(TIME) — One photograph has transformed the way many Russians look at terrorism. It shows one of the two women who allegedly bombed the Moscow subway: a cherubic teenager smirking as she waves a pistol in the air. The image of the stereotypical jihadi — the masked or bearded zealot holding a Kalashnikov or wearing an explosive vest — suddenly morphed into a more ambivalent yet still terrifying menace.
Experts say this was exactly the aim of the groups that supposedly recruited Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova, who, along with Maryam Sharipova, attacked two Metro stations in Moscow. Around the world, organizations like al-Qaeda are realizing that women can be far more effective than men at penetrating security checkpoints, making their attacks deeper and more lethal.