Emo and Cutting

Cutting is something that has come to many people’s attention in recent years for the wrong reasons. Although people have been engaging in self-harm behavior, such as cutting, for decades, it has only recently been thrust into the spotlight, usually under the guise of an act carried out by people who like emo music or are part of the emo scene, so much so that the idea of an emo kid cutting is a huge stereotype. The truth, though, is cutting and emo are not actually related in any way.

Cutting is an act of self-harm, and often a manifestation of certain mental illnesses, most notably, borderline personality disorder. It is an act often done by someone who has suffered a great amount of trauma or abuse, and often coincides with depression, phobias, or mood disorders. Most people who self-injure via cutting do not have suicidal intent; in fact, while they may be candid about their activities with people they trust or feel close to, for the most part, they take steps to conceal their cuts and scars from the people around them.

There are other forms of self injury other than cutting, but it tends to be the most common practice for people who suffer from conditions that lead to this action.

Somehow, emo and cutting got tied together, largely by the media. While it would be impossible to say that there are no people who cut simply for attention or because they think it is what makes them fit into a scene, that is not true of the vast majority of people. As such, if an emo person is cutting, it is because of other factors (such as the ones outlined above) rather than their interest in emo.

Emo is not about self injury in any way, though it is possible that people who suffer from depression and other mood disorders are drawn to a scene that is highly expressive and encourages people to share their emotions. The scene is also not terribly judgmental of its own, as such, people who suffer from certain mental illnesses might find comfort in such a scene. That said, the behavior is not condoned or encouraged by the bands or other people in the scene, and most people involved in the scene seek to help people who are self harming or cutting.

Cutting is often used as a way to vent emotions and release pain that the person in question can’t find any other way to put into the world. Sometimes, finding the right scene can help someone who is suffering from illnesses like this to stop harming themselves, as well. Unfortunately, finding comfort and acceptance does not erase the scars on their bodies from earlier days. As such, sometimes people mistake emo people with scars as cutters, rather than former cutters, as it is possible to stop.

Self injury generally has two causes:
The first involves feeling overwhelmed and stressed, and using cutting to feel calmer and relieved, via the release provided by cutting.

The second involves feeling disassociated or lost, and using cutting to feel something, even if it is a negative sensation.

As you can see, it would make sense for someone who feels those ways to find solace in the emo scene, due to the open expression of emotion. It is important to remember, though, that emo is not about cutting, and while it is possible for someone who cuts themselves to be a part of the emo scene, it is certainly not requisite, nor is it something that is common or encouraged. Cutting is something that affects people of all ages, races, and genders – and there are no cultural/sub-cultural links that unite all these people. Choice in music, dress, and associations have no affect on cutting in and of itself, as it is a symptom of a mental disorder.

Author's Bio: 

Nicole Lero has struggled with depression and anxiety, as well as mood disorders for many years. Through therapy and medication, she has been able to deal with many of these issues, and uses her experiences to help other people in the emo and punk scene with their problems. She also aims to help people who aren't a part of the scene to deal with their problems. She is a staff member of an emo Web site and community.