I was just reading on the Reason Magazine blog that emo kids in Russia are protesting a potential ban on emo because the Duma says it promotes antisocial and suicidal behaviors. This comes on the heels of widespread emo persecution and rioting in Mexico.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the music and fashion should be banned, but I would like to pass along some advice my mother imparted on me when I was in high school.
“When you’re older, you’re going to look back and be embarrassed by how stupid you looked.”
Of course I didn’t believe her at the time, being a tortured youth no one (besides probably everyone who’s ever been a teenager) understood. But as I observed an emo girl applying eyeliner on her boyfriend at the mall a couple weeks ago, I thought, “If only you could see how stupid you look right now. And that is so unsanitary.”
My mom, as always, was right. These kids’ parents should be telling them that your identity is defined more by your character than your silly Hot Topic outfits. Or better yet, that they’re not leaving the house until they change into something less ridiculous. I am all for making a statement with your wardrobe. But emo kids look about as unique as sugar cookies.
I would even venture to say that ten years from now, they’ll be embarrassed by the garbage music they listen to. I still listen to a lot of the same stuff I did in high school (Today, in fact, I listened to both Radiohead and Spiritualized just as I had in ninth grade). And I respect some older emo, like Cursive and Sunny Day Real Estate. But Panic! at! the! Disco! was on SNL last Saturday and not only was the screeching unbearable, I couldn’t imagine anyone over the age of 16 enjoying it.
I am a proponent of freedom of expression. And I think banning emo — which has evolved from, as some emo band guy said, “a psychological emotion,” into a contrived marketing ploy to siphon money from impressionable young adults — is going too far. Looking ten years from now at pictures of themselves at their most emo should be enough punishment for these kids.