The Bold Type?
The Bold Type —Freeform’s ultra-buzzy dramedy— takes a strong stance on pressing issues relatable to those from all walks of life. Touching on topics that have often been pushed aside in fear of becoming overly controversial, they’ve brought serious issues like sexual and racial identity, dating above your paygrade as well as journalistic integrity to the forefront all while praising the #girlpower movement. Although, the only issues The Bold Type doesn’t bring light to are those related to the topic the show is centered around: the fashion industry.
Don’t get me wrong— I have an immense amount of respect for the “bold” crusades they’ve taken against equally important issues; but while the show is busy addressing just about anything else, it’s overlooking —and even glamourising— issues at the core of the plot. It started strong in early season one when they brought attention to the drastic layoffs we’ve seen everywhere from publishing to retail. Since then, the topics revolved around the industry have fallen off.
Ignoring these topics is one thing, but glamourising them is when this becomes tricky. Showcasing a new assistant who styles major print spreads or gets drunk in the fashion closet with her gal pals isn’t setting positive example for young men and women hoping to work in the industry one day. In reality, this is only going to attract and set an example for students who aren’t willing to put in the very real work and expect the “fun” of the industry to come easy. And let’s be real, what magazine has the budget to throw red carpet events for each and every month’s issue launch? Most magazines can’t even afford to print monthly anymore. Or who has a stash of ball gowns ready to go at a moment’s notice? Literally not one person I know—in fashion or not.
Now, of course, this is a TV show and probably no one would be interested in watching the very unglamorous life of fashion publishing. I’m not saying that the reality of the industry is all bad either—every publication/publisher is very different (and I love my own fashion media job, may I add). But, this is a show with scalable reach to address issues that desperately need to be talked about.
You may have recently heard of the Instagram account @fashionassistants. The anonymous ‘grammer takes submissions to tell the very real horror stories of the industry. It’s taken on topics like verbal —and even physical— abuse, labor laws, nearly unlivable wages and delayed/refusal of pay. They’re bringing a voice to those who have never had the opportunity to stand up for themselves and their rights in the past. This is iconic and truly making a difference for the better.
Here’s my takeaway: the people I’ve met working in this industry are the most hardworking and passionate people I know. Although it’s “just fashion”, it’s not all fun and games and showcasing the industry as a “cute” show just doesn’t cut it in 2018. Maybe a plot centered around working long hours, paying your dues and being respectful wouldn’t sell, but let’s not discredit the real "bold type".