Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Supportive

Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Supportive

Freeform may have secretly made it their job to create tv that Pat Robertson would hate.

Formerly ABC Family, Freeform was created in 2016 and seems to be poised to make as many TV shows as possible that make the 700 Club (who owned it back when it was CBN and still gets aired late at night on Freeform) uncomfortable. They have some of the gayest shows out there, like the horrendously bad The Fosters (seriously, the parents don’t even like each other) and the weirdly quirky Stitchers and it’s lesbian pathologist.

Their latest offering is The Bold Type. And you know what? It’s good!

Women In Media

The basic plot is three women on their way up at a Cosmo/Vogue-esque magazine, with an online component. The byline, in its blindingly boring way, is as follows:

Putting together a magazine is not an easy task, requiring a lot of teamwork to finish the job and get the publication on newsstand shelves. That’s why the staffers responsible for producing global women’s magazine Scarlet lean on one another as they try to find their own voices. While working together to publish each issue of the periodical, they struggle to find their identities, manage friendships and find love. The drama series is inspired by the life of longtime magazine editor and executive Joanna Coles, who serves as an executive producer.

Got that? Good. The show is way better than it sounds.

Bechdel Test? Passed it!

The Bechdel test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.

Well this show passed it in the first scenes. The three young main characters are women in the early stages of their careers. They are young, bold, and struggling. Jane wants to be a serious writer, not just a personal essayist. Sutton wants to be more than a secretary, but she’s also banging a manager. Kat is the social media director who sees stories others don’t.

Of course they are BFFs and of course they support each other.

Real Women Help Each Other

Did I say “of course”?

I know, that’s not normal for television, is it? TV women bicker over who gets the boy and backstab each other for jobs. This show does none of that. Not even the Devil Wears Prada-esque boss is evil. She’s supportive and encouraging of Jane. Kat’s boss is similarly helpful when Kat goes on a tirade. Sutton too.

The point here is that they do help each other.

And It’s Queer

The first episode involved two plots of queer interest. First is Kat, who finds social interest in a story about an artist. When her bosses kibosh a story on a Muslim lesbian artist named Adena El-Amin, Kat pushes back and says the story will “click well.” In the end, Kat manages to save the story, it totally does perform well, and then something happens…

Kat starts to kind of click with Adena in a way she hasn’t before. Claiming to be straight, Kat finds herself a little confused about her feelings. Just when she decides to take a chance on this, she sees Adena kissing another woman.

Through her whole journey, though, her besties are supportive. No one says ewwwww or anything. Of course, no one mentions she doesn’t have to be a lesbian, that she could be bisexual, but still. They’re her proper friends.

No Shame In Sex

That isn’t the only story, though. In the second episode, Jane has to write a story about sex and orgasms. Which she’s never had. Orgasms. Kat takes her to a sex therapist who suggests Jane figure out her ‘kinks’ by watching porn, and try a yoni egg.

Yes. The egg you shove up your vagina. It gets stuck. But before that, Jane, Kat, and Sutton talk about fantasies and how different women get turned on in different ways. Some like books, some like visual porn, and some like dirty talk. And some, like Jane, don’t know what they like.

But yes. Jane tries the egg, it get stuck, and it’s Kat to the rescue.

The Women Aren’t The Joke

While the situation is funny, the joke isn’t the women. You laugh but not at them. You laugh with the absurdity of Kat packing up dildos for Adena to sneak back into her country. You chuckle over the awkward question Jane poses to her gynecologist about never having an orgasm.

But the women aren’t the joke. They’re bold. And they’re worth watching.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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