Binge Break: The Bold Type remains refreshingly relevant in its fourth season

The Freeform show and the fictional magazine it features makes sure to use their powers for good to talk about important issues faced by today’s women.


Kayli Reese, Managing Editor

Every episode of The Bold Type reminds me of the strength and power young women are proclaiming over their lives at the moment, and it fills me with hope and joy.

On the surface, the Freeform show — which follows three 20-something women and best friends who all work at fashion/women’s magazine Scarlet — seems like a rom-com revolving around love lives. While there are elements of that on The Bold Type (and those elements are still fun to watch), so many important conversations dominate the narrative.

The show features some of the most relevant, important storylines currently on television, from a phenomenal, heartbreaking season one finale centered around sexual assault to having the main relationship on the show be between a badass black woman and a self-described “proud Muslim lesbian.”

The season four premiere on Thursday featured a subtler, but no less impactful, storyline that resolved last season’s plot twist (a few spoilers ahead, if you’re not a fan of that sort of thing).

After Scarlet’s fearless editor-in-chief Jacqueline Carlyle decided to change the look of her magazine, she was fired for daring to feature people with real-life body types as models and a photoshoot with a man in elegant gowns. The printing of the magazine’s issue is also halted by board members over Jacqueline’s head.

As an explanation for the business decision to not print the issue, the head of the publishing company — who is a white man — says, “This bubble you all live in downstairs, it is not the rest of the world.”

Nothing could be further from the truth; the world is full of bodies that are not stick-thin, people deciding to wear clothes that aren’t traditionally worn by their gender because they like them, and people who bring unique experiences to the table. I applaud The Bold Type for celebrating that.

Jacqueline’s firing and halt of Scarlet printing ignites our three central women — writer Jane, social media department head Kat, and fashion assistant Sutton — into action, which is exactly when The Bold Type is at its best. The friendship between the three feel so familiar, and the constant, unconditional support they have for each other is so refreshing to watch.

Jane, Kat, and Sutton make it their mission to make sure at least some people see the issue. Through a few hijinks, parts of the issue are leaked online. It turns out that the only people who don’t love the idea of putting people with real life bodies in a photo shoot are the white men on the board who stopped the magazine hitting store shelves in the first place.

The episode takes its subtle approach here to how the women of Scarlet have to convince these men to print the issue. It’s not the fact that Scarlet is promoting a realistic body image and talking about what brands are taking a stance to fight climate change that change the board’s mind on publishing. It’s not until Kat spins the idea of the new look of Scarlet as a way to increase magazine revenue that the board decides to print the magazine.

People across the country want to see a magazine focused on what everyone cares about, not just the airbrushed photos of supermodels that have become the norm for a magazine. It’s the type of statement people don’t even realize is a possibility, making the fictional reality of it on The Bold Type so amazing.

To top it off, Kat is able to tell the head of the publishing company, “It kind of seems like the bubble you live in is bursting.” And that it is.