One of the things that makes the emo subculture so controversial in the first place is that androgyny and gender bending are so controversial in general. Many people are sticklers for conventional gender roles and they don’t like to see people go against them in any way. The emo boys who choose the emo style are certainly defying conventional gender roles in that way.
The mere act of participation in the emo subculture, of course, is an act of gender role defiance. Men in most cultures are expected to be tough, unemotional, and competitive. Being a sensitive guy may be popular among women these days, but lots of the men who adhere to the old system are threatened by the men who are shedding the traditional image of men. They’re trying to defend it in any way that they can, and they see all sensitive, emo men as being threats to a standard that they consider important to their identity.
Emo boys are happy to indulge in what they actually feel rather than pretending to be unemotional and competitive all the time. Men are not naturally like this, since they all have to be ordered and taught not to cry as little boys. Lots of them grow up and internalize all of those attitudes, and they respond to crying people in the same way that their parents responded to them when they were crying. The emo boys that they target in the modern era are usually going to be subject to these internalized attitudes.
Emo kids are a popular target and have been for nearly a decade, if not more. Even before the term ’emo’ was coined and before it was popularized during the 2000’s, individuals who are openly angst-ridden have raised praise in some circles and condemnation in other circles. The circles that shame them for the angst tend to want the people in question to just get over whatever it is that is causing them emotional pain. They will also frequently trivialize that emotional pain.
Emo people are often told that they’re just doing what they do for attention, and that they do not really feel what they claim that they are feeling. Many emo people will counter and say that they dress the way that they do because they’re trying to express themselves emotionally and they’re trying to attract the attention of the people who think like them. Choosing a particular manner of dress and a manner of speech is going to accomplish that more effectively than just choosing to be invisibly emo.
There is more to the emo subculture than meets the eye. It isn’t just about dramatic hair and clothing. It isn’t even just about music that is extremely emotional. Emo music is about the authenticity of the human emotional experience and that it is okay for a person to express his or her emotions, regardless of what society has to think about it. Emo people will also usually champion a man’s right to wear eyeliner and be more sensitive and androgynous, no matter what society has to say on the matter. Emo people are trying to be as expressive as possible in every way, and they are really trying to find a way to encourage other people to move in that exact same direction. Emo people are individuals who think on an individualistic level. Some of its detractors understand that and some of them do not.
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