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EMO — short for ’emotional’ — is a subculture, music and fashion movement. It is named after a type of music characterised by an emotional and confessional tone.

Emo fans tend to be introverted, sensitive, moody and alienate — but also open about their emotions.

As with Goth, EMO is often blamed when things go wrong.

Sometimes it is too easy to blame the music. With news this week of the deaths of Melbourne teenagers Jodie Gater and Stephanie Gestier, the menace and melodrama of “emo” subculture became the latest target.

Emo, text-speak for “emotional”, has been around since the 1980s but only recently surfaced in the mainstream media via the commercial success of bands such as Dashboard Confessional, New Jersey’s My Chemical Romance and the suburban proliferation of the music’s mostly juvenile followers, characterised by black clothing, asymmetric haircuts and a melancholy air.

The music blends goth and punk influences but it is songs such as Dashboard Confessional’s If You Can’t Leave it Be, Might as Well Make it Bleed that have raised the ire of commentators quick to link the music to acts of self-mutilation and suicide.

Hunched and depressed, emos are not the first rock’n’rollers to cop the blame for youth malaise and bad posture.

From Black Sabbath to goth-rocker Marilyn Manson and the disaffected pin-up boy Kurt Cobain, the dramatic lyrics and costumes of the dark music genres have always been a more tangible enemy than the behavioural and mental health problems that contribute to a young person’s decision to stop living.
– Source: Music takes another trip down the scapegoat road, Brisbane Times, Australia, Apr. 26, 2007

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First published (or major update) on Thursday, April 26, 2007.
Last updated on July 07, 2024.

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