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How 'The Bold Type' Encourages Positive Relationships

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Freeform's The Bold Type is a series based on the life of the former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief, Joanna Coles. The series revolves around the lives of three best friends (Jane Sloan, Sutton Brady and Kat Edison) who work for Scarlet magazine, trying to achieve their ambitions while dealing with issues on gender, race, relationships, friendships and many other social and emotional issues in their day-to-day lives.

The series is a milestone in many ways - it breaks stereotypes, it represents marginalized groups, it deals with complex issues, but most importantly it encourages you to be positive and maintain positive relationships - with friends, with family, with society, within work spaces and with oneself.

In today’s society, where people have become less tolerant and the cases of violence have been on the rise, maintaining positive relationships is very important for living in peace and harmony. The show tackles these issues and encourages positive relationships in many ways.

Unlike in other fashion dramas, where the female bosses are shown to be abusive and demeaning, the editor-in-chief of Scarlet magazine, Jacqueline Carlyle (played by Melora Hardin), is an encouraging, intellectual and an influential mentor to her employees and always tries to maintain positive relationships with them.

She often reinforces the importance of originality and independence. She always takes time to personally speak to her employees, clearing their doubts, boosting them with confidence in themselves and their works.

In one episode, when Jane (emerging writer at Scarlet magazine) yells at Jacqueline in front of all the magazine staff for not being open about herself in the same way that she asks others to be, Jacqueline calmly asks Jane to "take a walk".

Later, Jacqueline invites Jane to her home, introduces her family and talks to her. In such ways, Jacqueline creates an atmosphere of positive relationships by respecting her employees, listening to their concerns, guiding them and helping them.

Maintaining such positive relationships in a workplace not only makes it easier for a person to work, but also increases their self-confidence and love for what they’re doing, which in turn gives way for invaluable outputs.

Next, the show focuses on the importance of being understanding and inclusive, when you create content for the society to consume. When you want to maintain positive relationships within a society, you need to respect the people in it, along with their ideas and opinions.

In this series for instance, Jacqueline insists on the aspect of looking at an issue from diverse viewpoints before jumping into writing an article as this is what tells the readers that you respect them and automatically develops a positive connection with them.

In her Mandy Awards speech, Jane talks about Jacqueline, saying "She pushed me to dig deeper, even when it was too painful, and she taught me that what matters most isn't your by-line or these awards. What matters most is the story and the truth. In our personal lives and the stories we tell, the truth must always come first".

Biased content gives only one side of the story, which often leads to misunderstanding, disagreements and riots. Therefore, in order to maintain positive relationships with your audience (who are, in turn, a part of the society), you need to look at the truth behind a story from everyone's point of view. In other words, you need to produce content that is inclusive to embrace positive connections.

The show also focuses on the importance of mutual dissent, which is something that sustains relationships and is necessary to be practiced in a society to live in harmony. Mutual dissent basically means ”agree to disagree”.

In the episode titled 'Betsy', Jane is uncomfortable and unable to come to terms with the fact that her best friend, Sutton (ambitious woman working in the fashion department of Scarlet magazine), has a shotgun named 'Betsy', in her possession.

Jane was in first grade when Columbine shootout happened, in which her kindergarten teacher’s daughter was killed and the killer used a shotgun as well. Although she was five miles away from the school, it left her traumatised, while Sutton has good memories about her high-school shooting club that she was a part of.

As both dispute over having the gun in the apartment, they come to discover each other's pasts and try hard to understand one another's views. They both agree to disagree. Jane doesn't agree with having a gun, but she understands Sutton's emotional dilemma and lets her keep it.

Sutton doesn't agree with Jane's view on guns, but gives up her gun as she understands Jane's past. This mutual dissent and understanding had sustained their friendship.

When you learn this act of mutual dissent, it helps you to look at the the people around you with an open mind which will help a great deal in maintaining positive relationships with friends, family and society.

The Bold Type is also sex-positive, meaning, it promotes an open, tolerant and progressive attitude towards consensual sex and sexuality. This is important because having a positive attitude towards sex lets you talk more openly about it with your partner, children, friends or parents and this will not only make things better in your relationships but also gives others a positive view on it and helps reduce sex related crimes.

An open mind to the broad spectrum of sexuality will help maintain a harmonious society where marginalised people feel safe and free. When Jacqueline asks Jane to write about orgasms, Jane thinks that this is a little off for her, as she wanted to voice out her opinion on more serious issues.

However, a realization kicks in about sex being a part of our lives and just as important as anything else. There is nothing demeaning or wrong in talking about it. Talking about sex also reduces anxiety and doubts you might have about it.

In one episode, Kat (social media director of Scarlet magazine) has some sexual issues with her girlfriend, Adena. Kat discovers her bisexual side only after Adena enters her life and she is not ready to "go down" on Adena, being new to it and confused.

However, they both talk about it, respect each other's space and try to understand where they each came from. Kat finally feels comfortable with the act and feels positive about their relationship.

So, feel free to talk about sex and be more tolerant of the existing broad range of sexuality as it will lead to a better society where its people feel safe and positively connected with each other.

The Bold Type also features the characters trying to help each other out, lift each other up, stand up for others and more importantly, stand up with others. When you want to maintain positive relationships with the people around you, it is important that you stand up for them and most importantly, stand up with them.

In an episode titled, ‘Carry the Weight’, the three women stand up for and with a sexual assault victim. The victim is an artist trying to express the injustice faced by sexual assault victims where their rapists aren’t punished either for not having enough evidence or for insensible reasons like the victim made the first move or was drunk and so on.

Inspired by the ‘Lady Justice' statue (Lady Justice is an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems. Her attributes are a blindfold, a balance, and a sword), she carries weights in both hands and stands in the park, waiting for another victim to take the burden off her.

When she stands her ground, painful and sore, through the night, the three women show up and stand up with her, offering support. This encourages other victims to come forward, including Jacqueline.

In another episode, Jane, Sutton and Kat pose together for a photoshoot without makeup, showing their real selves. The women look so beautiful with scars and blemishes, and it is empowering for those who have insecurities about their self-image as they can feel positive about themselves now.

You might often feel the lack of positive attitude about yourself in which case, it is important that you embrace what makes you unique and respect yourself and stand up for yourself to maintain a positive relationship with yourself. This will boost your self-confidence to face any negativity bravely.

On the whole, The Bold Type isn't just another drama, it is a bold step towards breaking stereotypes, empowering each other, dealing with complex issues and maintaining positive relationships wherever you go. When the world becomes all about speed, advancement and constant mechanical movement, the workplaces, relationships, families and societies also become industrialised and mechanical.

It is important for us to break free from this pattern and stop to take a moment with people, no matter who they are, to listen, understand, feel and love. We need to stand up for ourselves, be open-minded, help each other out and empathize with one another to embrace positive relationships that make life more meaningful and make the world peaceful to live in.

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