MUCHA LUCHA! The Mexican Music Scene and the Fight for Fashion

It’s never a good idea to mix music with ideologies. The best example of this that I know of is white nationalism and punk. In the seventies, a rash of neo-fascism broke out in England. The band Screwdriver decided to capitalize on this growing trend and began producing hate music. A specific brand of punk became synonymous with racist ignorance. The skinhead punk scene was born and Screwdriver became notorious all across the world as the Godfathers of this unholy union between music and ideology. The absolute worst effect this has had on culture is that kids who’ve never known about the concept of white nationalism became immersed in it through music. It also gives a black eye to punk. Kids that like the fast, loud brand of punk but are smart enough not to mix music and politics have to do a sort of background check on the bands they listen to; to make sure they aren’t racists. Or worse yet, kids have to put up with these racist skinheads showing up at normal punk shows and causing havoc on what should be a pretty nice night to rock out. Next thing you know, you’re fed up with the politics of dancing and abandon your favorite music genre all together, just because a group of douche bags decided it would be cool to mix music with an ideology.

This happens all over the world. Apparently, it is a huge problem in Mexico. In Mexico, the fight is between the punks and the emos. This is a very bizarre thing to me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but “emo-music” was born out of “hardcore” which came from punk. But of course this has nothing to do with music at all. This tension between “youth tribes” as it was described in Spin’s cleverly named article “¡El Pánico En El Disco!” has gotten pretty violent. The punks are running down the emo kids in the streets and beating them up. There is no definitive reason for it. Some have looked to Mexico’s “gang past” and say that this is just a modern version of the Tarzans and the Pachucos during the 1940’s. Or the Chavos Banda (Gang Boys) of the 80’s. Others have used the tired rhetoric that it is violent video games and movies that have fueled the conflict. More interesting is the idea that it is politically motivated. It is suggested that the rise in emo-bashing came when the conservative, Felipe Calderón took power. Are the mean spirited punks the “right-wing” and the persecuted emos the “left-wing?” It was suggested that the emo kids often come from higher income households, so maybe it’s the other way around? The best reason for this phenomenon is ignorance. Ignorance fueled by good old fashioned homophobia. This conflict is almost purely fashion based. The emo look is very androgynous. Lots of tight fitting clothing. Lots of unique hairstyles. This doesn’t seem to go over well in Mexico’s culture of “machismo.” This is bigger than just a clash between scenes. This has seeped into the social climate of urban areas all over Mexico. The emo kids have taken to the streets, holding tolerance rallys in protest of their treatment. They even have been reached out to by the left wing opposition party.

It was once just music. And then the music became a means in which upper-middle class American teens could vent their frustrations about living in suburbia. Once it got into suburbia, there was a market for it. The market grew and grew and all of a sudden the malls were packed with clothing and accessories to express the individuality of the masses. Ten years later, kids in Mexico are beating each other up and they have no idea what for. Music and ideology don’t mix. The ideology will kill the music and all that will be left is idiocy. The bands will get sick of it and break up. I remember years ago when The Promise Ring got really popular, they were on 120 Minutes on MTV. For the entire two hours, the interviewer was trying to get the band to say that they were an emo band. Near the end, Davey Von Bolen had enough and said, “Dude, we’re just a rock band. It’s only music.” Keep that in mind the next time you’re flipping through CDs at your local record store. It’s only music.

Read The Spin Article
Anti-Emo Riots in Mexico: ¡Pánico en el Disco!


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