EDL Girls: Don't Call Me Racist, BBC3 - TV review: EDL Angel gets into a right muddle
Were these, as BBC3 apparently wanted to suggest, innocent girls led astray?
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Tuesday 11 March 2014
Girls, chicks, broads, babes –whatever you want to call them – were the theme last night, with EDL Girls: Don't Call Me Racist on BBC3 and the third series of Lena Dunham's Girls continuing on Sky Atlantic.
In both cases, the word "girls" was used loosely; all but one of the females featured in these shows were women over the age of 18.
Within the English Defence League, that far-right street movement set up by a former BNP member, females are referred to not as "girls" or "women", but "angels".
This BBC3 documentary followed three such minor deities as they grappled with the subtle distinction between hating all Muslims and racist thuggery. Were these, as BBC3 apparently wanted to suggest, innocent girls led astray? Or grown women who really should know better?
Gail, the mother of two teenage boys and a founding member of EDL Angels, is definitely not a girl. Though she did emphasise her girlish vulnerability when discussing a fight she was involved in, during which she said she was attacked by a group of Asian men. "Punching a woman in the face, knocking her out... Why are they so frightened that they've got to do that to a woman?"
One of Gail's newest recruits was 18-year-old Amanda who had just moved to the area and was hoping to make new friends. "Two weeks ago, I didn't know what EDL was, but I always thought Muslims were wrong," she explained. Amanda's eagerness to fit also got her into some trouble with the EDL Angels leadership.
They disapproved of a photo Amanda had shared on Facebook in which she was posing as Hitler. We're far-right, but not that kind of far-right, explained Gail's right-hand woman Antonia, "EDL, they just won't approve of it. A lot of their granddads and that fought in World War Two." Amanda stared back blankly.
I found her strangely reminiscent of Faisal, the inept British jihadist who accidentally blows himself up in Four Lions.
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