Many may have counted down the days leading up to seeing their idol. They may have planned out meticulously what they were going to wear. They may have listened to Ariana’s latest album ‘Dangerous Woman’ on the way to the venue, singing aloud and dancing in the backseat of their parent’s car. They may have met some of their peers and friends just before entering the arena, hugging and jumping up and down excitedly like teenage girls do.
The Manchester attack had a sickening twist on similar and recent events in other parts of Europe: that this time girls and young women appear to have been specifically targeted.
As a former Nickelodeon star, Ariana Grande’s fan base is largely made up of adolescent girls and young women, and so such a crowd was always likely to make up the 21,000 seat Manchester Arena where she was performing Monday night.
Twenty two people have now been confirmed dead, including an eight-year-old girl and Georgina Callander (pictured above in 2015), an 18-year-old woman who’d earlier tweeted how excited she was to be going to the event. Dozens more are injured.
They were there to celebrate the music of one of their most-loved performers: to forget school or work, just for a few hours. They were there to be themselves, to connect with other like-minded young women over a shared love for the music that gives them so much joy.
You can imagine that many may have also represented everything the perpetrators of these types of attacks so often hate: girls expressing themselves in what they wear and how they behave. Girls celebrating life and music and friends and freedom. Girls with opinions and an attitude and ambitions to make the world their own.
Attacks like this are always sickening, but intentionally aiming to kill and maim as many girls and young women as possible is especially evil.
Do you remember the first concert you attended as an adolescent? Either by yourself or with an escort? I certainly do, I recall the friends I was with, the set list played and the quirky behaviour of the lead singer in the band I was watching. I recall the danger that lurked in the mosh pit, and yelling over the music to make smalltalk with boys in the crowd.
But I don’t recall ever feeling like someone might intentionally aim to kill or maim me.