Freeform’s “The Bold Type” Tackles Womanhood in Communications

Freeform’s programming tends to cater to a younger crowd, boasting critically-acclaimed series about college life and teenage dramas, but contrary to what lip-glossy stereotypes might have you believe, their content doesn’t shy away from important issues. From race to sex, mental illness to Cancer, Freeform offers a creative outlet for these often taboo topics to become conversation-starters for a younger generation. “The Bold Type,” Freeform’s women-lead drama tackles these topics under the umbrellas of journalism, young adulthood, and all the complications that go along with them.

Shows centered in a newsroom aren’t new to cable or streaming, and finding shows displaying the comedy and drama of the communications field isn’t a fruitless effort. But even in a changing world of inclusivity, finding other women to look up to in the often male-dominated field of reporting can leave any viewer frustrated. “The Bold Type” challenges that.

In a cast dominated by women that follows three friends that talk about more than boys, have differing opinions on politics, and even includes a queer black woman, finding a character to empathize with isn’t hard. The series, based around work at a women’s magazine, accurately displays the joys and struggles of working in communications.

Women’s magazines get a bad reputation. Often associated with diets and celebrity gossip, and reading them gazed at the same way someone reading a drugstore romance paperback might be, “The Bold Type” brings the realities of working at one of these publications to light. The journalism in the “Scarlet Magazine” newsroom, as the fictional magazine is called, is just as serious as those at more respected publications.

Journalist characters are courted by “real” news sources following their publications of articles surrounding controversial issues, are threatened with lawsuits and legal action following controversial stories, and deal with discrimination in getting information due to the public view of their magazine. Fashion designers and fashion photographers receive backlash from magazine board members for standing up to body image expectations. The magazine’s social media department head experiences targeted doxing by men angered by her article on video games and sexism, exposing her personal information and nude photos online.

The representation of these incredibly common (and often terrifying) complications and occupational hazards of journalism in a category of journalism often overlooked gives a voice to the population of women journalists working in women-centered spaces. We might hold sexist stereotypes surrounding publications like these consciously or not. The editor in chief faces scrutiny while moving forward with more progressive ideas, especially those surrounding the grittier side of women’s issues. “The Bold Type” shows viewers, without telling them, that the work these women do isn’t any less complicated or journalistically sound than what men do at similar publications.

While bringing sexism in the communications field to the forefront of the series, “The Bold Type” seamlessly covers issues surrounding sexuality, money, privilege and health throughout the plot. These topics receive broad coverage in the series, without straying away from the plot of the show and disengaging viewers. The scriptwriters delicately tackle debates and taboo topics while giving them the consideration they deserve and keeping conversations natural.

This binge-worthy series has engaging storylines, compelling relationships, heartwarming moments and hard-hitting social commentary. The filming is aesthetically pleasing with costume, makeup and set design that any fashion-forward millennial could drool over, and a tragic opening sequence that improves over the seasons from being painfully maximalist to sleek and simple. The evolution of the show, from characters to production, leaves dedicated viewers feeling like they’re part of something a little bit bigger than just a TV series.

Seasons one through three are available in full on Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV and the Freeform website while season four episodes premiere Thursdays at 9:00 pm EST on Freeform and upload to streaming services the next day.

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