NOTE: This article contains spoilers from The Bold Type’s season 4!
Yes, as conservatives, we have Schmidt from New Girl, Ainsley from The West Wing, and Ron Swanson from Parks & Rec (yes, he’s technically libertarian, but we will still claim him), but conservative women in particular have a representation problem in Hollywood. If there are Republican or conservative women represented in pop culture, they are usually depicted as rich snobs, hillbillies, unintelligent, or close-minded. So it was a breath of fresh air when The Bold Type introduced conservative lawyer, Ava Rose in the middle of Season 4.
If you’re not an avid watcher, The Bold Type is a hit TV show that airs on Freeform and follows 3 young women as they navigate their careers at the women’s magazine, Scarlet. The fictional magazine is basically Cosmopolitan so it’s not a shocking discovery that the main characters lean liberal. As a conservative viewer, I will say that The Bold Type does tackle a lot of important topics like breast cancer, promotions, sexual assault, and miscarriages, and they even had a nuanced episode about guns that showed the very personal stories behind gun ownership. Despite some virtual signaling, it’s a show I really enjoy.
Ava is introduced in Season 4 as a conservative lawyer and talking head as well as the daughter of RJ — the head of the board of Saffron, the company that owns Scarlet. Kat, Jane, and Sutton immediately judge Ava on the fact that her dad supported a congressional candidate who supports conversion therapy. Really? Are we really going to act like conversion therapy is a policy mainstream Republicans and conservative actually support? Could we be a little bit more realistic, please? It’s clear they didn’t even seek out a Republican’s input in the development of this character. Not to mention, RJ is never asked if he supports conversion therapy. Ava, his daughter, is asked. She expresses opposition to conversion therapy, but that doesn’t stop Kat from assuming the worst in her.
The plot thickens when Kat, who always seems to be on a new social justice crusade, is fired from Scarlet for releasing RJ’s tax returns because he supports a congressional candidate she doesn’t agree with. After, she finds work as a bartender at The Belle — a women’s club — where Ava is a member. Kat is absolutely beside herself that Ava would be a member of the club that is primarily liberal. When she questions Ava about it, Ava claps back by stating:
“I want to hear opinions that differ from my own so I can listen, process, and think…I am a woman who loves this country and that’s not very popular to say right now in certain circles, but if we’re ever going to heal as a nation, what we need is meaningful discourse.”
Then, Kat launches a podcast at The Belle and wants her first guest to grab attention. So, of course, she picks Ava, the high profile Republican. While interviewing her for the podcast, the topic of LGBT+ rights come up. Ava shares her opinion that sexuality shouldn’t really be brought up because it doesn’t define a person.
Kat then starts to take Ava to task arguing that Ava cannot speak for a community she’s not involved in. Ava claps back, yet again, with
“Yes, I can speak for that community, my community because I’m a lesbian…I am a Republican woman who is not defined by my sexuality because sexuality is not a personality trait.”
Kat is obviously floored by the confession. How dare Republican women not fall into her cookie cutter stereotype? How can a Republican woman be a member of the LGBT+ community? This revelation by Ava starts an unlikely friendship and flirtation between the two. In fact, it leads to Kat admitting that Ava is “not a bad person” and that she is “learning from her.” Is that really so wrong? How divided have we become that we can’t have relationships or friendships with people that think differently than us? Should it really be that controversial? To the left and the media, it absolutely is.
For a few weeks now, social media and articles have flooded the internet sharing that the prospect of an Ava and Kat relationship is dangerous with headlines like:
Then, the actress that plays Kat weighed in on the controvery by posting:
“The decision to have Kat enter into a relationship with a privileged conservative woman felt confusing and out of character. Despite my personal feelings about the choice, I tried my best to tell the story with honesty, even though the Kat I know and love would never make these choices. It was heartbreaking to watch Kat’s story turn into a redemption story for someone else, someone who is complicit in the oppression of so many. Someone whose politics are actively harmful to her communities.”
And Meghann Fahy, who plays Sutton on the show, recently shared her thoughts with Variety about the controversial pairing, stating:
“It’s controversial. I think what the show always wants to try to do is not make judgments about people and have conversations and show a character who is capable of seeing a bigger picture.”
Quite frankly, I’m glad liberals are finally getting a taste of their own medicine. Newsflash: It’s okay to have characters on the screen that think differently than you, I promise. Every single day, Republican and conservative women watch characters they don’t agree with on TV and movies. We survive it just fine. It’s funny that liberals always claim to be the tolerant ones, until there is someone they don’t agree with represented in pop culture. Then, that character is deemed “dangerous.”