Finding EMO!

Two days ago, I watched a very troubling talk show on TV about a new “trend” that’s taking hold among Egyptian youth. The talk show featured a TV presenter, a Therapist and three appalling looking young “males” (not men) with long black curls brushed across most of their faces and black clothing all over.

emo boys

emo boys

They were talking about themselves and defending their style and lifestyle in front of the TV presenter’s attacks, and they kept referring to themselves as EMOZ! They were EMOZ and proud!!

I’ve been seeing them around lately, in cafes, and night spots, but I never knew it was part of a bigger movement. Naïve me, I thought they were just following a new abhorring and disgusting western trend, turns out, I was wrong! I was very wrong…

In the teenagers never-ending quest to be misunderstood, a new trend have surfaced and as usual rapidly been exported to our shallow and western infatuated youth, Say hello to EMO! (not EMOZ as they were calling themselves in the TV show, I blame their bad English).

The EMO trend is described by FTV as the next big thing. So what exactly is an EMO?

I decided to dig into it on the web and here is what I found…

Emo as Music

The Wikipedia defines Emo as “a style of rock music typically characterized by melodic musicianship and expressive, often confessional lyrics. It originated in the mid-1980s hardcore punk movement, where it was known as “emotional hardcore” or “emocore”. As the style was echoed by contemporary American punk bands, its sound and meaning shifted and changed, blending with pop punk and indie rock. By the mid 1990s numerous EMO acts emerged as a new trend among youngsters, and several independent record labels began to specialize in the style.

Emo broke into mainstream culture in the early 2000s with the platinum-selling success of Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional and the emergence of the more aggressive subgenre “screamo”. In recent years the term “emo” has been applied by critics and journalists to a variety of artists.”


The answer is this: Emo means different things to different people. Short for “emotive” or “emotional” (depending on whom you ask), emo being amorphous enrages those loyal to their version. But in the ever-mutating virus we know as American pop culture, emo definition extends to mean a vast array of Musical, fashion, fake-ideological, suicidal and sub-cultural movements .

Today emo is commonly tied to both music and fashion as well as an inspiration toward the emo subculture ,and the term “emo” is sometimes stereotyped with tight jeans on males and females alike, long fringe (bangs) brushed to one side of the face or over one or both eyes, dyed black, straight hair, tight designer t-shirts, studded belts, belt buckles, canvas sneakers or skate shoes or other black shoes and thick, black horn-rimmed glasses.

This fashion has been characterized as a fad, fake and shallow. Early on, emo fashion was associated with a clean cut look but as the style spread to younger teenagers, the style has become darker, with long bangs and emphasis on the color black replacing sweater vest In recent years the popular media have associated emo with a stereotype that includes being emotional, sensitive, shy, introverted, or angst-ridden. It is also associated with depression, self-injury, self-mutilation and suicide.

Emo as fashion statement

The Urban Dictionary says “EMO is one step below transvestite”!!! but we don’t wanna go that far, now do we?

For major labels, emo became the grunge of the new millennium. The original bands inspired by Fugazi’s art-over-commerce spirit either split up or changed direction. But that didn’t matter. Emo morphed into anything mopey and marketable.

trendy fashion?

trendy fashion?

EMO became the sanctuary for kids who feel like outsiders, and an insult tossed out by those who believe themselves stronger and better then emo geeks.

In a fashion sense, the new emo is the perfect outlet for white feeble superficial teens to try on dark personalities, and try to look tormented, miserable and original.

Emo as a sub-culture

suicidal or looking for attention?

suicidal or looking for attention?

The Emos regard themselves as a cool, young sub-set of the Goths. Although the look is similar, the point of distinction is their celebration of self-harm and mutilation.

Emos exchange competitive messages on their teenage websites about the scars on their wrists and how best to display them.

self-mutilation as a way of expression

self-mutilation as a way of expression

Any instant Emo Kit site, gives it’s visitors advice on how to become an emo, and the advice is always somewhere along these lines: Wear a child’s T-shirt with a slogan such as ‘Unhappy Kid’, dye your hair black and cover your face with it and drive a Vespa, but above all, ‘show your inner despair by looking like you are too sad to live.’ And this is where the drive for self mutilation stems.

Emo in EGYPT! (turned by it’s own followers into EMOZ)

To fashion labels EMO is just another way to con the ever-confused teens out of their money, and they don’t care that the association of this fashion cult, makes teens become suicidal and tend to self mutilate. But as the emo sub-culture (like any other trend) was exported to the mindless is Egyptian youth, it gained a new edge.

The ones I seen on TV were not clean cut, actually they were far from it. They looked like a greasy and sleazy form of genderless creatures. They looked like a new version of Tamer Hosny (the greasiest person alive to date) morphed into a Nu-Goth, and that was such a disturbing notion that it gave me the creeps.

On the TV show, these EGY-EMOZ, tried to associate themselves with an American web-based nonprofit help group, called “To write love on her arms”, aimed at helping teenagers who are depressed and those who turn to self mutilations. Now I have searched the group’s website in any relation between the emo trend and the group, and found none!

And my question is: Why does She have to write anything in her arms?!!

The answer to depression and self mutilation, is not becoming an EMO, the answer is a better understanding of life and getting closer to God. But if that’s too conventional for you, or too corny! Turn on Dr. Phil, or any of those self-help, self-love gurus or read a book!

man or hermaphrodite?

man or hermaphrodite?

EMO is just a new cool look, that is asexual and hermaphrodite, which is against our nature and ethics of our society and culture. These idiotic androgynous are following a trend they don’t even believe in or understand.

A trend devised by white geeky Americans who love to feel bad about themselves. People who are so shallow that they think that being sophisticated means being miserable. Well to those EGY-EMOZ down here; lads, we don’t need that, we have all the reasons to be miserable as it is, no need to be depressed about yourself.

One of the most annoying characteristics of teenagers is their refusal to open their curtains. Their world is almost always dark and airless. If this environment is coupled with the shallowness, ignorance, the psychological traits of self-pity, introspection, self-dramatization and the teenage hormonal imbalance, you have a suicidal cult who are ready to damage themselves and there community.

The loss of identity our teenagers (and non-teenagers alike) suffer from is so severe. Some of them follow any bizarre trend in a futile attempt to be unique and original. If these trends are not addressed by the cultured society and intellects, the result can be catastrophic; either these teens will drift away even further, effectively ruining their lives and their communities, or there will be a governmental crackdown on those cults (like the Satanics fiasco of the 90’s) which will also have severe effects on these teens and the teenage generation in general.

When it comes to music (and life in general), I would like to consider myself open-minded. I am always eager to discover new trends, and I would never criticize a person for having different interests. Except when it comes to those emoz kids. They are embarrassing to look at, and the music is just pure crap.

So if you still want to be an EMO go write some bad poetry. But please, Save us the nausea and don’t walk around looking like sissies.

11 thoughts on “Finding EMO!

  1. Thats true Will, The TV presenter was not equipped to handle the subject he debated and i’m not defending him in any way, but, then again he acted as any other TV presenter, he exploited the situation to his advantage, in order to get good ratings or viewership, and he succeeded at it, hence they aired the Talk show twice!!!

    But still, these emos were absolutely clueless, they didn’t even know how to defend themselves or what they supposedly believe in, which really shows that they are just imitating something they don’t understand for the sake of getting attention and being “different”.

    • people need to pay more attention to what they need or nothing will help…. trust and believe…. im emo and im stayin that way!!!!!

  2. LOL. Don’t be that deffensive, Radwan. Again, I mean no attack on you or any devaluation of your argument or intellect. I just posted this because, as I reflected on the whole debate on TV, on your blogpost and on Facebook, I remembred these quotes. I think that this debate, as well as most other debates on socially controversial issues in Egypt but also in the West, end up being associative and affective. I was just in a satirical mood!! However, you have to forgive me because your arcticle is essentially satirical!

  3. I honestly don’t know why did you post these quotes. Is it because you want to imply that I am a “typical” and “ordinary” citizen, in the sense that my opinions and arguments posted on this blog are primitive and ignorant?
    Or is it just a remark that you thought was relevant to the blog? Anyhow, I would have preferred that you stick to the subject and debate me on something more relevant to the topic of the articles posted here, instead of quoting someone.
    Nonetheless, I agree with the quote’s argument (or some of it), I’ve noticed this phenomena of “dropping down IQ” in many intellectuals before, especially when it comes to discussing Politics, Religion and Soccer!) and maybe this really also applies to me, after all, I’m not above or better than the “ordinary citizen” anyways! and never claimed to be.
    However don’t you agree that ultimately this is a generalization? and don’t you agree also that these quotes sound a bit elitist?
    I don’t know who is McDermott, but if I’m not mistaken Schumpeter was the one who advocated for a New type of democracy that would ban the “ordinary” citizens (or the mob in his opinion) from the political scene so that their ignorance and superficiality, wouldn’t “meddle” with politics!

  4. “The typical citizen drops down to a lower level of mental performance as soon as he enters the political field. He argues and analyzes in a way which he would readily recognize as infantile within the sphere of his real interests. He becomes a primitive again. His thinking becomes associative and affective.”
    McDermott (2004)

    “The ordinary citizen’s ignorance and lack of judgment in matters of domestic and foreign policy . . . are if anything more shocking in the case of educated people and of people who are successfully active in non-political walks of life. . . . Information is plentiful and readily available. But this does not seem to make any difference. “
    Schumpeter (1950)

  5. Thank you for your comment Ahmed, I really appreciate your constructive criticism.
    My audience dear Ahmed is the Egyptians upper middle class, whom all now talk and read English, those are the people on facebook, and those are the people who are exposed to the “emo” trend.
    My audience are also members of cultural group such as Pen-Temple-Pilots and Sahara-Safaris, which are English cultural groups in Egypt.
    As to why my articles are almost always in English, well the answer is simple really, (but sad and unfortunate at the same time) my command of Written English, is so much better than my command of Written Arabic. In other words my written Arabic is Zebela!
    I agree it puts limitation on my reach and reader-base, but alas, that’s why I’m confined to expressing my opinion on a blog or an occasional English youth magazine and not perusing a more active line of activism.
    As for Modernism, that’s not the title of the article, that’s the title of the Blog altogether, the title of the article is “Finding EMO”.
    I don’t claim that I have a better understanding of anything, I don’t claim I’ve a better knowledge than anyone. I’m just trying to put what little I’ve got to good use. Hence I called my blog Rants, because that’s all they are really, Rants!
    And I don’t mean Modernism as a social or cultural movement; what I mean by Modernism is way more simpler than this, I mean Modern as Present thought and culture. The Modern era, or times ya3ni.
    As a rule of thumb I try to avoid generalizations and stereotyping; I’m actually very critical of both, because I know how harmful these two approaches are to any cultural debate or to the analysis of any phenomena; but at the end of the day I’m only human, and if I fall in the trap of any these vices it is not intentionally and I don’t mean any simplification of the articles subject.
    I hope I answered some of your concerns and if you have anymore ones, please don’t shy away from expressing them, it’s why I write these rants in the first place, so we can criticize and debate.

  6. Thank you Ahmad, well written. It’s as if these poor kids (I’m sure they’ll love being called so) think looking like “Emoz” they’ll look more like people belonging to the developed world. While “Emoz” are in fact a burden on the developed world, Egypt is already under developed and nothing is balancing this vanity. I tell them, if you want misery, try to watch the news or drive through the slums.

  7. I appreciate your activism and your concern about the state of the Egyptian society, its customs and traditions. I totally agree with you that young Egyptians, especially in the middle and upper classes suffer an identity crisis. This is a worldwide phenomenon that manifests itself differently in every culture. However I have some concerns about your argument. I don’t want to dismiss it but I think you need more research and some self criticism. Please take my following remarks in a constructive way as I mean no offense.
    I have many questions but I will only put forward the ones that strike me the most. In general, there is a clear paradox: Who’s your audience? And if you’re so concerned about the westernization of the Egyptian society, why are your articles always in English? Regarding this article, I wonder what you mean by “modernism” in the title. This term, to my understanding, designates practices related to “modernity”, which is a bygone era in both Western intelligentsia and pop culture. I do not believe that the cultural phenomenon that you’re criticizing here belongs to this era. I also have some concerns about the use of some other terms and about some erroneous generalizations and stereotyping. However, I will stop here.
    Thank you for your critical reflections and I hope to see more of them.

  8. Pingback: Finding EMO! « Rants on modernism

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