Ok, so I tutor this kid. She is a lovely girl, fourteen years old and very well liked by everyone in her class not because she is amazing looking or cool but because she is nice. She believes in talking to people when they have problems at school or when they seem upset and she is really open minded for a kid her age...BUT -and yes, it's a huge but, all capital letters- she refers to people dressed in black as emo. The first time she did it I wanted to punch her in the face but then I realized. It's not her fault. She just doesn't know it any better. For her all those weird spooky people that wear black and dye their hair in crazy colours are emos. Punks, visual keys, goths, scene kids, everyone is emo to her. She doesn't mean it as an insult, how could she, she doesn't even know what the word "emo" means! I asked her to descibe the people she refers to as emo and why she thinks they are emo and she just said "Uhm, they wear black..."
So I sat her down and explained it to her. I told her that emo is short for emotional and that it is a term that originally comes from a music genre, a genre that used to be popular but is dying out. I told her that no, emo kids do not cut themselves and no, they are not sad all the time. Furthermore, I explained that probably 99% of the kids she calls emo wouldn't call themselves that, simply because it is a friggin' music genre. A person cannot be emo, they can listen to emo, that's it.
She told me that if she wouldn't know me she would think I am emo but when asked she couldn't really answer why she would think so except for the obligatory "You wear black..." statement. I didn't like the idea that someone would think of me as emo but then I thought: Why?
Why do I mind being labled wrong? People never really get what I am because I am nothing but a human being. If I cared for labels I'd call myself a goth or a quaintrelle but when someone asks me whether I am a metalhead I just say no, no hard feelings. So why do people hate the term emo? Bands try to avoid being called emo, kids use it as an insult... Why?
To me it is the stereotypes that annoy me. What the common school bully calls emo is someone who wears too tight black jeans, cuts him or herself in order to get attention (which is a stupid thing to assume!), always sits alone in the corner and whines about how their life sucks. Oh, and emo kids are of course all gay.
We all know those stereotypes and we all know they are stupid, still I don't want people to think that stuff about me because that is simply not who I am. I do listen to bands that are falsely called emo such as My Chemical Romance or Billy Talent but no, that does not mean that I am suicidal.
I think the steretypes concerning emo are not only stupid but also dangerous. When kids believe that it is a form of lifestyle when others harm themselves or have depressions they won't see it as what it is: A mental illness. Do those kids also make fun about cancer? People who suffer from depressions, are suicidal or harm themselves need help, what they definately do NOT need is being bullied for being sad, for listening to comforting music or for writing poems about their feelings. I know, kids are cruel but that is simply too much.
I tried to explain all this to the girl I tutor and even though she probably didn't understand all of that I am pretty sure she understood that you shouldn't label people.
Labels are for cans.
Have a great day,