The Bold Type Helps Viewers Speak Up and Speak Out


The Bold Type Helps Viewers Speak Up and Speak Out

by Marisa Nightingale
July 1, 2021

This week we say goodbye to The Bold Type, a critical success and a fan favorite for five seasons. The farewell is bittersweet—the show is going out on a high note, but it’s hard to accept that we won’t see the future play out for Kat, Sutton, Jane, Jacqueline, Oliver, and the other smart, savvy characters in the world of Scarlet magazine. 

The genius of the Cosmo-inspired show is the way its female leads give each other unwavering support, talking openly, failing, recovering, and cheering each other on. As Jane, Kat, and Sutton figure out love, sex, friendship, careers, and social activism, their bonds grow deeper at a life stage when many worry that taking different paths will strain friendships. Jacqueline Carlyle has become a cultural touchstone for the ideal boss and mentor whose belief in her younger colleagues pushes them to believe in themselves.

Building on our years-long relationship with Freeform and the show, Power to Decide helped inform storylines and joined weekly live tweets to share messages about sex, love, relationships, and the power to decide your future. We saw a meaningful impact on viewers: engagement and traffic to our resources increased each week as The Bold Type shared our posts with relevant information just as scenes unfolded. 

Jane, Kat, and Sutton confronted some of life’s biggest hurdles together, while maintaining a sense of humor and adventure: Jane’s breakup with Ryan and her preventive double mastectomy; Kat’s exploration of her sexuality and squaring her morals with her paycheck; Sutton’s relationship with her mom and her pregnancy loss, marriage, and possible breakup. The Scarlet fashion closet was a judgment-free zone where they hash out dilemmas about sex, love, relationships, pregnancy, heartbreak, and more. 

By normalizing open conversations, The Bold Type helped viewers get comfortable speaking up more for what they want in their relationships and careers. Relatable characters and scenarios matter: two out of three young people say that when there is a story about unplanned pregnancy that they can relate to in popular media, it helps them think more about their own risk.

  • 8 in 10 viewers said The Bold Type helps them get clear about relationship must- haves. 
  • 50% said the honest conversations on The Bold Type inspired them to be more open with themselves, their friends and their partners.
  • 7 in 10 say the women of The Bold Type “inspired me to be truthful to myself, speak up in relationships and go for it in my career.”
  • When Sutton and Richard suffer a pregnancy loss, we provided information to educate viewers and reduce stigma. The show shared our resources with its followers with the message that they are not alone, which led to high engagement and traffic to our resources about miscarriage and pregnancy basics.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 viewers said Sutton’s story helped them think about being ready for pregnancy and having open conversations about it. 
  • When Jane deals with a broken condom, Kat arranges an emergency contraception delivery. During the episode, The Bold Type shared Bedsider’s information about getting EC and birth control delivered. As a result, 75% of The Bold Type viewers say they learned something new about EC from the show and traffic to our EC resources spiked. 
  • Kat’s commitment to social justice in her life and career inspired viewers to engage with our content about how to become an advocate for a cause you care about. 
  • Nine in 10 viewers said the show inspires them to mentor a younger person.

The Bold Type has changed my whole perspective about life and relationships and especially work, what I can deal and will put up with, and what I will never put up with. Basically, if I do not have Jacquelyn as a boss I am out. LOL.” 

What I’ll miss most about The Bold Type is the opportunity to witness this level of identification with such inspiring characters and situations; and the chance to share information with viewers and help them apply what they’re feeling and learning to their own lives. The show achieved what its characters strive for: a pop culture voice that leads audiences with integrity towards social good, showing the power of open conversations, and how to lift others as you climb.

To re-watch the series or discover it for the first time, catch it on @Hulu and @FreeformTV.