-Emo music: Stands for 'emotive hardcore' music and branched off from 'hardcore music' (a heavier faster version of punk). Emo is characterized mostly by its vocals. The male
singer often sounds femenine. There may be moans, screams (as opposed groans or roars), and simply singing in a very soft manner. Lyrics also play role. These are mostly characterized by complaints or discussing stressful life situations.
-Emo as slang or an insult: Invented by opposers to the emotive hardcore style and music. More fundamental 'hardcore kids' wanted to distinguish themselves from the emotive hardcore genre or emotive hardcore listeners, so they attached an offensive nature to the term 'emo' (which was short for the music) and invented the term 'emo kid.'
-Later use: Emo became associated, as an insult, with introverts who had thick rimmed glasses, shaggy hair, old band shirts, depression, and self mutilation.
-Today: People defined as emo today, are mostly part of the emotive hardcore scene. People who follow the popular emo fashion style (described below) may also be labeled emo, even though they do not enjoy the music or the scene.
-Contemporary Emo Fashion style: Both the males and females are characterized by having hair in their face (sometimes spikey in the back and/or with highlights), a lot of makeup, tight jeans, piercings (especially ones called 'snakebites'), and more. Female styles include: fake pearl necklaces or other 'loud' necklaces, bows or clips in the hair, ballet-flat shoes, very large sunglasses, clothing with polkadot patterns, and more. Male styles include wearing female clothing such as small shirts or jeans, painted nails, converse, and more.
-Defensiveness: Today, many people in the emo scene (where people gather to listen to emotive hardcore) and elsewhere are very offended by the term 'emo.' They will claim to be 'scene' or 'scenesters' instead, or they will attempt to claim they are 'simply individuals' and do not follow any certain label or trend.
-Emo in Pop Culture: The emo culture has become ubiquitous in every day life. This is mostly due to Myspace, where the music and the style are extremely popular and even often picked up by young children who have no idea the music or scene exists. Its popularity is also due in part to MTV for popularizing bands that take most, if not all, of their fashion style and music style directly from the emo scene (such as Fallout Boy or MCR). And again, emo scene kids will get defensive about this fact and declare that those bands, or any band that becomes popular enough, either 'sucks' or are not true emo bands but instead 'pop punk', among other terms.