Yesterday the Lousiville Parenting Examiner posted an article by Lori Soard that is an outright flagrant, piss-poor excuse for journalism. Yellow journalism wouldn’t even want to have anything to do with this article. By this point, there have been numerous poorly-contrived articles and “news” pieces that basically reiterate stereotypes and cliches about emo, going as far as to call it a cult. And by this point, these fragments of stories have gone bunk. Which is why it’s so unnerving that this article even exists. Moreso, that it’s written for a site that appeals directly to parents and directly addresses their darkest fears, cutting out rhyme and reason. Here’s a look at the article:
“Is your child’s fascination with black emo hairstyles, emo clothes a mild and passing fascination, or is your child in serious trouble of getting sucked into this scary and often deadly culture? What is emo anyway?
Emo stands for “emotionally disturbed”. Emo kids:
- Wear black and very dark colors
- Dye their hair black or deep, dark colors
- Often wear one straight long swag of hair over one eye
- Wear black eye makeup, nail polish and lipstick
- Are into piercings
- Are sad and moody and broody all the time
- Listen to music about death and suicide
- Cut and hurt themselves
There is a trend going through many skills, even as early as fourth of fifth grade, where kids want to be emo. Not all of them understand what it entails and simply think they are being cool. Like many things, this starts off small and can become a serious problem quickly. A quick Google hunt on emo will turn up multiple suicides, drug addictions and other serious emotional and mental health issues. Something that starts small and innocent can quickly turn life threatening for your child.”
More than this simply being an issue of nitpicking about the misrepresentations of a genre, this is dangerous because, as the article continues, it advocates for parents to interfere on youth’s privacy and lives, when if they are indeed upset or depressed, this would be the last choice of action. This creates more problems rather than pinpointing any direct issue that’s upsetting youth. This is not an issue of “emo,” but of people and how we interact as a society, which is why I’m intrested in the subject of emo in the first place. I wrote a response to the piece, which is posted in the article’s comments section:
“Do you have any idea why a quick google search will link emo with suicide? Because “articles” like this are posted to the Internet without any consideration of factual content, analytical research, or cohesive argument. This is the same incorrect argument that was heaved at rock music in the 50s when it was declared to be the devil’s music. Considering rock music is the parent/grandparent of most modern pop (including emo), and that pop music is inherently consumed on a massive level (relegating the term “popular music”), most of our society has been reared on rock music. How many of those individuals are involved in Satanist cults?
Simply put, Lori Soard is doing a disservice to anyone who reads the Examiner as a point of reference to real issues concerning people today. True, emotionally disturbed children are in need of help and proper outlets for what’s going on, but there’s no direct correlation between depressed youth and the post-hardcore genre known as emo. A portion of these depressed youngsters may be attracted to emo simply because certain songs may speak to their experience… but for the most part, I have yet to come across a single song that advocates for suicide.
This scare-mongering is the very problem that may force children to resent their parents and guardians because instead of addressing issues that relate to the child, they’re willing to blame anything on some outside source, going as far as to call it a “cult” rather than trying to observe more immediate problems at home. Didn’t McCarthyism end decades ago?
Sites such as Google are in no way shape or form viable sources of information, especially for someone who would consider themselves to be something of a “journalist.” However, while Wikipedia may not be a source of correct information, one look at it’s page on emo will directly point to veritable sources of information that negate these negative and incorrect stereotypes.
Don’t believe that? Try reading books such as “My So-Called Punk,” “Post,” and “Nothing Feels Good,” which may have differing opinions of the culture/genre, but can place it as a 20+ year phenomenon that has little to do with belonging to a cult. Or simply read any reputable news source that would debunk this myth in a minute. Simply read… don’t make stuff up to scare parents away from properly interacting with their children. “
You can read the rest of Soard’s piece here. I highly suggest commenting on the article, as it does a terrible disservice to youth and individuals who have real psychological trouble, as well as their families, and any and all youth who are attracted to a subculture of any kind.