The cultural obsession with vampires came right when we needed an escape from the economic crash of 2008, Glee became culturally relevant after a national spotlight on bullying and the move to a more nuanced look for female characters came with the rise of fifth (?) wave feminism.
The Bold Type takes a look at women’s magazines in 2017 deals with relationships, work and wrestling with what feminism means in an environment that’s come to be known as anti-feminist in the past few years.
Our three leads are Jane, Kat and Sutton, three best friends working at the magazine and each has their own problem. Newly promoted Jane can’t find anything to write about, Kat wants to make an important story happen and Sutton is has a complicated relationship with an exec. Beautiful, charming and the reason I’ll probably watch this show when it premieres on the 11th, none of the problems put forward are really breaking new ground.
I feel like the mid-00s might have perfected the fashion-magazine life trope with films such as the Devil Wears Prada and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and TV shows like Ugly Betty. The healthy mix of wish fulfilment, romance and drama has been replaced with realism which is basically the opposite of a twenty-year-old affording Chanel.
So are magazines still the pop culture tentpole they once were? With underpaid positions in the arts, purely online competitors and job losses constantly in the picture The Bold Type doesn’t really address these anxieties instead focusing on what it means to be brave.
Younger, or Young and Hungry are probably this shows spiritual cousins at the moment but both of them had a hook, Eliza’s a woman in forties feeling pushed out by a world that values youth and Gabby is just dead broke, both of these problems feel accessible regardless of the avenues the shows go down on an episodic level. Wrestling with bad pitch ideas doesn’t relate to a lot of people.
Interesting moments came from the discussion of what feminism means and the Adenia, the lesbian Muslim artist who can’t see the stealth feminism Scarlett magazine is trying to portray and the speech at the end by the editor-in-chief about how feminism and fashion don’t have to be two separate things although this enlightenment is soured when one of the girls slut shamed her best friend for ‘screwing up.’
Overall I think the show has the potential to say something interesting, the backdrop, the acting and the writing is there (striking the right balance with social media lingo is still something a lot of shows have trouble doing) but I don’t think it’ll gain a following unless it says something culturally relevant to the millennial girls it’s trying to attract.