M... F... or...Q? Who Are You? Emo?
Recently I wrote an article on the topic of homosexuality and related matters. I used the expression homosexual brothers and sisters. That designation evoked some concerns because the Bible does not use the word "homosexual." A letter writer preferred the term "same-sex attraction."
Using the word homosexual might lead some to think that homosexuality is a recognized existing category. This was the concern. I appreciate that. Well, it is an existing category all right, and those who fall into it do not really care much about the exact designation, except perhaps that they feel that the moniker "same-sex attraction" is a more pleasant and less condemnatory designation. It is one of the devil's mind games.
Meanwhile I need to point out that there is already a change underway in contemporary modes and words. Today the cutting edge is not whether one is a homosexual, but whether one is "Q" or questioning. It is a matter of gender identification. When one is "Q" he can shift between both genders. Being homosexual/lesbian one day or week and switching to bisexual the next day or week is considered "cool" by many. This week I am a boy, and next week I am a girl.
That is why I put in the title of this editorial the letters M, F, and Q. Are you male, female, or questioning? Whatever you fill in can change easily. You can be M one day and F the next. No worries, whatever suits you is what you are.
Meanwhile, the matter of gender has become rather fluid. You can easily switch from being a boy to being a girl, depending on your mood or company. There is a special name for this kind of crossover style and it is Emotion, Emo for short. Being emotional means being flexible and adaptable, and this is what is advocated today.
There is a very distinct Emo style that some teenagers apply. Before we get to the clothing, I want to make some notes regarding Emo music. Perhaps Emo is to many (mature) listeners simply a continuation of the older punk-rock music that started in the 1980s. But it's not.
As music style it is still rock. The music is perhaps more melodic than rock, and the lyrics are considered to be less violent than punk or rap. Some of the Emo music has retained the hard rock style and is called by many "emo-core," as in hard-core. But I don't really want to identify all forms of Emo music. In some form or another Emo is true to its punk-rock roots, even though it has become "milder" over the years.
Some of the early Emo bands are (1990s): Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate. Others worth mentioning (off the top of my head, 2000s) are Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional, Boys like Girls, Love Drunk, The Wild Honey Pie, and Sisyphus.
As mentioned, in Emo rock the words have gained in meaning. Old fashioned rock and roll was relatively simple, on average, and the words were mostly nonsensical. Emo emphasizes that you make your identity and feelings known. Of course only as far as you want to. The music and the song have become a vehicle for ever-changing self-expression. It's like going to a confessional.
Perhaps it is best that you acquaint yourself with this form of music by listening to some of the popular Emo bands. I do not advocate blindly ruffling through your teens CD collection and confronting each teenager (or younger) with a "What is this?!?" accusation. Some parents only come so far that they use records and CDs as Frisbees. That's nasty.
Do not turn question marks into exclamation marks. Don't speak unless you have first listened. Show interest and ask pertinent questions. What does this music mean to you? Why do you like this music?
It is a good approach to ask your kids to bring you their best loved CDs. They will gladly let you listen and will want to talk about the music. Emo is sometimes hauntingly beautiful and does convey honest and raw emotion. Do some research; your children are worth it.
It is never easy to find the right clothes for your older children. Teenagers can be fickle. Fortunately for our household budget, second-hand or pre-owned is in. Value Village supplies a lot of clothes for Emo youth. At one time Emo clothing was the punk rock style favoured by Goths; the alternative clothing used by some hard-core bands. Some used expansive make-up, like KISS. The band KISS is gross. Emphasis was on dark make-up with thick black eye-liner. But one cannot look black and grim all the time and the style began to receive some embellishments.
Clothing was still alternative. Chains and metal piercing items became popular. Teens who kissed could get hooked. Guys would wear the same piercings as gals. Strips of other dark color, like purple, were blended in with black. The attitude was still negative and society was scorned. The "slim" look was accentuated with tight jeans and cutoffs. No big breasts, because we are getting close to Twiggy again. Remember her? Emo style is always changing but stays true to the basics of simplicity. The latest Emo style is called "the scene," and it can change quickly. It fits well in our individualistic and "don't-tie-me-down" culture.
With the settling in of Emo, other ways of self-expression were also phased in. Do you ever wonder about the obvious increase of the use of tattoos? It seems like a veritable epidemic. Also through your tattoo (and where it is!) you can express yourself and give form to your Emo. Your body becomes a canvas where your values are made legible. It's not strange for a guy to ask a gal if he may see her tattoo.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of Emo is the hairstyle, long in the front and short at the back. The bangs are often brushed over one eye or even two eyes, secret agent style. It's a safe way to camouflage what is behind the lashes. Vibrant colors are added as streaks to the bangs: purple, white, and orange. It is not uncommon to have a totally different color or highlights from one week into the next. Emo means that diversity and artistry are good. Don't hide your feelings but express them as you wish.
I started with the question of gender identity. Emo tends to blur the lines between male and female. It is already enough of a struggle to express your male or female identity properly and in a holy fashion. Bisexuality is the new in-thing. Popular movies show forth the inevitability of falling in love with someone of the same sex. In Brokeback Mountain two rough and tumble cowboys engaged in homosexuality once every year. If cowboys do it, why not city slickers?
Actually the new in-thing is called emosexuality. Homosexuality is already passé. It means that you can have sexual relations with any one you want, male or female, at whatever time, and do so simply because your fellow Emo really understands you and accepts you as you are. It is an intense but passing attraction. Sometimes it does not pass.
We must be aware of what is going on in our society and with our children. Same-sex attraction is widely propagated as if this is a normal and fleeting thing. It is not. God created us male and female for a reason. Letting any form of homosexuality (even bisexual attractions) exist is truly against God's purpose and precept.
There is some good stuff on the internet on this topic. You might want to read The Aquila Report (from Reformed Theological Seminary). Perhaps you know of other sites that can be shared with our readers.
Sexuality is an important part of our lives. The time of our youth is an exciting life-changing phase, which is already difficult enough in itself. Remember your Creator. There is a lot of peer pressure being exercised. Heterosexual persons already in their early teens are being prompted to be more sexually active and diverse. The lines are constantly being blurred. Television, football, and basketball stars are "coming out." The Premier of Ontario is openly gay with a lasting relationship. No one dares to speak out against Pride Day observances. Prominent citizens are required to walk along in the parade or be considered homophobic.
Our society "likes" free expression, but some areas are not so free, unless you want to risk being called a bigot redneck.
Whoever has same-sex attraction must be made aware that this is not God's plan for our lives. We were created male and female, as heterosexual persons so that we might be faithful to each other, obedient to God, and fill the earth. It is easy for young men and women to become promiscuous, and stay so until later in life. It is easier still to be Emo instead of Homo. This is a difficult time for our young people. In the past it was difficult, too. But society was overall more conservative. Now the brakes are off. Let us pray unceasingly for the youth in God's church. Pray also for married couples that they will not destroy their love and marriage. Because the times are hard.
So, what are you? M, F, or Q? This question needs to be asked and discussed in families and in schools. It is easier to answer the question than to put the right answer into practice. We must be clear as to our God-given identity. When temptations get the better of us, we must repent and start anew. Fortunately the Lord Jesus Christ gives us hope.
I want to close with a reference to another Internet site:
We need stability in accepting and using our gender in a way that pleases God and builds life. Sometimes this means great sacrifice and extreme cross-bearing. I say this not flippantly but sincerely. We all have to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ.