An important distinction I want to make is that my book's topic is on post-hardcore and not on emo. Why make such a big deal about these names? There are plenty of reasons.
Doing word association, when I hear the word 'post-hardcore,' I think of patience, hard work, thinking for yourself and doing things out of necessity. In other words, concepts and ideas that made 1980s DIY so special and life-changing. When I hear the word 'emo,' I think of melodrama, vulnerability and wimpy. I don't think anyone wants to label his or her's way of life as melodramatic, vulnerable or wimpy.
Maybe I haven't done enough research on younger bands today, but I have yet to find a band that openly embraces the 'emo' tag. I believe it's fans (and non-fans) and writers who call these bands emo and all the other silly variations of the name.
What doesn't help is how intensely the 'emo' genre is marketed to a younger demographic these days. Stickers on CDs that compare a mediocre young band to a well-established, unique band is misleading. "If you love XXX and YYY, then you'll love QQQ!" Hello? Anyone ever heard of the law of diminishing returns? After a while, people get burned out on watering down when you relentlessly push it. Deny it all you want, but this law isn't going away any time soon.
I'll admit, this music moves me in a variety of ways. Yes, it's there when I'm upset and vulnerable but that's temporary. It really helps me (regardless of mood) when I think about hard work, being creative and just doing it.