Censorship in Russia: Emo Kids

Emo kids, teenagers and young adults who wear mostly black and profess to be deeply emotional and troubled, have enjoyed considerable mockery in the United States. Songs with lyrics such as “I’m an emo kid/ nonconforming as can be/ you’d be nonconforming too if you looked just like me” have flooded the Internet and the group of almost-goth teenagers have become a staple group in schools (along with other types such as “jocks” and “preps”). But not everyone is laughing about the still relatively new emo kid takeover. In fact, there is a land in which emo kids and their message may no longer be tolerated at all.

A few years ago, there were plans for censorship in Russia which would ban emo kids and their way of life all together. Believing that their depressed attitude and odd clothing simply perpetuates unhappy moods, and thinking and that emo kids may even pose the type of threat that Nazis had in the 1930s, the Russian government planned to ban emo kids all together, along with censoring other types of dangerous behavior and instituting curfews for teenagers. According to Russian policy makers, the censorship in Russia was just a matter of ensuring young adults, especially female teenagers, would be more safe.

What exactly qualified as emo, according to those who advocated such a censorship in Russia? There would be no issue with listening to emo music; the censorship in Russia would have no bearing on what citizens enjoyed in regard to the arts. However, the censorship in Russia did extend to the most stereotypical types of clothing emo kids may don (think of the models in Hot Topic advertisements; studded lips and hair which was unnaturally colored and styled, coupled with punk-gothic clothing with a heavy emphasis on black and pink).

Like with all attempts to enact new forms of restrictions, the emo kid censorship in Russia was met with heavy opposition. Emo kids and emo kid advocates collected to protest ideas for emo censorship in Russia, holding signs which protested any type of censorship of individual expression. Others told the media that such a type of censorship in Russia should not be advanced, as emo kids were not actually harming anyone.

The Russian government, however, had another interpretation of emo kid culture. Believing that emo clothing and lifestyle actually increased the number of suicides in their country, the censorship in Russia was an albeit drastic attempt to diminish the growing trend of depressed teenagers ending their life. Policy makers were not so much concerned with the effects of emo culture upon those who did not opt to personally indulge; the new censorship in Russia was aimed at limiting the perceived disastrous effects upon those already included in the emo kid group.


Michaels, Sean. “Russia Wages War on Emo Kids | Music | Guardian.co.uk.” Latest News, Comment and Reviews from the Guardian | Guardian.co.uk. 2008. Web. 18 May 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/jul/22/russian.emo.