By Gael Bernal
An angst-ridden teenager wearing black tees, black eyeglasses, tight pants, and Converse shoes who listens to loud and depressing punk music. Usually, this is the image that comes to mind when "emo" is mentioned. But, what is emo really about? Is it just a trend among rebellious kids who wish to be unique? Is it those emotional punk music we often hear nowadays? As trendy as it is, many people still don't understand what the terminology emo really refers to.
As a subgenre of music, emo had its roots in the mid 1980s when punk rock bands, based in Washington DC, started experimenting with their music and began adding more introspective and personal lyrics to their songs. During their concerts, emo bands such as Rites of Spring and Embrace became so emotional that their fans coined "emo" as a way to describe their rousing performances. From then on, the pattern of this type of music has been characterized by deeply felt and dramatic lyrics as well as loud and haunting melodies. Since its conception in the 1980s, various Emo bands such as My Chemical Romance and Panic! at the Disco have successfully crossovered from the underground punk rock scene to the mainstream music charts. Furthermore, inspired by emo musical genre, fans of these genre have developed a distinct type of fashion and attitude which personifies the music and lifestyle of various emo bands.
In the emo music scene, the emo kid is generally defined as someone who goes against popular culture and traditions. Regardless of what other people think, the emo kid typically feels comfortable with his lifestyle choices in music and fashion. Usually, the emo kid expresses his feelings and emotions through the arts such as painting, poetry, and music. Due to the sad and tragic lyrics of emo subgenre of music, the emo kid often becomes stereotyped as a depressed and angry individual. However, the emo kid doesn't necessarily have a melancholic and subdued demeanor at all times. Just like other regular teenagers, the emo kid can be lively and energetic in the company of his friends or when watching emo band concerts.
Over the years, two fashion styles associated with the lifestyle of emo have emerged. Developed in the 1990s, the first fashion style typically includes clothes bought from thrift stores like tight-fit jeans and shirts with different designs and pictures of punk bands. Aside from the usual black garb, some emo kids also wear clothes with shades of brown or khaki. On the other hand, the second fashion associated with the lifestyle of emo is characterized by dark clothes with gothic designs. Usually, emo kids who ascribe to this gothic emo fashion wear tailored pants. Aside from the clothes, emo kids also wear accessories such as eyewear and multicolored wristbands. Typically, emo kids who follow the gothic emo fashion style wear make-up and also have several body piercings.