Why the Manchester attack was an attack on girlhood

“Music is one of the first ways that kids seek to express themselves in ways that is not directly related to their parents,” says Caitlin White, managing editor of music for Uproxx. “It’s one of the first acts of yourself, and being able to share that self with your friends, you’re creating a social experience that’s outside of your family for your first time.”

To legions of young girls, Grande is a cultural idol––one that they look up to just as they’re deciding what kind of women they’ll become. The former Nickelodeon star may now sell out arenas and wear skimpy clothes––her sexually empowered new album and tour is titled Dangerous Woman––but she still sports a ponytail and playful cat ears. She doesn’t have a rap sheet or rehab stint to her name. She’s a bridge between the comfort of youth and the excitement of adolescence. “She feels a little safer than Rihanna or Beyonce,” says Maria Sherman, a writer who studies teen fan culture. “Ariana Grande is still in that crucial demographic of young women just entering an adolescent space.”