‘Emo’ – Not an Insult

Here comes a hellstorm of anger.

Say you come across Black Veil Brides, and don’t have a fully open mind, you may be shocked and slightly disturbed. Once you look deeper, however, you begin to realise they aren’t just costumes and makeup and hairspray – they’re lovely people who make great music and love what they do. So, simply because of their exterior, I’d say a large proportion of people would define them as ’emo’ or something ridiculous of the like.

A quick real dictionary definition. Emo is broadly used as an insult, as I have found. People sling it at other people as an insult, but the undertone is more or less ‘you’re depressed’ or ‘you’re wearing black’ or ‘you’re listening to rock music’, which is all perfectly fine – except being depressed. Get help if you’re depressed. The real definition of Emo is this: a style of rock music resembling punk but having more complex arrangements and lyrics that deal with more emotional subjects. Not so bad, huh? A trustworthy source, Urban Dictionary, states that: A group of white, mostly middle-class well-off kids who find imperfections in there life and create a ridiculous, depressing melodrama around each one. They often take anti-depressants, even though the majority don’t need them. They need to wake up and deal with life like everyone else instead of wallowing in their imaginary quagmire of torment. And: You have the fake, trendy, bullshit emo. These are the people that force themselves to be emo, try to dramatize their life, and think wearing black and cutting your wrists is emo. Although controversial, it gets my point out there. People who like ’emo’ music aren’t all wrist cutters.

So. Back to some other stuff. An influential band, and one of my favourites, My Chemical Romance are labelled as ’emo’ pretty often. Yes, if you’re like me and love them to death (May Death Never Stop You), you will have listened to their lyrics. And not just bopped your head a bit and sung along, you’ve really heard them. Granted some of the lyrics elude to certain things, but this doesn’t mean they are (or were) a band full of wrist-cutters. To clear things up – Gerard Way, lead singer and songwriter (in which he’s amazing at) and simultaneously a pretty fantastic comic book writer, does have a past littered with depression, alcoholism and drug abuse. Does this define him? No. He’s a brilliant person who has made mistakes, but soldiered on, and didn’t play the whole ‘tortured soul’ card as an artist.

So just remember next time as you think of the word emo, are you using it to insult or hurt someone? Or are you using it to describe a genre of music?

ASCL

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