Opinion: The Bold Type is having conversations that should be present in media more often

The Bold Type has been making waves with important conversations, especially with Jane’s BRCA gene plot. This conversation is immensely important to have in media and should be more present in tv shows and movies.


Megan Conroy, Arts Reporter

On March 5, I sat down with something to satisfy my sweet tooth after a long Thursday and turned on my livestream of The Bold Type. The episode was titled, “The Space Between,” and it covered a range of issues. But Jane waking up and feeling a lump in her breast resonated with me the most. 

The Bold Type is on its fourth season in 2020, but the show has sparked important discussions since its’ first season in June 2017. The show details the employees of Scarlet Magazine, a women’s magazine known for blazing the trail with “controversial” stories. The show follows Jane (played by Katie Stevens), who writes some of these articles for the magazine. 

One of the main aspects of her plotline has always been that Jane’s mother died of breast cancer at the age of 32. In more recent seasons, the viewer sees her grapple with the fact that she has the BRCA mutation, which means she is more likely to get breast cancer, as well.

This episode was the first time I have heard a conversation like this outside of my household. My mom told my sibling and me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 15 years old. She was treated with radiation during June and July, and in January of this year had her sixth normal mammogram. We had had a conversation about the BRCA gene, but not an extensive one since then. If she got tested for the BRCA mutation, she would be blackballed from insurance coverage, she recently told me over the phone.  

In “The Space Between”, Jane finds herself faced with the possibility that a lump in her breast could be cancer. It was not cancerous, but the rest of her day afterward is shadowed by the looming concept that she will have to keep up a certain lifestyle to prevent the possibility of breast cancer. 

During an interview for the 30 under 30 list for Forbes, Jane realizes that she always thought she would have an expiration date similar to her mother’s. She passes up the opportunity in order to live in the moment rather than focus on what she’s accomplished before the age of 30. 

Shortly after, she tells her boyfriend Ryan that she’s made the decision to get a double mastectomy. There is an emotion-filled scene where Ryan says he’s all in, even for the not-so-pretty stuff, like the future with her treatment. 

This episode of The Bold Type particularly resonated with me. I cried through the scene of Jane fearing the worst, and I cried through Jane telling Ryan that she had made the decision, and then again when she told her friends. It feels strange to say, but Katie Stevens captures the fear in the situation so beautifully. I’m lucky that my mom is six years cancer-free, but I still feel the panic in Jane’s story deeply. 

I believe that this conversation, this panic that Stevens so accurately portrays, should be seen more in the media. I have not seen this kind of plotline in tv or movies that didn’t play a side role or fade out at some point. Viewers of tv shows and movies want to see themselves represented, and the fact of the matter is, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, according to the American Cancer Society. While the BRCA gene is rare, it’s still a relevant conversation for media that is worth having.