By ROSIE WATERLAND
Meet the teenage girls who are taking fan-dom to a scary new level.
Forget Justin Bieber. Forget One Direction. The newest hottie capturing the hearts of millions? Accused Boston bomber, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Or Jahar, as they’ve taken to affectionately calling him.= display_ad('x18', 'hidden-xs hidden-md mm_incontent', 'MM In Content'); ?>= display_ad('x20', 'visible-xs mm_mob_incontent', 'MM In Content (Mobile)'); ?>
A group of mainly teenage girls have been furiously tweeting under the hashtag #freejahar, as well as starting Facebook groups and blogs, filled with picture collages, love hearts and glittery graphics. Each of them dedicated to the accused terrorist.
It’s like he’s a pop star.
Thousands of girls tweet at the #freejahar hashtag every day. There are countless ‘Free Jahar’ Facebook pages, some with hundred and hundreds of members, mostly women and girls, who post photos to show their support for the accused bomber. Take a look:
18-year-old Alisha, declared on Twitter earlier this week that she plans on getting one of Dzhokhar’s tweets (from before his arrest) tattooed on her arm.
Alisha has since stated that she will hold off on the tattoo for now, at the request of her family, but her constant tweeting shows that the obsession has by no means abated.
In an interview with The NY Post, she insists that she isn’t just a ‘fan girl’ but also someone who is genuinely concerned about Dzhokhar’s rights.
Alisha said she read all of his tweets and came to the conclusion he is innocent. “I don’t see it,” she says, regarding any possibility Tsarnaev was involved with the bombings….
For the more literary of these young women, there is even erotic fan fiction:
I didn’t know how much longer I could resist reaching up to brush aside the dark curly strands falling across his eyes.
He’s laying on the bed, toying with his zipper while looking at me with dirty eyes. He knows that he’s the one in control and I’m his toy. He knows I want him so bad that it has taken over me.
So where does unusual and admittedly, very creepy, obsession stem from? Why would a girl, often still in high school, cover her walls in pictures of an alleged murderer, instead of Zac Efron? Is it really just because he’s kind of ‘cute’?
Teenage girls are renowned for being attracted to a ‘bad guy’ – every romantic comedy and high school drama ever made will tell you that. But can it be considered a ‘bad-boy’ complex if the girls believe that Dzhokhar is innocent?
Many argue that he’s just ‘too beautiful’ to be a terrorist. Many of these girls are also instigators of the conspiracy theories surrounding Dzhokhar’s case, including the suggestion that someone was impersonating him and trying to pin the crime on an innocent. Tweets like this aren’t uncommon:
So what would convince a teenage girl to trawl the internet for proof that an alleged murderer has been wrongly accused? The NY Post gave this explanation, saying that the accessibility of notorious individuals via twitter and social media is a factor:
Girls crazy for killers is not uncommon, says Sheila Isenberg, author of “Women Who Love Men Who Kill,” noting serial killer Ted Bundy had his share of fans.
“Ted Bundy had a huge coterie of groupies. Young women, teenage girls, women in their 20s, who went to court everyday, and followed his trial,” Isenberg said.
“Jahar has his groupies because of social media. They are able to get in touch with each other and whip up a frenzy about him,” she said.
More recently, a group of women who call themselves ‘Holmies’ have devoted themselves to James Holmes, the gunmen from the Aurora movie theatre shootings. There were similar fan girls when the Columbine shootings occurred.
Psychologists have theorised it has to do with wanting to ‘save someone’. These men are seen as vulnerable and needing attention and care, something which these fan-girl women are drawn to.