Slang terms tend to evolve as a new generation of young people take over the pop-culture scene and brand it with their own style and wit. Today’s generation has spawned the Emo niche, a sub-culture notable for its melancholy and somewhat dramatic music, its dark, almost-Goth look, and effeminate sensitivities toward social issues facing that particular generation. This sub-culture has laid claim to a number of notable fashion trends, but most prominent among them is the Emo haircut. Often mocked but equally often emulated, the Emo haircut relies on sharp spikes mixed with long bangs that often obscure one’s eyes, creating a dramatic, melancholy look for the wearer.
The term "Emo" is an abridged term for "emotional," or more specifically, "emotional hardcore." It is based on a style of punk music that has evolved from an underground scene into more mainstream media. The Emo haircut was born out of the shift from the underground music scene to the mainstream, pop-culture attitude associated with the new Emo music.
While the Emo haircut is only one small facet of the Emo look and lifestyle, it is one of the more noticeable features. The style is androgynous and it is not uncommon to see males and females wearing the same Emo haircut. While there is no set designation as to what can be considered an Emo haircut, the style typically involves dark colors, most typically black, and often utilizes highlights and streaks of other colors such as red or blonde. Long bangs are common and can be long enough to cover the forehead and eyes. This combined with spiked hair on the back of the head comprises a typical Emo haircut, but it is certainly not the only variation.
In recent generations, the Emo haircut has become cause for much ridicule both in pop culture and in teenage social circles. It is often associated with effeminate qualities and over-emotionality, as well as an assertion of mental instability. While these assertions are not necessarily true, they are often associated with the Emo genre as a whole and are easily recognized by Emo trends, such as the Emo haircut, specific types of clothing, make-up on both females and males, and of course, the genre of music.