Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Emo under attack or attacking itself?

The same paper which told us Emos are under attack in Tasmania a few days ago said back in May that Emo is connected to self harm.

The Mercury: Fears for teens :

"HOBART teenagers are being drawn to a youth subculture which actively promotes self-harm. The Emo movement, which grew out of the punk movement in the 1980s, recently hit the national news when two Victorian girls who had links to the subculture committed suicide. The movement also made the headlines in March when South Australian police investigating the murder of 15-year-old Carly Ryan uncovered a trail of internet-based Emo message boards and websites involving bondage, suicide and drug use. Tasmanian Catholic Schools Parents and Friends Federation president Bill Button said parents were very concerned about Emo culture. 'I reckon the Emo culture is more prevalent than people realise or want to face and is becoming even more prevalent because of the internet,' Mr Button said. 'Parents are concerned because all of a sudden their child, if they have access to a computer, can turn into an Emo.' Department of Health and Human Services Community Resilience and Mental Health Promotion project officer Dion Butler said the popularity of the subculture was growing in Hobart.

But it is not unique to Hobart," Mr Butler said.

"It is also very strong on the mainland where often the term Emo is seen as an insult.

"Emo stands for very emotional, and so, Emos are seen by some to be very depressed individuals with a mental-health issue.

"The reality is that apart from the self-harm issue the Emo subculture is no different from any other youth subculture and is really about young people finding a place to belong," Mr Butler said.

"Indeed it can be argued that all youth subcultures have both positive and negative effects. For example, the sports culture is seen to be positive for youth, but to an extent it encourages drinking."

Mr Butler said the only real concern was the self-harm issue.

"I understand that some Emo groups require youth to cut themselves as an initiation -- if they don't cut, they can't join," Mr Butler said.

"However, self-harm is not an exclusive Emo practice. An alarming number of teenagers engage in it, but it does appear that teenagers who identify as being Emo are more likely to engage in self-harm because of the Emo culture."

Queensland psychiatrist Graham Martin, who started researching the Emo movement when a relative started dressing in their style, agreed there were positive and negative aspects to the subculture.

"We know that young people who are resilient and connected to a group are largely protected from behaviours like self-harm and suicide," Dr Martin said.

"So the fact young people are connected to some sort of group is positive. My concern is that this subculture is about the joining together of disaffected young people who are often angry and distressed about their lives. They are then in a position where they rely only on that group and don't seem to reach out to other avenues for help."

Dr Martin said his research, particularly online, had blown him away.

"What I found was an incredible mix of extraordinary information," he said.

"There was material that was fun, material that was very intellectual and material that was absolutely horrible -- like pictures of knives and wrists with dotted lines drawn on them."

Dr Martin said he feared young people who identified with the Emo subculture were at greater risk of self-harm.

"A UK study on the Goth subculture found there was a significantly increased risk for self-harm within members of this group.

"Emos become enraged with people who suggest they are similar to Goths -- they say the distinction is that Emos hate themselves and Goths hate everyone -- but, as the reported incidence of cutting behaviours is said to be a key feature of Emo culture, the risk appears to be there."

Dr Martin said parents should not panic. "Parents should see it as a sign their child feels they can no longer talk to them and make an effort to resolve that by really listening to what their child wants to say."

Dr Martin said the community should also be concerned that growing numbers of young people felt alienated from society.

"We have to provide an environment which lets these young people talk and be heard before this gets out of hand."

Fears for teens | Mercury - The Voice of Tasmania: "May 20, 2007 12:00am

Of course it brings up the infamous British Medical Journal article which did not prove "there was a significantly increased risk for self-harm within members of this group.[ie goths]"

It proved that in a small sample of Glasgow goth teenagers more had indulged in self harm at some point in their lives than other people in the survey. Most of them did it before they became goths. So you can argue that goth actually stops self harm. See Goth stops self harm

Plus half the stuff this expert looked at online was probably a joke. I mean a statement like "they say the distinction is that Emos hate themselves and Goths hate everyone" is just nonsense. I mean there are a number of silly anti-emo websites which claim they spend time cutting themselves constantly many are not by emos. It is just a stereotype, one that some emos promote themselves as well: either because they have a sense of humour and are doing it with a satirical intent or because they take themselves too seriously and use self harm as a fashion statement. This it must be stressed is a minority, for the majority emo is about community, music and clothes and they are sick of the connection to self harm.

As noted in earlier posts professionals have consistently noted self-harm problems cannot be confined to any particular sub culture. If it was then it would be easily solved in fact it can affect any person and their clothing style is irrelevant.

The real danger is in articles like this is they it can be used as justification by thugs. If you look at anti-emo rants online most of them claim emos need to be stamped out because they self-harm. The logic is brilliant: Emos self harm therefore you have a right to harm them.
Exactly the same route is being followed as what happened after Columbine which intensified the hassle goth and metal teens faced.

It seems the murder of Carly Ryan seems to have sparked off a whole moral panic in Australia. Needs further investigation.

1 comment:

FantasyRose said...

I'm Emo yeah. And I cut myself. But that was before I even heard of Emo. People need to stop blaming the Emo subculture for everything and start looking at society as a whole. Maybe if it wasn't so screwed up people wouldn't turn to blades.