punk emo girl with red and green hair hiding behind yellow flowers

How To Be Scene – 5 Awesome Ways Emo Culture Embraces Neurodiversity

Last Updated on

April 15th, 2024 12:55 pm

It’s hard to believe that emo culture is seeing a resurgence in recent times. Then again, those of us who lived through the original emo movement of the 2000s can relate to the real reason why.

The recent pandemic saw a huge shift in how our society perceives the world. And, just like in the 2000s, we’re seeing more and more people struggle with even the most basic of everyday tasks such as paying the bills or being able to visit loved ones.

And now we know more about what it means to be neurodivergent than we did twenty years ago, the common ground between emo culture and neurodiversity are clearer than ever. So here are 5 relatable reasons why neurodiversity and emo culture go hand in hand.

1. The Music

As members of the neurodivergent community we often struggle to express our emotions, whether that’s because society tells us we have to do it in ways we can’t process, or through lived experience of trauma and social alienation.

But emo (short for emotional hardcore or emocore) culture, in particular the music genre itself, provides a much-needed safe space to express such emotions without judgement.

Emo has influenced famous artists in recent years, including Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo. Mainstream emo bands such as Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World, and My Chemical Romance defined music for a generation, mostly thorough the a combination of lyrics and expressive musicality.

Emo music, despite having a distinct sound, is primiarily focused on the words. It’s about how you feel and what you think, not so much about your appearance.

Mainstream emo bands were accessible to anyone who feels like they didn’t fit into the “normal” world, whilst the underground scene was rife with bands using emo music as a soundtrack to their lives.

2. The Fashion

Emo culture, like most alternative cultures, embraces the desire to be different. In particular, that comes out in fashion and visual creativity. Even if you buy into the myth that emo clothing is black all the time, you’d be amazed how much customization you can get by mixing styles, textures and more even with one color!

What’s more, so many of us struggle to find clothes that we feel comfortable in as many neurodivergent people have sensory processing issues. In fact, there’s a high probability the emo fashion of skinny jeans, tight t-shirts and studded belts itself derived from a desire to wear clothing that stimulates our senses.

Most in the emo community embrace the vibrancy of color however by dying hair and wearing bold, accented clothing. By mixing all this together you get a truly unique combination of styles that means no one person looks the same as someone else. Embrace the attitude – People will stare, make it worth their while.

3. Piercings and Tattoos

Many people use piercings and tattoos as an expressive outlet of emotion through tactile sensory stimulation, as well as the permanent embodiment of visual creativity and design. Links between tattooing and psychological distress have been well-documented.

That’s not to say everyone with tattoos has unresolved trauma – Far from it! In fact, many use the emotional connection and bond that comes with a permanent work of art to celebrate closure and peace with even the most positive life experiences.

But in the case of neurodivergence and emo culture, when combined with post-punk rock melancholy, piercings and tattoos provide a sense of belonging and a visual collection of memories that, unlike our internal memories, will never disappear.

4. The Communities

Emo culture is known for its close-knit safe spaces and shared communities. And, especially for those of us who are autistic, we often struggle to find like-minded people who share our experiences and ways of looking at the world.

Being part of a community that embraces the value of identity, being different, and shared emotional experiences can provide many neurodivergent people with a much-needed confidence boost in life.

5. Shared Hobbies and Interests

As you’d expect, anyone who can relate to emo and scene culture often shares mutual interests in other areas too. Video games and anime are two examples of hobbies and interests that have influenced emo culture just as much as emo culture has influenced video games and anime.

Soundtracks are a perfect example of this, where many anime theme tunes have guitar-driven theme tunes with deeply emotional lyrics that embrace the issues faced by the protagonist. Something that many of us can relate to in the neurodivergent community!

Embrace Your Inner Emo

Emo culture never really faded away (even that sounds like a lyric!). In fact, it’s back more prevalent than ever thanks to the rise of social media as a creative outlet. As the emo generation of the 00s began to have their own kids, their own kids are embracing emo culture.

They’ve seen the struggles inherited from a lifetime of negativity and are now turning it into something positive that brings people together, not apart. And that should be embraced, no matter who you are.

For more inspirational reading keep checking out our blog and see what you can uncover today!

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Rob Butler
30-Something Millennial with ADHD and suspected Autistic and Dyspraxic. Thought leader behind this website. Big visions of a better future for everyone, but forgets where he is half the time.Loves Rugby, his kids, and anything silly. Hates U2 and Marmite.

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