Emo (pronounced /ˈiːmoʊ/) is a style of rock music typically characterized by melodic musicianship and expressive, often confessional lyrics. It originated in the mid-1980s hardcore punk movement of Washington, D.C., where it was known as "emotional hardcore" or "emocore" and pioneered by bands such as Rites of Spring and Embrace. As the style was echoed by contemporary American punk rock bands, its sound and meaning shifted and changed, blending with pop punk and indie rock and encapsulated in the early 1990s by groups such as Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate. By the mid 1990s numerous emo acts emerged from the Midwestern and Central United States, and several independent record labels began to specialize in the style.
Emo broke into mainstream culture in the early 2000s with the platinum-selling success of Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional and the emergence of the subgenre "screamo". In recent years the term "emo" has been applied by critics and journalists to a variety of artists, including multiplatinum acts and groups with disparate styles and sounds.
In addition to music, "emo" is often used more generally to signify a particular relationship between fans and artists, and to describe related aspects of fashion, culture, and behavior.
Fashion and stereotype
Today emo is commonly tied to both music and fashion as well as the emo subculture. Usually among teens, the term "emo" is stereotyped with wearing skinny jeans, sometimes in bright colors, and tight t-shirts (usually short-sleeved) which often bear the names of emo bands. Studded belts and black wristbands are common accessories in emo fashion. Some males also wear thick, black horn-rimmed glasses.
The emo fashion is also recognized for its hairstyles. Popular looks include long side-swept bangs, sometimes covering one or both eyes. Also popular is hair that is straightened and dyed black. Bright colors, such as blue, pink, red, or bleached blond, are also typical as highlights in emo hairstyles. Short, choppy layers of hair are also common. This fashion has at times been characterized as a fad.In the early 2000s, emo fashion was associated with a clean cut look but as the style spread to younger teenagers, the style has become darker, with long bangs and emphasis on the color black replacing sweater vests.
Emo has been associated with a stereotype that includes being particularly emotional, sensitive, shy, introverted, or angst-ridden.It has also been associated with depression, self-injury, and suicide.
Criticism and controversy
Emo has been criticized for its androcentrism.Andy GreenwaldThe triumph of the "lonely boy's aesthetic" in emo, coupled with the style's popularity, has led to a litany of one-sided songs in which males vent their fury at the women who have wronged them:Some emo bands' lyrics disguise violent anti-women sentiments in a veneer of pop music. However, despite emo's frequent portrayal of women as powerless victims, fans of the style are from both genders, and some acts have even greater popularity with women than with men.One explanation for this is that the unifying appeal of emo, its expression of emotional devastation, can be appreciated equally by both sexes regardless of the songs' specific subjects. notes that there are very few women in emo bands, and that even those few do not typically have an active voice in the songs' subject matter: "Though emo—and to a certain degree, punk—has always been a typically male province, the monotony of the labels' gender perspective can be overwhelming."
The genre emo inspired a backlash movement in response to its rapid growth. Several bands considered to be "emo" rejected the label for the social stigma and controversy surrounding it.Warped Tour founder, Kevin Lyman stated that there was a "real backlash" among bands on the tour towards emo groups, but he dismissed the hostility as "juvenile" in nature.The movement grew with intensity over time. Time Magazine reported in 2008 that "anti-emo" groups attacked teenagers in Mexico City, Querétaro, and Tijuana. In Russia, a law was presented at the Duma to regulate emo websites and forbid emo style at schools and government buildings, for fears of emo being a "dangerous teen trend" promoting anti-social behaviour, depression, social withdrawal and even suicide. In May 2010 in Saudi Arabia, the religious police in the city of Dammam arrested 10 emo girls for allegedly offensive un-Islamic behaviour and dress.
Emo music has been blamed for the suicide by hanging of teenager Hannah Bond by both the coroner at the inquest into her death and her mother, Heather Bond, after it was claimed that emo music glamorized suicide and her apparent obsession with My Chemical Romance was said to be linked to her suicide. The inquest heard that she was part of an Internet "emo" cult and her Bebo page contained an image of an 'emo girl' with bloody wrists. It also heard that she had discussed the "glamour" of hanging online and had explained to her parents that her self harming was an "emo initiation ceremony". Heather Bond criticised emo fashion, saying: "There are 'emo' websites that show pink teddies hanging themselves." After the verdict was reported in NME, fans of emo music contacted the magazine to defend against accusations that it promotes self harm and suicide.