Some of you may know that I’m an absolute sucker for young adult fiction. It doesn’t matter what form it comes in, it can be a film, a book, or even a TV show, as long as I’m watching something about young people living their lives I am content. I could quite happily sit and re-watch Gossip Girl over and over than watch something based in the land of fantasy or something that digs deep into the world of crime.
So, it is no surprise that I’ve suddenly become hooked on Freeform’s new series The Bold Type. Starring Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee and Samuel Page, this American young adult drama follows the story of three young women trying to make their mark in the women’s lifestyle publication industry.
I’m going to be honest and say I binged all five available episodes in one sitting because quite frankly I’m addicted. I just utterly love this show, and how much I actually relate to each character for very different reasons. Also, as someone who works in the creative industries I often find it hard to see the reality in programmes like this, because it’s either too easy or too far fetched – and while The Bold Type walks a fine line between these, it is enjoyable and still somewhat believable. After all, I relate to Sutton so much – it’s easy to get stuck in a job because you’re too good at it, or because it is simply convenient for you.
But why should you watch it? I’ve jotted down three of the main things that gripped me about the programme, and I hope that these are enough reason why you should binge watch it too.
1) The entire show is dedicated to female friendships
I can already hear you saying ‘yeah, I know. Another show about strong female friendships, look how well that turned out last time’ (looking at you Pretty Little Liars) but honestly, I’ve seen plenty of teen dramas in my time to know that this is different. This is about more than three friends who happen to be very close. This is about genuine female connection, trust and overall the ability to support your fellow woman without tearing her down.
These three girls each work for the same company and started out at the same level. One has already progressed to a high-level position, one is in the process of moving up the career ladder, and the other remains at her original assistant position – but do they discredit each other’s achievements because they’re all working at different paces? No! They pop a bottle of champagne in the fashion closet and celebrate each other’s personal successes.
That’s the kind of female friendships I want to see on TV, especially in such a cut throat industry like fashion journalism, where women can actively pursue their own dreams and not be criticised by their friends for moving too slow or too fast. There is little jealousy between the trio, and to me that is an important message to send to young women who already have to compete so hard in the creative industries to get heard in the first place, reminding us that we’re all in this together and that our fellow females are only competition if we turn them into competition.
2) It’s vocal about sex and sexuality
Again, not exactly a USP, but something that I was relatively impressed with and not at all expecting. From the first episode, we get depictions of female sexuality from a range of different sources – directly included in Scarlett Magazine, from the narrative arcs and from the characters themselves. We have queer representation from the outset and it’s not tokenistic, which is often a problem with many teen facing dramas.
Within the first episode alone the following things are discussed or represented in some way – censorship of the female anatomy, religion and its relationship with sexuality, masturbation, intimacy and sexting, among many, many more.
To me, this is something that we need more and more on our screens, especially from a female perspective. I’ve seen numerous teen facing dramas and comedies over the years target young men with discussion of sex but could probably name all the female-targeted dramas that discuss it so openly on one hand. It always comes as an after thought, a ‘oh well we’ll hint at it but never actually go into any dept’, which to me is a huge problem. Women should be encouraged to own their sexuality and not be ashamed of this, however they chose to express themselves.
3) It inspires me to achieve
One of my main issues is the fact that I’ve always held back – in school I was quiet and kept to myself, at university I was chatty in seminars but unable to present in front of a group, and at work I’ve only just begun to come into my own and feel confident enough to express my opinions and concerns.
After watching the first few episodes of The Bold Type, I’ve suddenly got this rush of inspiration to actually put myself out there and strive for what I want to achieve. These characters, although largely stereotypical, have the guts to do some amazing things and take risks to get themselves to where they want to be. I want to be like that.
It also resonates with me on a different level. As someone who works in the creative industries, I understand how difficult it can be to progress yourself and make yourself feel like more than just another dreamer who isn’t really going to get anywhere in life. I’m a writer at heart, and I know that it is a tricky industry to get into and it is difficult to make yourself stand out, and because of this I relate to Jane in a number of ways. The programme and each of the main characters remind me that it is important to take risks to get to where you want to be, and it inspires me to actually act on them.
There’s a whole host of reasons why you should at least give this series a try, and those listed above are just some of the ones that are most personal to me. There are many other great reasons you should watch the show – we have a Muslim Lesbian as a main love interest, a young woman of colour questioning her sexual orientation in a very genuine way, and a more mature character suggesting that she is incredibly sexually active when in most shows she may be considered ‘past her sell by date’ and not seen as a sexual object.
If I wrote about all the reasons I love this show, I would be here all day! Have you given The Bold Type a try yet? What were your initial thoughts? I’d love to hear them!
Featured Image: Anthony DELANOIX