Finding Emo

What is the deal with Emo? This is a blog by request for Joel. He doesn’t understand emo people. Neither do I. Emo used to be a classification of a branch of punk music. Apparently now it’s so much more. Some people (Jon Ray) debate emo’s right to hold its own place in the spectrum of musical genres. Some people love email. Some spell checks don’t like the word emo. These people wear black make up, have crap hair and wear clothes at least 4 sizes too small. Apparently they like self harm and stuff now too. Back when I was a young lad, well back in the 90s anyway, people who cut themselves and wore funny black clothing were called goths. As far as I can tell the only difference between emo people and goths is taste in music. For a complete guide to being emo check out this site here. It’ll create an emo identity just for you.

Emo used to be a label for any emotional rock. Weezer are an oft mentioned example of this first wave of emo acts. Weezer are cool. Just because Weezer are emo, and Weezer are cool doesn’t make all emo bands cool. That is a fallacious syllogism. Syllogism is a cool word. I just wanted to use it in my blog.

The new wave of emo is darker… edgier… according to wikipedia common elements include dark colored hair (often dyed either black or an unnatural dark hue), males wearing pants tailored for females, lots of piercings, and dark make-up on males and females. In short, emo people are weird. Wikipedia also notes they may have a tendency towards self harm. They also like fringes. What’s with that?

Now that you all know how to identify an emo there are certain rules for approaching them in social situations. The first principle of approaching an “emo” is that you should never expect any form of response or interaction from said emo. Unless you’re talking about how wonderful AFI is. Emo’s love AFI, or My Chemical Romance, or any of those punk bands who write emotional songs. Emo is just a category for people who aren’t hardcore enough to be goth and are too stupid to be normal. There’s something sad about a group of non-conformists who all dress the same.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

31 thoughts on “Finding Emo”

  1. The common thread uniting all Emo’s is that their lives are “crap”.
    If you don’t have emotional problems, you can’t be Emo. Ergo, they “invent” emotional problems. The eternal favourite being that their parents hate them, don’t understand them, oppress them, yada yada yada. This is almost never true.
    Of course, Emo’s treat their parents (and other people) pretty badly, so by the time they’re in their early twenties, most of their imagined relationship issues have, in fact, become real. Insidious.
    In general, just to kick a dead whale down the beach, emo kids are dumb.

  2. Freaks? Perhaps. “Emo” is not a new thing. It’s just a new name for a particular teenage mentality that’s been around probably since teenagers were invented.
    I was an emo kid. They just didn’t have a name for it when I was 15. (I didn’t have a fringe or punky clothes either.)

  3. if you didn’t have a fringe or punky clothes you weren’t emo.

    Maybe you shared personality traits, but unless you wore tight jeans, black makeup and had a hair cut worthy of The Cure you weren’t emo. Emo is more than a state of mind. It’s a state of being…

  4. I thought emos were into self harm right from the start. I guess I’m not a guy so I can’t tell for sure but those tight black pants have always looked like they must cause some sort of discomfort. The pants also ensure that they are killing a future generation as well. i guess it is for the best that they won’t be able to reproduce.

  5. I just want to put it out there that cheesy pop music rocks!!!!!!!!!! Why anyone would choose emo over pop is beyond me.

  6. Thanks for that brief overview Nathan. However, I’m still unsure how to differentiate an emo from a goth. You said that taste in music is the only distinguishing feature – does that mean we actually have to communicate with them first before we put them in a box? Maybe an overarching label for both groups would be simpler, I’m going to suggest: “The self-harm superfamily”

  7. No, Nathan, I didn’t. Do I seem ‘post-Emo’?

    A lot of emo kids I know, do have actual legit problems, and yes it’s tough for them. While I mightn’t think they actually deal with it in an appropriate way, I can still recognise that. For any kid, the teenage years are tough, but add on issues of abuse, destruction, rejection and dysfunctional relationships, and there’s bound to be even more obstacles.

    I do, however, agree with Grammar Nazi on the issue of some children ‘creating’ their own emotional problems. Emo kids stick together, and there are some kids who cling to those who actually do have problems, and in order to ‘fit in’. They start creating emotional and relational problems, which enventually become real. ‘Emo’ runs hand in hand with personality disorders which is a definite mental health classification. I’m afraid I don’t think that these kids are freaks, they’re just misguided, and looking for help for their problems in the wrong places. They self-harm to try to ‘help release their hurt’ or to cry for help…

    Anonymous I don’t agree with you either. It’s not a ‘normal teenage phenomenon’. Sure, there have always been kids who have struggled through their teenage years, and who have grappled with real issues of dysfunctional families, abuse, rejection, and loneliness, which are things no kid should have to deal with. However, in the state of our fallen world, it’s no wonder that teenage depression is on the rise, and that these kids are starting to think that being Emo will give them somewhere to fit in.

    The thing that really bugs me are the kids who create the ‘Emo’ image to make a statement.

  8. I always thought emo was basically slow punk – the ones where instead of bouncing around, you kind of nodded in time.
    Still, that website was funny. I love this bit:

    DIRTY SECRETS
    used to play trombone in a ska band.

    that’s so true. Well, he didn’t play trombone, but the lead singer / guitarist of The Frugals joined an emo band after they finished up.

  9. Come to think of it – most of the kids at a certain large sydney church in the Hills district where they write some well know Songs looked like this, but without the angst. Allthough, the ‘hearfelt’ emo could just be the Christian alternative?

  10. or the other way of coping with bad stuff is to sing.
    Because…
    Some things in life are bad
    They can really make you mad
    Other things just make you swear and curse.
    When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
    Don’t grumble, give a whistle
    And this’ll help things turn out for the best…

    And…always look on the bright side of life…
    Always look on the light side of life…

    If life seems jolly rotten
    There’s something you’ve forgotten
    And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
    When you’re feeling in the dumps
    Don’t be silly chumps
    Just purse your lips and whistle – that’s the thing.

    And…always look on the bright side of life…
    Always look on the light side of life…

  11. I blame sesame street and the demise of grammar for the creation of emo. Life must get depressing when you can’t even spell elmo.

  12. oohhh a deleted comnment…what did it say?!
    I read this somewhere (if you find it offensive remember i didn’t make it up): “I wish my grass was emo, so it would cut itself”

    Now really…being a teenager isnt that tough…people need to get overthemselves. Plus its what…like 5 years of your life or something. I hate that people cary on about how tough life is for teens, when they’re the ones who are making it hard on each other. Of course the fat teenager is going to think being a teenager sucks cos other teenagers tease them. Of course the drug addict thinks being a teenager is tough cos they took drugs off other teens…its like a circle…so i agree with whoever said teens need to start doing helpful things for others. And stop wallowing in self missery.

  13. btw. emo’s may have many emotional problems…but i put down 95% of them to attention seeking, which is probably caused by both parents working at least 15 hour days. And the other 5% to insanity. Also, I dont understand why the person who invented the emo dress code made it so uncomfortable for them…Wouldn’t it have been better to have decided upon black trackie dacks? Although, i suppose then heaps of people would be emos, and that defeats the purpose of being different if everyone conforms. So perhaps the dress code is like initiation. If you are willing to wear pants 4 sizes to small 7 days a week, then you deserve to fit in with other emo friends.

  14. I didn’t say it was a “normal” teenage phenomenon. I said it was a “particular” teenage mentality. (One which has, unfortunately, come into vogue.)
    People change a lot between 15 and 21. And some people don’t deal well with change. These kinds of people have been around since the dawn of time, ergo I reach the conclusion that the emo mentality must have been around since the dawn of time…
    Of course, I do not pride myself on being logical, so if you want to point out the flaws in my logic, knock yourself out. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)

  15. Indeed I should. Death to anonymous posters. Figuratively of course… although I guess literally because in reality death will also come to non anonymous posters.

    Do you think that if anonymous means unknown and famous means well known “fa” is opposite to “anony”?

  16. And in answer to cb’s earlier question – no Caitie you don’t seem post emo – I just figured that comment was likely to get a response out of you… after you opened with “What else is there to say after that…?” And responses from you and miriam provide me with endless entertainment (ok that’s an exaggeration – obviously it’s a finite amount) during my day at work.

    It seems to get a response from modern women you need to make sure your statements/questions obviously require one.

  17. Now I’m shamelessly bumping the post count up so I look cooler.

    You can also distinguish between goths and emos by counting the piercings on the left hand side of their body. If there’s an even number of piercings the subject is a goth – odd and they’re emo (Actually both groups are odd – I should clarify that I meant an odd number of piercings).

  18. mwa ha ha… I love this. I have the power to remove my own comments and i dont know how i got it. So no one will ever know what i wrote about them unless they read the blog for the few minutes i leave the post up.

  19. I just noticed that in the full “post+comments” of the page/article you can see the author of the “deleted” comment, while in the “post a comment” page it just says “comment deleted”

    go figure

  20. I admit it I POSTED AN ANONYMOUS comments. I am not going to tell you which one but i have done it so as not to make my comment too personal ie so I don’t cause personal offense. Actually I posted two anonymous comments – you’ll just have to work out which ones they were!!

  21. One of the freedoms of anonymity is to make a comment without the baggage of others’ pre-conceived ideas about you (and the possible increased potential for offence at and/or dismissal of your views).

    A useful ability at times.

Comments are closed.