Youth brings self discovery which leads to world discovery. Adolescence is a time of finding topics of interest, making and breaking friendships, and exercising more independence. With some teens, music plays a huge role in influencing hobbies, clothing, and friends. Since the late 1990s, the term Emo has worked its way into the mainstream vocabulary as both a music style and a fashion style. Trends adapt over time, and Emo has moved from primarily being a music term to primarily being a fashion trend.
Originating in the 1980s with a specific music scene, the term is short for emotional-core, a spin-off of hardcore rock music. Some of the early bands maintained the heavier rock sound, but began writing more emotional lyrics. Songwriters expressed deep feelings about everything from the purpose of existence to their disappointment in not having a date for Friday night. It isn’t difficult to see how this type of music is relatable to teenagers, especially those who are more shy or sensitive than their peers.
Parents and school teachers shouldn’t be worried about a child embracing the Emo culture. It is good for parents to be involved with their children and know the types of music they listen to, the activities they participate in, and the friends they associate with. While it is important to allow teens the freedom to live and fail, those years are prime teaching years. The Emo music and lifestyle do not serve as a diagnosis of depression, but due to the nature of the trend it may be attractive to kids who are prone to depression or who are experimenting with the socially constructed depression lifestyle.
As a style of music, and even as a fashion trend focusing on black clothes with bright colored accents, Emo is no different than any other hobby or style, but if it becomes a self-soothing lifestyle it may be a warning sign. Extremes in any hobby or style can indicate social or personal difficulties posing a struggle for someone. In the extremes with Emo, self-injurious behavior or substance abuse may occur, as forms of self-medication. But these aren’t the focus of Emo as a trend, and associations with Emo culture do not mean a child is involved with them.
A parent who is involved with their child will know if Emo is a fashion style or a lifestyle. On the surface Emo doesn’t indicate a danger to those participating in the culture and is simply a preference for music and fashion. While the tight pants and brightly colored hair may seem comical and impractical to adults, it is an important form of self-expression for many people. The music is varied, as with all genres. Some of it is written and performed by teens just starting out and looking for a creative outlet. Some of it is written by experienced musicians and songwriters who craft some amazing and moving songs. Emo is a music influenced subculture with a heavy focus on fashion, primarily embraced by teens and twenty-somethings.