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"Emo" Culture and Gender Norms in Late Adolescents and Young Adults

Noah N. Allooh, Christina M. Rummell and Ronald F. Levant

Keywords: emo music and subculture; gender role conflict; late adolescence; restrictive emotionality; traditional feminine norms; traditional masculine norms

The present study examined the extent to which youth who endorse emo subculture reject the traditional masculine norm of restrictive emotionality. It also examined the relationships between endorsement and rejection of emo subculture and traditional masculine and feminine norms and masculine gender role conflict. In Study 1 (N = 13) three focus groups were conducted to create the mixed methods Emo Culture Questionnaire (ECQ). In Study 2 (N = 164) exploratory factor analysis of the quantitative part of the ECQ resulted in a 15-item, 4-factor scale; however, due to low reliabilities, only two scales were used in the analyses. Three hypotheses were mostly supported. The endorsement of emo subculture by men was negatively associated with their Restrictive Emotionality subscale scores of both the Male Role Norms Inventory-Revised (MRNI-R) and Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS). The endorsement of emo subculture by women was negatively associated with their MRNI-R Restrictive Emotionality scores but was not positively associated their Femininity Ideology Scale (FIS) Emotionality scores. Negative views of the emo subculture by both men and women were positively correlated with their MRNI-R Restrictive Emotionality scores. An exploratory question found that the endorsement of emo subculture had significant negative correlations with three additional MRNI-R subscales and the total scale for men and with five MRNI-R subscales and the total scale for women. In addition, the endorsement of emo subculture had significant negative correlations with two FIS subscales, and with two additional GRCS subscales and the total scale for men. Qualitative results from the ECQ indicated that while the label “emo” may not function as a personal identifier, the music, fashion, and behavior thus identified remain popular.

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