Emo online

networks of sociality/networks of exclusion


  • Rosemary Overell University of Melbourne




emo, internet, moral panics, music, new media, subcultural studies


This article examines Australian emo subcultural practices and new media technologies. I use subcultural studies to analyse whether emo is, indeed, a subculture. I respond to framings of emo as an ‘Other’ (sub)culture, in mainstream Australian media and Australian alternative music scenes. I interrogate whether, as dominant media claims, emo subculturalists’ internet usage inevitably leads to ‘social alienation’. First, I present a case study of a mediatized moral panic concerning the so called ‘emo suicides’ of Jodie Gater and Stephanie Gestier in 2007. Media reports positioned emo adherents as non-normative ‘dark’ users of new technologies, particularly the internet. I counter this representation with a textual analysis of emo micro media, in the form of MySpace homepages, which demonstrate emo sociality online. However, in my final section I look at how such sociality is limited by gate-keeping practices mobilizing discourses of subcultural capital.

Author Biography

Rosemary Overell, University of Melbourne

Rosemary Overell is currently in the second year of her PhD research. Her thesis concerns mascu- linities and transnationality in grindcore music scenes in Melbourne and Osaka.


AFP. 2007. Internet Predators Target Parents to Get Children, October 9. Retrieved 23 March 2010, from ABC News: http://abc.gov.au/news/stories/2007/10/09/2055172.htm

ARIA. 2005–2010a. ARIA Charts—End Of Year Charts—Top 100 Singles 2006. Retrieved 10 March 2010, from ARIA: http://www.aria.com.au/pages/ARIACharts-EndofYearCharts-Top 100Singles2006.htm

ARIA. 2005–2010b. ARIA Charts—End of Year Charts—Top 100 Singles 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2010, from ARIA: http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-end-of-yearcharts-top-100-singles-2007.htm

Aslaksen, M. J. 2006. Middle Class Music in Suburban Nowhere Land: Emo and the Performance of Masculinity. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University.

Beck, U. 1998. World Risk Society. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Bennett, T. 2000. ‘Acting on the Social: Art, Culture, Government’. American Behavioural Scientist 43(9): 1412–428. doi:10.1177/00027640021955964

Billboard. 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2010, from Billboard.com: http://www.billboard.com/ #/?tag=logo

Billboard.com. 2010. Albums 1996. Retrieved 11 March 2010, from Billboard.com: http:// www.billboard.com/charts/billboard-200?chartDate=1996-05-04#/charts/billboard-200?chartDate=1996-05-04

Bourdieu, P. 1992. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans.R. Nice. London: Routledge.

The Bulletin. 2007. The Murder of Eliza Jane. 13 April. Retrieved 1 June 2007, from The Bulletin: http://bulletin.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=260156

Cashmore, P. 2007. MySpace, America’s Number One, 12 July. Retrieved 11 March 2010, from Mashable: The Social Media Guide: http://mashable.com/2006/07/11/myspaceamericas-number-one/

CBS 47. 2007. Emo, July 11. Investigators.

Christensen, B. M. 2006. Email Forward Claims Jamie Bulger Killer Linked to Perth Child Murder, 29 June. Retrieved 30 March 2010, from Hoax Slayer: Debunking email hoaxes and exposing Internet scams since 2003!: http://www.hoax-slayer.com/dante-arthursjamie-bulger-link.html

Clarke, J., S. Hall, T. Jefferson and B. Roberts, eds. 1975. Resistance Through Rituals. Birmingham: Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies.

Cohen, S. 1972. Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. London: MacGibbon & Kee.

Colley, A. 2007. States Still Hold out on YouTube. 6 March. Retrieved 16 March 2010, from The Australian: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/states-still-hold-out -on-youtube/story-e6frgamx-1111113102808

Collins, S.-J. 2007. Internet Predator Avoids Further Jail, 27 March. Retrieved 23 March 2010, from The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/national/internet-predator-avoids-fur ther-jail-20090327-9dla.html

Cookie Monster … 6ws. 2010. Cookie Monster … 6ws. 23 March. Retrieved 23 March 2010, from MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/iamhurting

Cubby, B. 2007. Internet Death Pacts Increasing Worldwide. 24 April. Retrieved 16 March 2010, from Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/internet-death- pacts-increasing-worldwide/2007/04/23/1177180569471.html

Dane. 2006. Dane! 11 Nov. 2006. (Accessed: 24 May 2007), 11 November. Retrieved 24 May 2007, from MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/daneyvicous

Drawings.gr. 2005–2006. Emo Fashion. Retrieved 11 March 2010, from The Emo Pages: http://www.drawings.gr/emo-clothings.shtml

Dubecki, L. 2007. Lost in Cyberspace: Fears over Teen Sites, 24 April. Retrieved 24 May 2007, from The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/lost-in-cyberspace/2007/04/ 24/117718 0580127.html

Dubecki, L., and B. Cubby. 2007. 24 April. Tragic Last Words of MySpace Suicide Girls. Retrieved 24 May 2007, from Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/ 2007/04/23/1177180569460.html

__EMOxLykeWhoa. 2005. _ _emoxlykewhoa, July 15. Retrieved 11 March 2010, from livejournal.com: http://community.livejournal.com/___emoxlykewhoa/profile

emo kids. 2006. emo kids Home, 7 December. Retrieved 24 May 2007, from MySpace: http:// groups.myspace.com/flinderskidz

Fox 11. 2007. Emo. Fox 11 News, 10 May. California.

Friends Or Enemies. 2009. Friends Or Enemies.Com: Your Backstage Pass. Retrieved 30 March 2010, from http://www.friendsorenemies.com/

Gammage, J. 2007. How to Catch an Online Predator, 22 November. Retrieved 23 March 2010, from The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/news/web/how-to-catch-an-online-pre dator/2007/11/21/1195321793493.html

Gelder, K. 2007. Subcultures: Cultural Histories and Social Practice. London: Routledge.

Glassner, B. 2000. The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things. New York: Basic Books.

Goode, E., and N. Ben-Yehuda. 2009. Moral Panics: The Social Construction of Deviance, 2nd edn. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. doi:10.1002/9781444307924

Greenwald, A. 2003. Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers and Emo. New York: St Martin’s Griffin.

Hebdige, D. 1979. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Methuen. doi:10.4324/9780 203139943

Hodkinson, P. 2002. Goth: Identity, Style and Subculture. Oxford: Berg.

——2004. ‘The Goth Scene and (Sub)Cultural Substance’. In After Subculture: Critical Studies in Contemporary Youth Culture, ed. A. Bennett and K. Kahn-Harris, 135–47. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hogarth, L. 2003. ‘One Click Too Far’. Southern Cross (September): 16–17.

Internet World Stats. 2009. Australia: Internet Usage Stats and Telecommunications Market Report, February. Retrieved 16 March 2010, from Internet World Stats: Usage and Population Statistics: http://www.internetworldstats.com/sp/au.htm

Kommersant. 2007. SUP Bought Out LiveJournal, 3 December. Retrieved 11 March 2010, from Kommersant: Russia’s Daily Online: http://www.kommersant.com/p831892/r_500/ SUP_LiveJournal

Lupton, D. 2000. ‘The Embodied Computer/User’. In The Cybercultures Reader, ed. D. Bell and B. M. Kennedy, 477–88. London: Routledge.

malcolm enjoys the company of cows. 2006. EVERY1 TELL ME HOW MUCH U HATE SCENE KIDS, 7 December. Retrieved 16 March 2010, from MySpace: emo kids: http://tinyurl. com/2g45da9

Margo, J. 2004. ‘The Secret Life of Teens’. Australian Financial Review, 14–15 February: 20– 21.

Miniwatts Marketing Group. 2009. World Internet Usage and Population Statstics, 30 September. Retrieved 11 March 2010, from Internet World Stats: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

Narain, J. 2010. My Ordeal at being Mistaken for Jon Venables: Terror of Young Father Accused of being Bulger Killer, 10 March. Retrieved 30 March 2010, from Mail Online: http:// www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1256533/Jon-Venables-Terror-young-fatheraccused-Bulger-killer-Facebook.html

Neal, M. 2007. A Subcultural Sterotype. 10 May. Retrieved 23 March 2010, from The Warnnambool Standard: http://the.standard.net.au/articles/2007/05/10/1178390435 168.html

Ohaii, they call me cookie :D. 2010. Ohaii, they Call me Cookie :D., 27 February. Retrieved 23 March 2010, from MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cookiemathers

Purcell, N. J. 2003. Death Metal Music: The Passion and Politics of a Subculture. Jefferson: McFarland and Company, Inc.

Rory TDTF. 2006. All you Guys are Fakes, 19 August. Retrieved 16 March 2010, from MySpace: T.E.A.: http://tinyurl.com/27reusf

Sarah. 2007. Non-Emotional Emos?, 12 May. Retrieved 24 May 2007, from MySpace: ::: Allergic to Emo:::: http://groups.myspace.com/allergictoemo

Schliebs, M. 2007. Police Investigate MySpace “RIP”. 23 April. Retrieved 24 May 2007, from news.com.au: http://www.news.com.au/story/023599,21603808-2,00.html

Scotzilla. 2010. Scott Clarke. 22 March. Retrieved 23 March 2010, from MySpace: http:// www.myspace.com/clasco01

Simon, L., and T. Kelley. 2007. Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture. New York: HarperCollins.

Sowerby, B. 2007. My Chemical Romance Talks to The ‘Campus. 20 September. Retrieved 11 March 2010, from The Maine Campus: http://mainecampus.com/2007/09/20/my- chemical-romance-talks-to-the-campus/

The Sun-Herald. 2007. Emo Kids, 12, Drinking, Using Drugs. 29 April. Retrieved 24 May 2007, from Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,216038082,00.html

TCN 10. 2007. ‘Australians Arrested in Global Pornography Ring’. Ten 5pm News, 16 December. Melbourne.

TCN 7. 2007. Death Pact. Today Tonight, 23 April. Melbourne.

TCN 9. 2007. Web of Darkness. 60 Minutes, 20 May. Melbourne.

T.E.A. 2005. T.E.A. (The Emo Army). 2 February. Retrieved 16 March 2010, from MySpace: http://tinyurl.com/28yvy88

Thompson, K. 1998. Moral Panics. London: Routledge.

Thornton, S. 1996. Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital. Hanover: Wesleyan University Press.

_Tommy___. 2007. I Just Joined this Group… , January 15. Retrieved 16 March 2010, from MySpace: emo kids: http://tinyurl.com/2e6p7ra

Urban Dictionary. 2006. Emospace, 18 October. Retrieved 10 March 2010, from Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=emospace

Vowles, G. 2007. Fears for Teens, 20 May. Retrieved 24 May 2007, from The Sunday Tasmanian: http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,21761995-3462,00.html

WDAZ. 2007. Emo, 23 February. WDAZ News at 10. Grand Forks.

Wilbur, S. P. 2000. ‘An Archaeology of Cyberspaces: Virtuality, Community, Identity’. In The Cybercultures Reader, ed. D. Bell and B. M. Kennedy, 45–55. London: Routledge.

Willis, S. 1993. ‘Hardcore: Subculture American Style’. Critical Inquiry (Winter) 19: 365–83. doi:10.1086/448678

You’ll Never Take Me Alive!! 2008. Emo & Punk Clothing?? Retrieved 11 March 2010, from http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080106024342AAtzics.



How to Cite

Overell, R. (2011). Emo online: networks of sociality/networks of exclusion. Perfect Beat, 11(2), 141–162. https://doi.org/10.1558/prbt.v11i2.141