A recent wave of “anti-emo” violence broke out in Mexico last month, prompting self-described “emo kids” to take to the streets in protest. While emo has its own history far removed from the heavily-eyelined fashion statement it is today, it’s taken on its own outsider status based on the androgynous dress and association with expressing feelings. In Mexico, a lot of the violence has been precipitated on Mexico’s homo and transphobic culture. North American teens can just as easily be branded with the “fag tag” or stereotyped with mental health issues. Yet, in a lot of ways, it just comes down to teens exploring a fashion, finding a niche, or setting themselves away from the crowd.

I’m reminded of this because these stereotypes can often come to play in our own field. Recently, a coworker told me of a training in which a social worker alerted librarians that “emos” are prone to self-mutilation and should be monitored. Many of the librarians seemed fascinated with the trend and took the stereotypes to heart, not considering that emo can be just another way teens are defining their aesthetics and personal identity–something for teen librarians everywhere to engage.

If you want to get the inside scoop, you can hear it straight from the mouth of a self-professed “emo girl” at the Emo Girl Talk Podcast. If you want to see what music teens are tagging as emo for both collection development and “in the know” purposes, take a listen to the Last.fm Emo Tag Radio. And finally, show your “luv” at the new luv-emo site, where you can find the latest developments in the life and times of emo kids everywhere.

Joseph Wilk
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Teen

About Joseph Wilk

I'm a teen library assistant with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main location. Here, I'm the graphic novel and music librarian in addition to running anime, music, LGBTQ, incarcerated youth, and video programming. I'm happy to serve YALSA as a blogger, member of the Teen Tech Week committee, and as chair of the Music Interest Group. Otherwise, you can find me in da club.

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