This entry is a little off topic… but I thought that it would be perfect for a quick little discussion starter!
Earlier today in my abnormal psychology class we were discussing mental status examinations. We went over the criteria described in these simple exams (Appearance and Behavior, Thought Process, Mood and Affect, Intellectual Functioning, and Sensorium), and for the remainder of the class we were to watch the introduction to the movie Stay. Early in the movie you are introduced to a psychiatric patient by the name of Henry Letham (Ryan Gosling), and our task was to use the mental status exam criteria to analyze the patient. This was all fine and dandy… until that is… until our professor paused the movie and had us report back to him what we had gathered thus far.
The first thing we went over was appearance and behavior. Everyone seemed to be giving reasonable answers: lack of facial expressions, no eye contact, reserved, tired, etc… Until someone in the front said:
” Well he looks kinda umm emo, so he might be depressed?”
Holy fuck! Are you serious! This is a third year course, and that response was totally ridiculous! Number one, for someone who dresses “emo” it is a fucking fashion!! Not something that shows mental signs of depression! You don’t wake up one day feeling sad and say “shit… I’m reaaally depressed… I’m going to go out and by new clothes… most likely black ones…. with a new hair swoop…. and buy a Dashboard Confessional CD…..” (I’m sorry for being stereotypical. It’s mainly for emphasis. I don’t like it when others do this either. Furthermore, the fashion trend I am referring to has just been popularized in 2000. Before, “Emo” was a music movement from Washington and Chicago areas and was very respectable) Also, this is as shitty as diagnosing someone with a lack of concentration by saying, wow that guy is really dressed like a raver… he must not be able to concentrate at work because he is constantly thinking about raving. Secondly, being so-called “emo” has nothing to do with someones mental health status… although I sometimes wonder.
Fashion is part of symbolic interactionism, and is part of how someone presents and constructs ones self; constructing “identity.” If you want to place a status of mental unstableness on people who dress with “emo” style, you can turn around and do that to any other consumer!