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What is Emo?

Recently, acts such as My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy have brought the world of eyeliner, girls’ jeans, and angsty lyrics to the mainstream. The success of these bands has prompted the most perplexing, and annoying, question: What is emo?

Everybody wants to know.

It is the most frequently asked question on Yahoo’s ask.yahoo.com.

Simply, emo is short for emotional. Emo music can be defined as a type of punk rock with angst-ridden lyrics.

The ABC 4 Nightly News in Utah launched an investigation to find out what emo is really all about.

Immediately, this “investigation” lost all credibility by stating “[emo] is something that has come out of the Internet and into music.” I guess one would arrive at that conclusion by basing their research on MySpace and YouTube.

Although one of the reporters mentions Everybody Hurts, a new book about emo culture, he doesn’t appear to have read any of it.

Emo dates back to the ‘80s, before MySpace. Bands such as Jawbreaker and Rites of Spring are credited with the birth of Emo, though it did not resemble what people label emo today.


“I think it’s shitty how emo started out as a type of music and it’s become a negative stereotype for kids who wear tight pants and have black hair,” said Arielle Gutierrez, an active member of the South Florida music scene.

According to ABC 4, “advanced emo kids cut themselves.”

This report paints a picture about emo culture that is not only inaccurate, but misleading and offensive.

While emo kids might share a love for eyeliner and uneven bangs, they definitely do not give each other props for cutting.

Today, emo is only a shell of what it once was. It is difficult to argue that fashion and the Internet don’t play a large role in Emo culture. The one thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that emo is still about the music. The music that is classified as emo has changed over the years, but the music is still what draws people together. -- Lauren Papiernik

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Tovin Lapan

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