At first glance, Stan's new show, The Bold Type may seem like it's treading familiar territory. Set in the busy offices of a major women's magazine, it chronicles the ups and downs of three young women employed at the fictional Scarlet.
During the mid-2000's, there was a swarm of movies all focused on the world of magazine journalism. From How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, to Suddenly 30 and of course the iconic The Devil Wears Prada, each film encapsulated a very specific time in the magazine industry — when digital media had not yet taken hold. This is what makes The Bold Type groundbreaking. It's the first show to accurately represent the realities of working in print media in 2018.
Of course, being a fictional show (and me being a very-real journalist who is going to notice more inconsistencies than the average viewer), The Bold Type is not without its unrealistic elements. The three lead characters all simultaneously revere and fear Scarlet's editor-in-chief, Jacqueline. As harsh as she can sometimes be, she also seems near-constantly available to provide pearls of wisdom and to nurture each staff member with an attentiveness not usually possible for such a senior staff member. As idealistic as this level of attention seems, it is nice to see the portrayal of a boss treating their staff with kindness, which comes as a stark contrast when compared to the tyrannical — and often, female — editors we have seen represented on screen in the past.
I was also struck by the number of staff members the publication still had. Operating lean has become the norm within the industry, with employees often required "do more with less". However, late in season one, the series does address the reality of job security, as the characters stress over whether their roles could be made dispensable at the drop of a hat.
Above all the unrealistic tropes that The Bold Type sometimes falls back on, one theme rings true. Sutton, one of the main characters, finds herself at crossroads as she begins to tire in her position as a personal assistant. She struggles over whether to take one of two roles available in the company — one, a well-paid but uninspiring role and the other, an exciting but poorly-paid position as a fashion assistant, a situation many young journalists will be able to relate to. In the end, Sutton's decision perfectly showcases what is required to work in the media industry of today. In order to survive in an industry that can be unstable at worst and constantly evolving at best, one needs to have passion for what they do. Women's media is not a career you can succeed in if you are motivated by anything else more highly than you are the love of the craft. And The Bold Type nails its representation of this.
The best part? You don't have to be a journalist to relate to or take inspiration from the show. The characters are all motivated, driven and ambitious young woman, displaying the realities of what is required when striving to be their best, both in and out of work. And, journalist or not, that's the kind of woman I want to see on my screen.