This structure enables the audience to hear both sides of the argument while also understanding both the characters on an emotional level through the medium of their strong friendship ( that thankfully could not be broken by this debate).

Ryan’s conversation with Jane on this issue is one way the show draws parallels between Jane and Sutton’s differing stance on gun control. Ryan pitches the question, “What do you think will happen with her gun in your apartment?” to which Jane replies, “I am going to feel uncomfortable in my own apartment.” However, Ryan rebuking this statement by saying Jane’s argument is weak and encouraging Jane to try harder to understand Sutton’s viewpoint shifts the conversation back to Sutton’s perspective implicitly hinting that perhaps Sutton too will feel “uncomfortable” in her apartment without her gun.

Although the show often attempts to occur within our reality and while this episode name dropped plenty of current events such as the Parkland and Vegas mass shootings, the episode does not exploit these events. Rather than writing in a traumatic crisis to the storyline, the show explores the issue of gun control in a more small-scale angle through the relationships of its three best friends. It does not stray far from its characters. From having Sutton name her gun Betsy to explaining why Jane is so apprehensive about being near a gun, the show allows its characters to explore the topic of gun control in a more personal level.

Sutton showing Kat and Jane what she likes about skeet shooting

Work Cited

Bitran, Tara. “’The Bold Type’ Boss and Star on ‘Normalizing Conversations About Gun Control’.” Variety, Variety, 18 July 2018, variety.com/2018/tv/news/the-bold-type-gun-episode-sutton-1202872954/.

Women in Comedy/SNL

Ellithorpe, Morgan E., and Amy Bleakley. “Wanting to See People Like Me? Racial and Gender Diversity in Popular Adolescent Television.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence, vol. 45, no. 7, 2016, pp. 1426-1437. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1795436309?accountid=11107, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10964-016-0415-4.

The paper “Wanting to See People Like Me? Racial and Gender in Popular Adolescent Television” discusses the relationship between adolescent identity and racial and gender diverse television shows. The paper makes the argument that adolescents prefer watching television shows that have characters within their own identity group. It states that this might be due to adolescents seeking to use these characters to build their own identity. The paper conducts a study that compares black adolescents to nonblack adolescents and female adolescents to male adolescents and the diversity of the shows each group gravitates towards. Overall, television shows popular with black adolescents in comparisons to those popular with other racial groups tend to have more black characters. Likewise, popular shows among female adolescents tend to have more female characters than other shows. This paper is important in justifying our research about female representation in SNL episodes. Female representation in popular shows such as SNL impact the shows’ ratings as well as expands the type of audience that views the show.

Feeney, Nolan. “Why Aren’t There More Women On The Top-Earning Comedians List?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 11 July 2013, www.forbes.com/sites/nolanfeeney/2013/07/11/why-arent-there-more-women-on-the-top-earning-comedians-list/.

The article “Why aren’t there more women on the top earning comedians list” by Nolan Feeny examines some of the reasons why female comedians do not statistical seem successful in comparison to their male counterparts. The first reason the article argues is the difficulty of women comedians to appeal to male audiences due to dated assumptions that female comedians only talk about stereotypical female experiences such as shopping with their husbands. This strong stereotype reduces the amount of ticket sales female comedians can get. The article goes on to argue that female comedians make more of their income on television than from standup, therefore leading to the discrepancy. However, Feeny still points out that women also struggle to get a spot-on television, unless their comedic personality is especially bold and more masculine. The article also provides statistics as the cause of lack of top paying female comedians. Overall there are fewer female comedians in relation to male comedians, the article argues this is due to the hostile nature of the comedy industry for women. In regards to our research on women in SNL, this article can be helpful by giving us insight into why there is a discrepancy between the number of women and male comedians in the business.

Hester, Michael. “Yes, Female Writers Produce Funny Television.” The DataFace, 30 Aug. 2018, http://thedataface.com/2018/06/culture/comedy-writing-staffs

The article “Yes, Female Writers Produce Funny Television” examines the gender composition of television’s comedy writing staffs. The article provides multiple data sets from various shows and statistics about female writers in comedy to make the over arching argument that comedy shows are more relatable and successful when they have a more gender diverse writing staff. The article first provides data from Rick and Morty that shows the ratings during season three, after the introduction of more female writers, increase. Next the article examines how females are the minority in writing staffs.  On average eighty one percent of writing credits on TV comedies are attributed to males. The article goes on to discuss that the inclusion of more female writers will be more beneficial for TV shows. It supports this claim with more data from IMDd that shows a statistically significant improvement between episodes ratings written by a gender balanced writing team. Overall this article’s research will be helpful for us when constructing our own research question. It provides us with useful statistics about comedy writers as well as shows us some of the common data already on females in television comedy.

Kein, Kathryn. “Recovering our Sense of Humor: New Directions in Feminist Humor Studies.” Feminist Studies, vol. 41, no. 3, 2015, pp. 671-681,700. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1768148508?accountid=11107.

The article “Recovering our Sense of Humor: New Directions in Feminist Humor Studies” by Kathryn Kain reviews how recent texts and books are focusing on the relationship between humor and women. The article makes the argument that there has been an “explosion” of discourse about women in US humor. Kein examines how these works attempt to tackle questions such as: How has gendered assumptions about humor lead to exclusions in feminist studies and how has these assumptions affected the work women produce in comedy. The works reframe mainstream thought on humor’s function and its production by analyzing who is producing humor and who is comedy being written for. The article discusses All Joking Aside by Rebecca Krefting and highlights Krefting’s term “charged humor.” Another work the article reviews is Linda Mizejewski’s Pretty/Funny: Women Comedians and Body Politics. The article examines this work’s discussion on the discrepancy between women comedians’ looks and their ability to be funny. The last work the article reviews is The Queer Cultural Work of Lily Tomlin and Jane Wager by Jennifer Reed which focuses on the relationship between feminism and queer politics.  Overall “Recovering our Sense of Humor: New Directions in Feminist Humor Studies” can be used as a resource for the common discussions being held about women in comedy.

Lauzen, Martha. “The Funny Business of Being Tina Fey: Constructing a (Feminist) Comedy Icon.” Feminist Media Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2014, pp. 106. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1509208764?accountid=11107.

The article “The Funny Business of Being Tina Fey: Constructing a (feminist) comedy icon” by Martha Lauzen discusses the role female comedian and head writer of Saturday Night Live , Tina Fey, has within the comedy industry. The article highlights how she has made huge strides within a commonly male dominated industry. Lauzen examines how Fey constructs her reputation as a women writer as well as how she deals with the media and critics. Fey utilizes a complex mix of self- deprecation and sarcasm when responding to sexist comments about her role in the comedy career.  The article discusses how Fey tackles topics such as double standards, feminism, and her role as a woman in comedy. The article more broadly discusses women’s representation in comedic television, such as SNL, as well as their roles’ as writers. Lauzen makes the argument that as more women writers rise in fame, female comics will be given more reputability among reporters and will ultimately seize to be rare occurrences in the field of media. Lauzen argues that this significant shift will establish women’s place in comedy and allow them to concentrate on their work, rather than constantly having to justify their position in such an industry. Overall this article provides us insight about the environment women face in the comedy industry.

Rosa, Christopher. “16 Times Women Changed the Game on ‘Saturday Night Live’.” Glamour, Glamour Magazine, 30 June 2018, www.glamour.com/story/history-of-women-on-saturday-night-live.

The article “16 Times Women Changed the Game on Saturday Night Live” by Glamour writer Christopher Rosa constructs a timeline for the history of women in the popular show Saturday Night Live. The timeline focuses on sixteen major breakthroughs in SNL history that has advanced women’s role within the show. The article makes the argument that Saturday Night Live launched the careers of many influential women that contributed towards achieving some equality within media. The article first opens by highlighting the fact that the first actor of SNL was Glida Radner, who later become a female comedian icon. The article then moves on to highlighting more firsts such as the Candice Bergen being the first female host and the first all-female Weekend Update team. The article also provides these pivotal episodes alongside the text.  This timeline will be an important resource to understand the role women played in constructing SNL.

Boldness leads to Backlash

In Episode Three: “The Women Behind the Clothes.” The Bold Type tackles the backlash that often arises from being “bold” and stating your opinions.

While the show is about strength in the face of adversity, it is realistic and makes one of its strongest and confident characters, Kat Edison, break down in tears when dealing with internet trolls. It does not simply tell the viewers to be strong when faced with these barriers rather it shows how to be strong. No matter how rewarding it would have been to have Kat somehow shut down the Twitter Trolls, it would have been highly unrealistic. Rather the show gives its viewers supportive relationships and sound advice “Not to Engage” – Jacqueline.  From Jane and Sutton comforting Kat in the fashion closet to Jacqueline’s sincere conversation with Kat about the haters, the episode juxtaposes the hate with these endearing interactions.

In this episode, the show pushes the age-old message about how love always triumphs hate. The creator of the show Sarah Watson mentioned that the inspiration behind this episode was to give women hope in the face of hateful misogynist comments such as the ones Kat is facing. In an interview, she stated that “I felt like I had the opportunity to give Kat a little bit of a win. I wanted to show women that.”1 As a result, the show writes Kat an empowering ending to the episode, with her banding together with other women to create a kindness campaign.

Jacqueline Comforting Kat

Jane and Sutton Comforting Kat

The episode highlights how one can feel powerless, in the words of Kat Edison “There is nothing [we can do]” when faced with faceless haters behind a screen. However, the show makes it clear that one kind message, such as the one Kat received from the CEO of a VR company, has a greater impact than the millions of hateful comments often circulating online.


  1. Highfill, Samantha. “’The Bold Type’ Boss Reveals the Inspiration Behind Our Favorite Moments.” com, EW.com, 15 Aug. 2017, ew.com/tv/2017/08/15/the-bold-type-sarah-watson-story-inspiration/.

Introducing Me

My name is Aaqila Faizer. I am currently a neuroscience major who will hopefully graduate by 2022. Over the summer semester, I took ENGL 1101 at Georgia Tech as well as LMC 2400, Intro to Media Studies, two courses which I hope will be helpful in this ENGL 1102 course on Television and Feminism. In terms of WOVEN modes, I have found that I enjoy utilizing my visual and electronic communication skills. These modes help me be a better communicator when my written and oral communication skills fail to do the job. I hope to farther strengthen my written and oral skills in ENGL 1102 through practice. While I have had experience with feminism and literature in high school, I would love to enhance my knowledge about the relationship between television and feminism. I would not consider myself a “TV fanatic” since I rarely binge watch anything or finish a series. Rather I tend to gravitate towards movies, and I have recently become interested in the field of cinematography. However, I have been obsessed with certain shows, such as BBC’s Sherlock and I am trying to catch up on watching classic series such as Grey’s Anatomy. For my blog, I have chosen to review The Bold Type, a show that revolves around the lives of three young women that work for a fashion magazine company in New York City. At first, the premise of the show sounded highly cliché and was quite different from content I usually watch, however after one episode I realized the show is less about the typical romance in New York City, and more about ambitious women navigating their careers and their personal lives. The show promises to showcase strong, yet complex, female relationships as well as empowering messages. Plus, I love emotional montages, which I heard will show up quite a lot in The Bold Type.  


The cast of The Bold Type



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