English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Author: Evelyn Pike

We Can All Relate to The Bold Type

It is hard to believe that a show centered around the lives of three women would be so popular, but as The Bold Type gets ready to air its third season, we can all see that people must really love it! I started watching the show when it first came on television, much earlier than the start of these blog posts. I loved the show before, and I love it now! Just like every other viewer, I was drawn in by the drama and stayed for the storyline. I felt as though I could relate to each of the characters, even when the problems were issues that I had never faced personally, the show made it where I could sympathize, and with a fictional character nonetheless. I think that is the mastery behind the intrigue of The Bold Type. The writers tell a story and present an issue that maybe not every person has faced, but that is portrayed in a scope that allows the audience to draw similarities.

For instance, in the first season, Sutton is faced with a difficult decision of having to choose between her love life and her work and in the end, she chooses her work. The work environment she is in judges her capabilities on who she is dating rather than her actual talent. She should not have to pick between the two, but she has to in order to keep the respect of the people around her.

There are probably not that many people who watch the show that have a story exactly like Sutton’s, but there are a lot of women who are constantly fighting to gain the respect of others simply because they are female. It is a sad truth that though society has come far, there is still judgment and that may never go away completely. Yet, shows like The Bold Type allows women to relate and to know they are not the only ones and people come back to that kind of show. We are all different, but we all deserve the knowledge that life is challenging for all of us and though those challenges are not the same we can still find support, whether in friends, family, or in tv shows like The Bold Type.

Related image

Sutton from The Bold Type

The Bold Type: When to be serious and when to take a break

In most films and TV shows, there is only one, distinct main character. However, in The Bold Type, there are a few significant characters.

Jane, Kat, and Sutton are all best friends and have relatively conjoined lives in the show. When something happens to one character in the show, it is not long before the other women are by her side helping her through the issue. Yet, though they are seen together throughout many scenes in each episode, the writers and producers of the show still make time to capture the separate personal stories of each girl.

By following the girls’ lives in each episode and catching frames of specific events that are unique to each character the viewers are able to understand multiple smaller issues/ controversies brought to light by The Bold Type producers, while also, in the end, comprehending the big overarching theme that was present the entirety of that particular episode.

By piecing individual shots together the producers are able to create a cohesive storyline that the audience is able to follow, however also allowing for relief for the viewers when one topic becomes “heavy” or overwhelming.

The Bold Type - The Bold Type Is Nearly Here! Celebrate With Our Favorite Season 1 Moments - 1021

In this scene of “Carry the Weight,” there is a clear sense of serene seriousness when the viewers learn that Jacqueline is a sexual abuse survivor.

In the last episode of The Bold Type, Season 1 Jane is writing a story on the topic of sexual abuse survivors. Since this is a sensitive subject and can cause strong emotions within the audience of the show, The Bold Type makes sure to cut to different things happening within Sutton’s and Kat’s lives as well. This allows for some comic relief, while also expanding upon other issues facing women in America.

The Bold Type - The Bold Type Is Nearly Here! Celebrate With Our Favorite Season 1 Moments - 1020

This scene is just one example of how the show allows for comic relief.

The Bold Type is an empowering TV show meant to open the eyes of its viewers. The topics that it discusses throughout each episode is more times than not, topics that are not talked about a lot and can be considered delicate. In order to keep their viewers and ensure that people keep coming back and keep listening, The Bold Type has to be tactful in the way it presents each episode subject. They do this by giving the audience time to digest more serious topics brought up in the show during quicker shots of funny or less serious problems that the main characters face every day. Relatable in the way it portrays the women of the show as well as not being afraid to ask the real questions, that is The Bold Type.


Voice-overs v. Silence in The Bold Type

If you have ever worked out to one of those exercise videos, you know what I am talking about when I say the person teaching those workouts could definitely have a second job as a motivational speaker. As weird as it sounds, however, it’s actually true. The coaches have a knack for getting people to “keep going” far past the point of when they would much rather give up.

The Bold Type - How To Negotiate Your Salary Like A Queen - 1002

Jane waiting to find out if she will be sued.

The Bold Type - How To Negotiate Your Salary Like A Queen - 1009

Sutton speaking to Oliver about giving her benefits.

The Bold Type uses the voice of a cycling class instructor as a voice-over in the episode “No Feminism in the Champagne Room”, as multiple major events are happening in each of the main character’s lives. The instructor’s voice reigns over the images of Sutton as she goes into her new boss’s office and demanded benefits since her new job does not pay enough and she knows that she is worth more than what he is willing to offer. The inspirational voice continued as Jane sits in a conference room facing the threat of a lawsuit from a woman she has written a story on and who is now blaming her for some misfortunate events that happened since the release of the story.

The Bold Type - Will Kat And Adena Be Able To Work Things Out? - 1012

Kat telling Adena that she wants to be in a relationship after her spin class.

The voice of the coach continues still, from its original source, where Kat is in the cycling class listening to the encouraging words as she is trying to sort through her own feelings of confusion where Adena is concerned.

Words like, “you are here for a reason!”….“test what you are capable of” ….“ the journey is just as important as the destination, so embrace the incline!”… “push through, you are stronger than you think”, are playing in the background of the episode. Though it is an exercise instructor who is originally only speaking for her students, her words are universal to all of the obstacles faced by the girls in the show.

There are also moments of silence within the episode. Set in between louder music, everything will stop in order to bring attention to a few words or one specific event. Like when Kat poured her heart out to Adena, the music played loudly, yet when Adena said she was leaving for Paris to try and fix things with her girlfriend, all music faded away. This happens again when Jane finds out that she has the BRCA gene mutation and is more at risk to get breast cancer than others.

Image result for gif the bold type jane finds out she has brca gene mutation

Jane getting a blood test to see if she has the mutation.

The use of a voice over is typically not used in The Bold Type, however, in this episode, it makes an impact on the viewer, as do the moments of silence. Both affect the emotions of the viewer. Unselfconsciously making viewers feel as if they are a character on the show themselves.

Women in Comedy Make an Impact

Stanley, Alessandra. “Who Says Women Aren’t Funny?” The Hive, Vanity Fair, Apr.2008,www.vanityfair.com/news/2008/04/funnygirls200804.

In the popular article, “Who Says Women Aren’t Funny” (2008), Alessandra Stanley claims that the depiction of women in comedy has evolved since the introduction of cable television; no longer are women limited to macho-feminism or performing self-loathing comedy, nor only the jokes written by men behind the scenes. Women now have more opportunities than ever to write and perform their own material while looking however they like. The author supports her claim with references to famous women comedians one example being Tina Fey. The author uses Fey to emphasize the new generation of women in comedy, being that Fey is now the showrunner for SNL and has written multiple sitcoms and movies. The purpose of this article is to express the evolution of women in comedy as well as bring to light the ever-present obstacle of being a woman in an industry dominated by men. This article is published in Vanity Fair, a magazine on popular culture, fashion, and current affairs.



Dranger, Eden. “5 Insane Problems All Women In Comedy Deal With Eventually.”Cracked.com, Cracked, 1 Feb. 2016, www.cracked.com/blog/5-things-that-make-doing-comedy-nightmare-women/.

In the popular article, “5 Insane Problems All Women In Comedy Deal With Eventually ” (2016), Eden Dranger claims that being a woman in a male-dominated career, such as comedy is challenging as many women face obstacles that men comedians have never had to. Even as the world progresses to a more accepting society women are still openly harassed on stage as well as in the writing room and are still harshly judged as being lesser than compared to men, who presumably relate better than women comics. The author supports her claim with references to stand-up comedians, one of whom is Sunah Bilsted, who agrees that gender is not a valid reason to judge whether someone is good at their job. The purpose of this article is to emphasize five main issues only women face in the comedy job market. This article is published in Cracked, an American humor magazine.



Hennefeld, Maggie. “Comedy Is Part of Feminist History-and We Need It Now More Than Ever.” Ms. Magazine Blog, WordPress, 19 Apr. 2018,msmagazine.com/blog/2018/04/19/comedy-part-feminist-history-need-now-ever/.

In the popular article, “Comedy is Part of Feminist History—and We Need it Now More Than Ever ” (2018), Maggie Hennefeld claims that comedic performances such as slapstick comedies and the use of satire were essential in the early days of the feminist movement, as the use of laughter and comedy related to the general public and in satiric moments, spoke truth to powerful authority figures. The author supports her claim with references to slapstick comedies, such as Mary Jane’s Mistake, as a major avenue for feminist activism and social protest that still influence women comedians of today. The purpose of this article is to express the important role comedy played as early feminists fought against the patriarchal society America once was, showing readers that there is no fiercer political weapon than laughter. This article is published in Ms. Blog Magazine, an American liberal feminist magazine co-founded by second-wave feminists and socio-political activists.



Kein, K. (2015). Recovering our sense of humor: New directions in feminist humor studies.Feminist Studies, 41(3), 671-681,700. Retrieved fromhttp://prx.library.gatech.edu/loginurl=https://search.proquest.com/docview/176814858?accountid=11107

In the Scholarly article, “Recovering Our Sense of Humor: New Directions in Feminist Humor Studies ” (2015), Kathryn Kein claims that scholarship on women in comedy is necessary as it brings to light the ways in which humor is filling in cultural gaps and breaking new grounds for the ways women can make an impact in media. She also expresses that comedy allows for a  “call to action”. Although it may not always be an explicit one; humor enables the beginning social change to many modern day injustices. The author supports her claim with references to multiple women comedians, using quotes from each that expresses their unique use of humor to promote feminism and change. The purpose of this article is to push readers to change their perspective of how humor functions and even who can produce it. This scholarly article is published in Feminist Studies, a peer-reviewed academic journal covering women’s studies that was established in 1972.



Wadham, T. (2002). Great women comedians. School Library Journal, 48(8), 218.Retrieved from http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/ docview/21172752 ?accountid=11107

In the scholarly article review of “Great Women Comedians ” (2002), Tim Wadham claims that the piece expresses the many ways in which there is a lack of acceptance for women in comedy and by using specific examples of past women comedians, the author shows the ways in which these women overcame the obstacle of discrimination. The author of the article supports his claim with references from the original book, using Edna St. Vincent Millay’s experience. As detailed in the book, Edna wrote her humorous pieces under a pseudonym in order to avoid bias. The purpose of this article is to analyze the impact of the original writing and emphasize the many ways it clearly communicates to the reader the history of women in comedy and how they gained acceptance not only for themselves but for the many women that have come after them. This article is published in School Library Journal, is the premier publication for librarians and information specialists who work with children and teens, providing a source of quality journalism and reviews.



Day, A. (2015). Pretty/Funny: Women comedians and body politics. Feminist Review,(111), e21-e22. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/fr.2015.31

In this review of “Pretty/ Funny: Women Comedians and Body Politics ” (2015), Amber Day comments on the pretty versus funny paradox seen in comedy today. Women no longer are assumed to be funny-looking simply because they are funny. Rather now, women comedians are expected to be pretty in order to be funny, and many women are beginning to fall under the category of “pretty”, whether intentional or not, just to be successful in commercial popular culture media  The author supports her claim with references from the original article, as the author explains the multiple established women in comedy today and how they use the guise of jokes to critique the many shortcomings and social injustices of today. The purpose of this article is to focus on the ways in which women comedians’ use humor because it allows opportunities for feminist voices to reach popular culture. This scholarly article is published in Feminist Review, a triannual peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal with a focus on exploring gender in its multiple forms and interrelationships. The journal was established in 1979.


Being Different in an “Accepting” World

Each passing year introduces new technologies to the world around us. Seen also as time continues are the advances towards acceptance of all people, no matter their gender, race, culture, religion, etc. However, even in this progressive age, there are still many instances of prejudice.

Related image

Adena El-Amin


The character portrayal of Adena El-Amin within Freeform’s The Bold Type brings attention to the prejudice that is is still prevalent within the United States. Not only is Adena treated unfairly for being a Muslim woman, she is also scrutinized for her choice in sexuality. In one episode, in particular, Adena is walking with her friend, Kat, when her mom calls. Seeing as Adena’s mother speaks their native language, Adena answers in Arabic. Though, as she is walking and speaking on the phone a man rudely yells at her to “…speak English!”, and then goes on to call her a “towel head” when Kat begins to speak out for Adena. In this portion of the episode, the viewer not only sees the harsh treatment Adena receives for simply being herself, but we also witness her fear of authority in the United States when she runs instead of telling the police what actually happened.

The Bold Type - Why Adena's Story On The Bold Type Is So Important - 1005

The Bold Type - Why Adena's Story On The Bold Type Is So Important - 1006

Kat calling for Adena after she realizes that she ran away.

The Bold Type - Why Adena's Story On The Bold Type Is So Important - 1007

Adena explaining she had to leave.

Kat is baffled by her friend’s decision to run but later comes to realize that Adena does not really have the same choices as her. All though both women were only defending themselves, because of who Adena is (a lesbian Muslim woman) being right would not have been enough and there was a very real possibility that she would be deported.

The Bold Type - Why Adena's Story On The Bold Type Is So Important - 1008

Kat’s Boss telling her that sadly, being in the right isn’t always enough.



The Bold Type is a show that says what needs to be said. It talks on topics that many people would rather sweep under the rug. Topics like the prejudice that many women still face and how that bias is spread within all social circles, whether that be a man walking past who yells a hurtful phrase, or a policeman who doesn’t believe a woman simply because she is another color. The Bold Type shows viewers the real deal… It is hard to be different and it shouldn’t have to be.



“Who runs the world? GIRLS!”

The Bold Type - 14 Things You'll Know If You're A Fan Of The Bold Type - 1009

Alex is one of the only male writers at Scarlet Magazine.

…. or at least that is how it is on Freeform’s tv series The Bold Type. Predominantly made up of female characters, having all three main characters be women, this show is shifting the axis away from male-dominated television and into a new direction of strong independent ladies. Of course, there are men within the show, but it is fairly clear that at Scarlet Magazine, a fictional company within the show, men are outnumbered by a mile. However, it is not just the representation of women that The Bold Type brings to the table, but also the many controversial struggles faced by the female gender in particular.

The Bold Type - 14 Things You'll Know If You're A Fan Of The Bold Type - 1003

Jane is just a regular girl trying to figure out her life.

In the first two episodes of The Bold Type we meet the main characters: Jane, Kat, and Sutton, and we see almost immediately that each of these women are facing their own personal problems. Jane, a newly promoted writer, is faced with the difficult task of writing a magazine piece on her “best orgasm”. Since she has never had one, the thought of this task is terrifying and makes her feel isolated as it seems all of her friends have more experience than her and she even goes as far as calling her OBGYN in order to make sure she does not have anything “wrong” with her.

Image result for the bold type girl power gif

This is Kat and Adena… you can see the heart eyes from a mile away.

Kat, on the other hand, is extremely active, but yet is facing difficulties in pinpointing her sexual identity as she is starting to have feelings for Adena, a Muslim lesbian photographer (who in herself brings to light differentiability and acceptance not usually seen on television). Being that Kat has only previously had relationships with men, she feels as though that makes her heterosexual and views in the show witness her almost trying to convince herself of this fact. Then there is Sutton who is, for all intensive purposes, sleeping with the boss and in doing so risks her job if anyone finds out.

Image result for the bold type sutton and richard

Sutton and Richard (her boss’s boss and her bf).

Each challenge faced is different in many aspects, but also similar in the respects that there is a double standard for women, as each character fears judgment that perhaps would not be placed on them where they another gender. The problems brought to light by this tv show are common occurrences for women everywhere, however, it is only on The Bold Type that we see these issues being taken on. The Bold Type shows women that they are not alone in the obstacles they face.



The Bold Type shows women that they are not alone.




Being BOLD can be really awkward… and I totally get that.

So I read this meme that said, “when you’re smart enough to know you’re awkward but not smart enough to know how to not be awkward”…. and honestly, it was wayyy too relatable.

Image result for we cannot dim your light that's what makes us special the bold type

The Bold Type encourages viewers to embrace their individuality.

My name’s Eve; I’m an International Affairs and Modern Languages major studying German, but if I’m being real with you, I kinda suck at it. I’m supposed to graduate in 2022, but again, if I’m being real with you, we’ll see how that goes. I like to think of myself as a walking contradiction because I am a public/motivational speaker, in which I can stand on a stage in front of thousands of people and speak, but in small group settings I am reallyyy awkward and I cannot “small talk” to save my life. Hopefully, throughout this semester that will change ( i.e. I’ll become less socially awkward… somehow).
Over the summer, I was here at Ga Tech (roughhh, ik:/) I spent 5 weeks taking 3 classes, each of which are usually taken during a 16 week period. But hey, I figured why not melt my brain with compound stress and get 7 credit hours out of the way, right? Anyways, so one of the classes I took was English 1101. The topic in my class was basically, whether college represented in popular culture is comparable to college in real-life. In this class, we watched tv shows, read scholarly articles, and wrote annotated bibliographies, similar to the projects we are doing in this English 1102 class.
I am choosing to review The Bold Type because not only did I watch this TV show while trying to gain the motivation to continue living while taking classes here over the summer (jk, I promise), but also it is an extremely relatable show that brings to light many controversial topics that impact women across the world, teaching us that even though it’s awkward sometimes, it’s ok for us to take chances, be ourselves, and just live life to the fullest.



Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén