Emo is getting a bad rap in New Zealand.

First, there was the charge of a gang of so-called “emo killers” threatening youths who basically didn’t even consider themselves emo at Spotswood College; the entire incident appears to have died down and had the basic mark of sensationalist-driven journalism looking to dig up dirt on a usual – though still concerning – issue of kids picking on others who are different then them.

But a court case has taken the cultural stereotypes to an extreme. As The New Zealand Herald reports, emo was brought up in an all-too negative light:

Papanui teenager Marie Davis was not an “emo” and had never indulged in self-harm, her mother told the trial of the man charged with murdering the schoolgirl.

The question was raised in cross-examination by defence counsel Frank Hogan at the trial of Dean Stewart Cameron who denies charges of rape and murder.

This is absolutely absurd. Though I obviously wasn’t in the courtroom, from the focus of the article it’s clear that Frank Hogan and the defense have a tough case on their hands. After all, they’re relying on cultural assumptions of negative stereotypes concerning emo to either prove their client innocent or not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s beyond pushing the line of what should be accepted as actual “evidence” or even something worthy of pursuing in the courtroom.

I’m surprised the judge allowed the defense to proceed with such an ill-advised line of thinking. Clearly, Hogan was attempting to link a potential interest in emo to Davis having suicidal tendencies. Considering how any evidence supporting these connections is merely a blame-game at best and pure drivel at worst, it’s unbelievable that this was actually taken seriously in a court of law, a place that’s seen as a bastion of historically-read reason.

And what possible evidence did Hogan run on to assume that Davis was even attracted to emo in the first place? As the Herald reports:

Cross-examined, she said children used to say Marie was an “emo” because of the way she wore her hair.

Basically, not much. The article previously states that:

She had never been diagnosed as having any mental health issue. There had been no major disciplinary issues, and she had never discussed suicide, Mrs Davis told crown prosecutor Chris Lange.

So, in reality, though Davis did have fights with her mom from time to time and maybe didn’t like school all that much, she seemed like a normal teen. After all, like most normal teens:

Marie was not obsessed about anything, but she could take up to an hour a day to straighten her long hair.

I may not have been a teenaged female, but most young people with long hair would be self-conscience enough to take good care of it… though who knows if that would hold any water in court either…

Out of all of this, the ones who continue to suffer are the teens of New Zealand, who, in some feigned interest or boredom, may continue to be scrutinized by peers and elders simply for purchasing a My Chemical Romance album.


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