Let's All Be The Bold Type
Bold; adj,: (of a person, action or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.
Sex and The City, Girlfriends … these shows were celebrated in the 90’s and the 2000’s for depicting strong female friendships, but their depiction of women in the workplace should be acknowledged as well. Sex and the City had Miranda and Samantha who proved to be beast in the workplace, Miranda who explored the balance between being a working women and maintain a traditional homy dynamic, and Carrie who often struggled finding an equilibrium between her dream job, a writer, and her lifestyle. Girlfriends depicted Joan, successful lawyer, Maya, an assistant turned author, Lynn, a free-spirit with five degrees, and Toni, a real estate agent.
But then they disappeared, and for a long time there was an absence on television of young women trying to establish themselves in the workplace, until The Bold Type.
The Freeform show, which just wrapped its second season, focuses on three twenty-something-year-olds as they try to determine who they are while also establishing a career. Jane is a recently promoted writer who dreams of being regarded as a serious, hard-hitting journalist, Kat is the head of the Social Media Department making her the youngest head of department at the company, and Sutton is a Fashion Assistant determined to establish her value at the workplace. Every episode depicts a workplace related dilemma which frequently requires the women to support one another even when they don’t agree, and while this was also the structure of the first season, season two proved to be much more bold.
Throughout the season audiences got to watch Kat enjoy the freedom that comes with being the head of a department, she took a long sabbatical, while learning how to not take advantage of peers, an issue that causes brief conflict between her and Sutton. Audiences watch as Kat is also forced to come to terms terms with how her complexion affects the way she is viewed by her peers, as well as calling out the white privilege in the workplace, this is addressed between her and Jane and when Kat wants to hire someone the company deems unqualified. While being the head of a department may not be the most relatable story line for twenty-something year olds, her story in season two does demonstrate the complicated task of being a young authority figure.
Sutton’s journey is much more relatable. She spent last season figuring out who she wants to be, what it is that she wants to do with her life, and building up the courage to make that transition. In season 2 Sutton sets out to prove that she deserves her new place in the company and works overcome any and all obstacles showing her peers just how capable she is.
Jane, like Sutton, experiences a much more tumultuous journey in her career. After getting promoted in season one and then leaving the company, Jane finds herself unable to fulfill the expectations of her new employment and joining the unemployed club. For a few episodes viewers watch as a capable and well educated young woman struggles to obtain a job in New York City. This is possibly the most relatable storyline in season 2 as many Millennials and Gen-zers experience the same struggles as they embark on adulting and navigating the job market. Her story ends by providing viewers hope that if she can find her way through the often unreliable financial security one maintains when they are in an industry such as publishing and freelance writing, then anyone can.
These three working women are reminding us of the importance of asserting yourself in the workplace, knowing your self-worth, and showing us that courage can and will be rewarded; eventually.
These women are the bold type; something I aspire to be.