Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Media Studies

Reader 1

Ruti Talmor

Reader 2

Carlin Wing

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© 2022 Brooke Platt


Emo first emerged as a subgenre of hardcore punk in the mid-1980s. Two decades later, the advent of Web 2.0 and a corresponding boom in alternative retail launched emo’s rebirth as a full-fledged subculture. It was at this time that two camps of emo emerged: those who listened to pop-punk and ‘dressed emo’ and those who rejected pop-punk and the idea of a dominant style altogether. Since the early 2000s, members of the second camp have criticized members of the first for their dismissal of punk’s underground and anticapitalistic roots. I should note, however, that not all fans fall neatly into this binary nor believe their styles or musical preferences are superior to others'; my two-camp distinction is a generalization that will serve as the foundation for an exploration of within-culture conflicts in the emo community. Through a chronological dissection of emo’s musical and stylistic evolution, I have set out to answer a question at the root of these conflicts: has style replaced music in emo subculture? And to what degree can emo style, dependent as it is on the commodification of subcultural aesthetics, be considered authentic?

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.