What is Emo - Introduction to the Emo Scene Community
EMO means "emotional"...
Emo is a slang term known to be short for emotional, but that doesn't make much sense really. If you claim "emo" were to mean "emotional" it then becomes an all encompassing word. It becomes extremely vague and it has no limit as to what it can describe. Emo when wrongfully used to mean "emotional" describes every living thing, every song, every word, every breath, every statement.
EMO is a subculture...
The term emo is used to describe a subculture which has evolved dramatically over time so the emo of yesterday and today will be discussed.
Emo of yesterday...
Emo was created as a shortened term to describe a specific thing, in this case "emotive hardcore" developed out of the D.C. punk scene in the 80s. In its original incarnation, emo was short for emocore, or emotional-hardcore. The name was applied to hardcore punk rock bands who distinguished themselves from their peers by adding an emotional element to their music. Themes of sadness, love and angst were dealt with in their lyrics. The music was also characterised by particularly dramatic vocals which left the audience in an emotionally charged state, crying or screaming. Real Emo was manly and hard. It was fast and thrashy sung in a way that wasn't pretencious and whiney. This genre is still alive today, although very obscure and unknown to most.
The history of emo is somewhat less ambiguous than its current meaning which is detailed next.
Emo of today...
The emo culture continued to develop through the 90's and into the new millennium really kicking off around 2003 and reaching the height of its popularity to date. The word has been adopted by a whole generation of teenage music lovers for whom a melodramatic attitude and style of dress is just as important as musical taste. It's now seen as one of the more consumer-driven subcultures, and one of the most brand-obsessed.
Initially defined as a genre of music, nowadays the cultural phenomenon that is Emo is much more than that encompassing its own set of fashion, style, behavior, and perspectives on life within the definition. The music is also significantly different to what was once classed as emo. These changes/evolution obviously are the subject of debate and anger "yesterdays true" emos. At the end of the day its just a word that has horned its way into popular usage while shedding many of the qualities that originally defined it.
Punk which can be described as Emo's predecessor also evolved to encompass a diversified set of lifestyle suggestions above and beyond the kind of music, including certain behaviors, fashion imperatives and identity traits which are indicative of an emerging new culture. Emo still has its roots firmly planted in music with "emotion" is at its core though.
The behaviors, attitudes, and values expressed through the music involve emotionally turbulent themes often associated with adolescence such as despair, nostalgia, heartbreak, hope, and self-loathing. The various and sometimes conflicting social practices associated with Emo subculture contain valuable insights into what it means to be an adolescent today. For many youth, Emo subculture facilitates identity formation, social interactions and emotional involvement. It is a place where many adolescents share their experiences about the world and express their feelings about life through music.
By the millennium arguably "emo" bands were garnering regular rotation on MTV, Kerrang, etc and radio stations nationwide. These days, emo (inc. screamo, etc) music has been popularised and sent into the mainstream through bands like Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy, MCR, Aiden, Atreyu, Hawthorne Heights, Silverstein, Funeral For A Friend, etc...(see emo bands)
Bless The Fall & Panic At The Disco
Probably nothing characterises the Emo look more than the Emo hairstyle - long fringe (bangs) brushed to one side of the face or over one or both eyes, dyed black (or other colors), straightened and layered... Spikes are occasionally accentuated at certain angles of the hair.
Emo clothing is characteristed by skinny jeans (usually black), tight band or vintage looking t-shirts or zip- hoodies, studded belts, converse or skate shoes, black nail polish and eye liner on both genders. Black thick-rimmed glasses are another popular feature.
When referring to a person's personality and attitude, most definitions of emo include a number of the following terms: shy, quiet, mysterious, introvert, angst ridden and sensitive often identified by his/her music and fashion. (generalising here). Artist talent is known to be associated with the emo culture along with a degree of sophistication and depth. Emos can feel they are misunderstood by society.
Self-harm is wrongly associated with the emo culture and the media has played a large part in this describing the emo scene as dangerous for example!
Confusion and Criticism
The term's definition is still the subject of debate, with some question as to whether it can even be defined. There is no one definition of emo, nowadays it is seemed to describe anything that's a little bit different from the social 'norms' if you will.
Many other music-centered cultural movements are difficult to define. Meanings evolve, replicate, and recombine so that Emo, which started as a somewhat "agreed-upon" collective subculture, has become a highly contested set of meanings and collective practices. "Emo" will just get harder and harder to define as time goes on...You can get into a hundred pointless debates about the definition and origin of emo.
In the years since emo music's rise in popularity, it has attracted criticism, often severe.
Society sometimes considers emos as failures; they are not strong enough to hide their emotions, they're sensitive, shy, introverted, and often quiet. The outward expression of feelings makes them a target for ridicule. Usually, Emo kids like to express their feelings writing poems about their problems with depression, confusion, and anger; all because the world fails to understand them.
Emo has been characterised as a fad that will be discarded and forgotten in the near future. Critics cast the emo music as lacking any artistic merit and/or musical skill, the emo fashion as embarrassing and the emo people as imagining or pretending that they lead harsh, painful lives when they actually live in comfortable, middle- to upper-class homes.
The ones who are emo not because they feel it, but because they like to be trendy are named 'posers'. Apparently a big percent of the current emo subculture is formed by posers.
The emo subculture is accused that it is celebrating self-harm. I think you'll agree this is pretty stupid though! A lot of the pathethic anti-emo quotes shown below link emo to self harm:
"It's like the Emo culture has taken Punk and sprayed it with girly deoderant."
"I'm so Emo, even surgeons are impressed with my skills with a blade."
"I'm so emo, its a lucky day if I get a papercut."
"I'm so emo, i'm changing my name to Gillette."
"I wish my lawn were emo...then it would cut itself."
"I'm so emo, i attempted to drown myself... in my own tears."
"Im so emo, id cut my wrists and hope to die with tears of blood running from my eye."
MCR (My Chemical Romance) / Emo Fans even staged a protest against The Daily Mail's false "suicide cult" claims in London, UK
The themes underpinning the Emo revolution will never go away. They will always be prominant feature of mainstream youth culture. Emo, as a catch-all phrase, will eventually phase out and be replaced by a new word-of-the-day befitting the emotional character of the times.
The term "scene" has become popular since the emo subculture kicked off. Scene kids or scenesters I believe are more about the style and looking like an emo without the personality of it all. In other words, scene kids are the ones that dress emo, but only because it's a trend or you could say Scene is Emo without the emotion. The term is subject to a significant debate like emo though.
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GRig1UUyFA - hot emo boys
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCIXfmmqk-A - Sweet Emo Boys !!!
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljuUBs70VKk - Emo Girls Dear Whoever - Security Without Doubt
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoBqoHWSugs - Emo/Scene Girls
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aAHgp3DJDQ - How to be emo
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQjEd0xYD3A - My Chemical Romance Protest against the Daily Mail
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=92Th-FA1ezI - Legoshire Hot Pots - He's Turned Emo
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrFUr8e-vjs - I spent a day with *EMOs* 2019
- Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture
- Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo
- Emo Boy Volume 1: Nobody Cares About Anything Anyway, So Why Don't We All Just Die?
- Emo clothing and culture
Last revision 16.11.2021