“First came the Chechens, then ethnic Georgians, and then maverick journalists. But now Russia’s cracking down on a different social group, a demographic they see threatening the very future of their country. These rebels have pierced lips, ridiculous haircuts and too much eyeshadow. They’re barbarians in bowler hats, leather jackets and torn-up tights. Yes, emo has come to Russia – and its leaders want no part of it.
Last month the State Duma held a hearing on “Government Strategy in the Sphere of Spiritual and Ethical Education”, a piece of legislation aimed at curbing “dangerous teen trends”. There, without a clue in the world, social conservatives lumped “emos” together with skinheads, pushing for heavy regulation of emo websites and the banning of emo and goth fashion from schools and government buildings.
“The point of the bill is so that by 2020, Moscow will have someone to rule its government,” explained Alexander Grishunin, an adviser to bill sponsor Yevgeny Yuryev, apparently without irony. “This is the first step in the public discourse.”
Yuryev and his allies hope to pass the legislation before the end of the year.
Emo music emerged from Washington, DC in the mid-1980s, offering an “emotional” take on hardcore punk. The genre saw a rebirth in the late 1990s and 2000s, adopting elements of glam and goth culture, and integrating a stronger pop influence. Bands like My Chemical Romance and Dashboard Confessional hit Moscow record shops in 2003, and before long teens with dark lipstick and shoulder bags were lounging glumly at the All-Russia Exhibition Centre and Pushkin Square.
The new bill describes “emos” as 12-16 year-olds with black and pink clothing, studded belts, painted fingernails, ear and eyebrow piercings, and black hair with fringes that “cover half the face”. Emo culture’s “negative ideology” may encourage depression, social withdrawal and even suicide, the bill alleges – with young girls being particularly vulnerable.
“Of course, there are emo teens who just listen to their music. But our actions are not directed at them but rather at those who also hurt themselves, commit suicide and promote those acts,” bill co-author Igor Ponkin explained to the Moscow Times. Though we are not certain how Ponkin intends to target people who have committed suicide, he certainly seems determined.
Emo-lovers insist that there is nothing wrong with being gloomy and wearing strange clothes. “Expressing psychological emotions is not forbidden by law,” underlined Dmitry Gilevich of the Russian emo band MAIO.
In the UK, emo kids took to the streets to protest their portrayal in the media, particularly tabloid allegations that emo music had compelled otherwise sunny teens into committing suicide. In Russia, the stakes are even higher – at protests this weekend, teenagers were speaking out against lawmakers who equate their fashion sense, and their community, with criminality and Nazism.
Dozens of black-clad music fans marched in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, where the government is fast-tracking anti-emo legislation. “How can you stop people from expressing themselves, from dressing how they like, from living a way of life that doesn’t harm anyone?” one protester asked on REN TV. Others held placards saying “Kill the State in Yourself” and “A Totalitarian State Encourages Stupidity”, both of which would make terrific emo song titles.
And while we would hope that Russian music nerds would rally around persecuted emo fans, their plight so similar to history’s arbitrary, vaguely homophobic crackdowns on disco, hippies and early rockers, many music-lovers are still accusing the genre of selling out. “It used to be honest and real,” bemoaned Russian musician Sergei Vel. “Now it all faded and merged into the mainstream.”
Not to worry, Sergei – if Russian legislators have their way, emo will be excised from the mainstream like a melancholy, pierced, black-shellacked cancer.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/jul/22/russian.emo <== original article
This was such a long time ago, and I’m not crazy about the writer’s tone of choice, but I’m amazed at these kids. They went went out as a group and protested their rights even though most everybody thinks they’re just a pack of stupid teenagers. I want to kiss them for it.
(and is the mainstreamification of emo really so bad? Studio recording and pop songwriting doesn’t make the emotions any less real. It’s helped the genre reach a lot more people and I think that, in the future, ‘emo’ will evolve into something more complex via the kids who are living and loving it now)
Sometimes, drawing with my little brother temporarily pulls me out of my
emo teenage state of mind depression.
You know what’s the worst? Being a 16 year old girl who loves a famous actor not solely for his looks, but because you truly believe he is talented and devoted and you agree deeply with his message. Because no matter how intelligently and fully you can express that, people will assume you’re just a silly teenager who thinks a famous boy is cute.
When people turn to fictional characters, it’s often because they want an escape. The stories of these people shelter us from the storm of our daily lives; they save us, if only for a little while. But when we really give in, become invested, let ourselves be vulnerable, something changes. We begin to feel that we know them. It’s no longer just an escape, but part of us, something that makes us who we are.
These characters teach us that incredible adversity can be overcome. That people can love each other forever. That life can be an adventure. That magic can be real. And even if these miracles have never happened to us, we begin to go through life believing that, someday, they could.
“And I promise you that you’re important. Don’t look at me like that- in all my 900 years I’ve never met someone who wasn’t important.”
“Cheer up mate, it gets better. Look at me, I was once a little kid living under the stairs. You’ll do fine.”
“Hey. I know it seems like life sucks, that you’ve got the devil on your tail. Hell, sometimes you do. But you’re strong enough to beat him. You’ve got friends at your back and family too, and that’s what really counts in the end.”
“Don’t be silly, they’re wrong about you; of course you matter. You’ve always mattered.”
WOW CONGRATS YOU JUST MADE ME CRY OVER MY OWN POST