In today’s society teens are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. They’re influenced by television, movies, billboards, and magazine covers while trying to figure out their identity. While most teens are going through adolescence they try different looks to see which one suits them. Different clothes, hairstyles, music, and groups have a major influence on who they hang out with and even the choices that they make.
The clicks available to them are (in their words) Punks, Geeks, Emo, Jocks, Rockers, and Gothic, just to name a few. Stereotypically the geeks are heavily into education, sports are the only thing the jocks think about, punks and rockers enjoy music, and Emo and Gothic kids like donning somewhat odd apparel and they’re strange and violent. No matter what group kids fall into, it’s important to know a little about the history and the appeal.
When I talked to some teens that were self proclaimed “Emo Kids”. I found that being “Emo” is different than the way the media described it. In their minds being “Emo” is a style, a trend, an out of the ordinary way to look, which they really like. However when I went on the internet and did some research on my own, I found that the way it was described was dark and concerning. Because I don’t believe everything I read, I decided to talk to kids to see why this fashion and/or way of life appealed to them.
“Emo” which is short for “Emotional” is a type of music and is connected with fashion and/or style. “Emocore” is a term used to define their music which is a cross between punk and hardcore. It became popular in Washington D.C. in the 80’s, but has really exploded on the scene over the past few years. The teens that I spoke with were both male and female and in upper middle to early high school ages.
The first person I spoke with was Rick, he was a 16 year old self proclaimed “Emo Kid”. He wore tight jeans, darker in color. His hair was longer in length and draped over one side, with his bangs covering his eyes. He wore a tight t-shirt that had a band name on it, which obviously was one of his favorites because it wasn’t clearly visible. He had a few piercings on is face including one on the eyebrow and one below the lower lip. I talked to him for about a half an hour and our conversation focused on school, friends, and his parents. When talking about his friends he stated that they weren’t a large group but they were loyal, fun to hang out with, and had style. When commenting on his parents he said that they didn’t understand him and didn’t really know who he was or what his interests were. He liked school because it was there that he and his friends were able to hang out, plus his grades were good. He seemed like a great kid, not in any way rude, seemingly happy, with a good head on his shoulders.
The second I spoke with was Rachael. She too was a self proclaimed “Emo Kid” and was 15, just starting high school. She had tight jeans, the same hair style except she had chunks of color. Her fingernails were painted black and she also wore a t-shirt, but hers was plain. She walked in Vans and although she didn’t have piercings on her face, she had several in her ears and one in her mouth. Although she shared the fashion trend of Rick, she was quite different. She was very withdrawn, quiet, and didn’t have much to say. She did share things about her family, though not very positive. She too mentioned that her parents didn’t know much about her and she felt shunned by them as well as other adults in her life. She had a difficult time in school because, in her words, “they look at me and judge me. They don’t know who I am, what I like, and they ignore me both at home and at school”. She did have good things to say about her friends which also were “Emo Kids”. When I asked her about talking or interacting with her parents she said that she usually doesn’t share anything with them. Instead she writes poetry and lyrics for songs, which some, but not all, are about suicide. But she made it known that she had never tried to commit suicide nor was the thought ever entertained. As our conversation continued she let me read some of her writings and I was saddened because they were dark and seemed to have been written out of her depression. I later asked her what would make things different for her and she said “for people to understand me”.
The internet did give me information about their style and music; as well as the characteristics of the typical “Emo Kid”, however it was general. What I did find out was what they’re interested in varies with each person. Both Rick and Rachael live their lives as “Emo Kids”, but it doesn’t make them any different than you or I. It doesn’t mean that because they cut their hair a certain way, they automatically are on drugs or violent. Or if they wear jeans that are a size smaller than they should be, they are planning on committing a crime. Every person, every child is just trying to find themselves. Some choose country, gospel, rock, or punk, but they are just the same as everyone else. They have problems and struggles, success and failures, but most importantly they have great potential.