In a feminist show like The Bold Type, women empowerment is obviously a focal point. Women are the critical thinkers that make impactful choices. Women are the people in positions of power. Even though the male executive board may be mentioned as being over Jacqueline in ranking, they are not given a face, a personality, or any sort of defining quality at all. Women are what matter. However, only showing women in power is not enough to empower women; it’s not realistic. Even in instances in the show where a female character felt powerless like Sutton after thinking she lost the fashion assistant job, or Jane when she had no choice on the subject matter of her articles, or Kat when Adena chose to try reconcile things with her girlfriend, they were not truly powerless. The show validates this point completely nullifying these moments of weakness with near-perfect solutions to all these issues (Sutton gets the assistant job. Kat and Adena become serious. Jane gets a new job with more freedom). It’s not realistic. Episode 10, finally, truly, embraces the essence of powerlessness. Jane’s final piece for Scarlet is about a rape survivor, Mia, who never got justice within the court system, so as peaceful protest and living art, she stands in public in New York City holding a weighted scale in each hand symbolizing lady justice. The attention on Mia’s cause had severely died down, so to generate support again Kat organizes a livestream event. Digitally plenty of people breathe words of encouragement and support, but Mia is alone. Jacqueline points out how the virtual support means nothing which motivates the girls to leave Scarlet’s big bash to support Mia. Many things happened to the girls that week, that day, but the biggest moment was right then when they stepped up, locked hands, and stood together. Jacqueline sees the girls on the livestream and makes the decision to join them. She takes the weights signifying that she too is a rape survivor.
This moment is so crucial to the integrity of the show. Jacqueline, arguably the most powerful woman in the entire show, had experienced being completely, utterly powerless. The woman who was always sharp in tongue and dress, the woman with absolute confidence, the woman who called the shots, was once completely, utterly powerless. It is equally important to see women powerless as it is to see them powerful because without acknowledging this state of utter powerlessness that countless women find themselves in, it would be completely impossible to build a bridge from that place to a place of liberation. Painting a picture of powerful women is important because it exemplifies what we are working towards, but failing to acknowledge what we’re running away from gives the problem the upper hand, driving us deeper into powerlessness. Jacqueline expressed how she could never go back to normal after that tragedy; she had to adjust and find a new normal. That’s realistic. That’s power.