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Film / The Girl Who Became Three Boys

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The Girl Who Became Three Boys is a 2012 Channel 4 documentary about Gemma Barker, a girl who three times disguised herself as a male in order to date her friends. It got out of hand when she was arrested for sexually assaulting one of them.


The Girl Who Became Three Boys features examples of

  • Adults Are Useless: The few authority figures who feature at all do little to stop the madness unfolding. In particular, Jessica's grandmother seems fine with letting her come into the house with a mute, faceless boyfriend.
  • Broken Base: The audience of the documentary were divided over whether to sympathize with Gemma and her victims. Some saw it as a harrowing inside into the horrors that can afflict insecure teenagers. Others were more cynical, seeing Alice and Jess merely as victims of their own stupidity, in a series of utterly preposterous events that would not be plausible if anyone involved had two brain cells to rub together.
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    • The latter group took a particularly dim view of Jess in her role as a talking head. Rather than shaken by her traumatic experience or ashamed of herself for getting into it, she seemed to be milking the spotlight for all it was worth. Many viewers felt it hard to feel sorry for her and even speculated how honest her account was.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Alice starts pestering "Aaron" about why his family never met her, so he told her they were all dead for various reasons.
  • Invented Individual: Gemma comes up with false identities Aaron, Luke and Connor.
    • Aaron has an entire invented family - all of whom died in mysterious ways.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: A pretty extreme example, but perhaps the most plausible explanation for how Alice and Jess repeatedly fail to notice anything wrong with their situation. Of course, this doesn't explain why other people around them didn't take notice.
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  • In the Hood: Gemma's male personas always wore hats and hoodies which completely obscured their faces.
  • There Are No Adults: Some viewers noted that teachers, parents, guardians and other older persons of responsibility tended to be curiously absent from much of the story.
  • The Reveal: "Aaron" is arrested and undergoes a strip search, at which point Gemma is finally unmasked.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: After Alice starts dating "Aaron", Jessica hooks up with his friend "Luke". She then breaks up with "Luke" and is comforted by "Connor". All three of these boys are perpetually covered under hats and hoodies, to disguise the fact that all three are actually Gemma.
  • The Unseen: "Alice" preferred not to have her real name or her face on television for the documentary.
  • The Voiceless: "Luke", who only communicated by text message, even when "he" was right next to you.
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  • What an Idiot!: Pretty much every person involved, to the point where the whole story is a continuous stream of these.
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