Friday, April 18, 2008

Emo problems in Peru and Mexico

Peru: Understanding the Emo Youth in Lima

And they are defenseless because a friend told me that he had seen many of them beaten by gangs and by punks that hang out around the Spanish Cultural Center for their appearance.

In Peru misunderstandings abound and the media hit a new low using "fake" emos in a tv programme:
About a month ago, on the local television program Close Enemies, there was a program dedicated to emos, which ridiculed and treated them poorly. The blog Descarga Directa [es] published a video, which showed part of the program, on his post “Emos on the television: Noooo!! [es]” However, what had added to the controversy was the discovery that part of the program was made with emos especially created for the occasion. This is what El Blog de Cayo [es] said on his post “False Panelists… False Emos [es]“:

Once again evidence of how this is a worldwide problem.

MTV continue their examination of Emo attacks with some interesting research. Glad to see there are some true punks in Mexico.:

Behind The Emo Attacks: We Head To Mexico City

So why does the threat of violence persist? And why are these different classes of kids — punks, goths, metalheads and emos — at war with one another? Well, according to Josh Kun, a professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications and the author of "Audiotopia: Music, Race and America" (which had a chapter dedicated to Mexican rock), the issue at the heart of all this is one of identity. In very simple terms, Mexican youth cling to the essence of what it means to be a punk or a metalhead — and they will fight to the bitter end to protect that identity from any and all infringement.

"In Mexico, rock culture has always been this super outlawed thing. ... Kids there attach themselves to a countercultural movement because it's about survival — it's an intensity we're not used to here in the States," he said. "In the '60s, rock was outlawed — you would be arrested if you were playing rock music in public, and your hair would be cut by the cops — and so there's always been this aura of it being 'rebel' music, and kids are drawn to that. To extremes.

"Punk has not been commoditized and mainstreamed to the extent it has here in the U.S., where something like 'emo' is in it's third or fourth wave, and there's nothing particularly 'alternative' about it," Kun continued. "In Mexico, it's still an underground identity, and it's taken to extremes. ... It's really striking how overly sexualized it is. Emo kids are so-called 'emo-sexuals' and punks are super-macho and straight. So when they fight, it's about identities."

And despite the rather glum predictions of those in the scene, Kun says there are already signs that emo kids are beginning to be accepted. He points to an instance in Tijuana, one of the sites of the original violence, where rather than attack emos, punkeros decided to embrace them, because it was the punk-rock thing to do.

"Basically, the punk leaders there came together and told all the other punks that violence was not the 'punk' thing to do," he explained. "They said that if you were a true punk, you'd learn to accept the emo kids, because they're different just like we are."

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