Through my travels into the world of steampunk and its not-quite-so-easy-to-grasp definition, I’ve discovered a shameful stereotype surrounding its followers. Steampunk fans are snobs. I’m embarrassed to learn that this is, for the most part, true.
I’ve never been particularly fond of forums, nor have I cared to stalk other people’s activity. I just don’t care. But I do glance through forums when I want to know what a community is thinking, sometimes I even engage in debate (this is even rarer). What I have found of the steampunk community is most upsetting. To me, anyway.
There is a notion that to be a ‘true steampunk fan’, one must understand, in complete, the nature of science – in particular its development of gases and fuel. One must adhere to a fashion of cogs and goggles, preferably on every item of clothing. One must study Victorian inventors and figure-heads, especially the obscure names forgotten by the rest of society. One must talk like one was shat from the Queen’s royal arse and restrain all displays of excitement.
Half of these people make me wonder if they’ve ever studied the Victorians in their life. I know it’s an exaggeration of the past at any rate, and I know it’s a lifestyle. Heck, if I could afford it I’d sure live in a steampunk house and wear gilded corsets.
But the Victorians, though divided by Class, were raunchy, curious, creative and bound by etiquette – not snobbery. That came from the egotistical types of people and the dull. If you were snobby in the Victorian age, you’d only hang out with fellow douch-bags while the rest of your ‘friends’ put up with you because etiquette demanded it until you were out of ear-shot. Then they’d have a whale of a time bitching and joking about your up-turned nose.
Speaking the Queen’s English may sound ‘posh’ but it does not mean the person is snooty. Those from both England and America seem to forget this. I do agree that snobbery can be amusing but it’s no way to seriuosly treat each other or ‘outsiders’.
Steampunk is not niche anymore. Get over it. It’s becoming popular by ‘cretins who don’t understand what it’s about’. The costumes are wonderful, the era is fascinating, the ideas people had about science are ludicrous and the objects fans conceive do not have to work.
Yes, I think steampunk is about more than the clothing – I even think it’s about more than the inventions – but why is there such hatred directed at others who don’t share the same definitions? And why are newcomers left to wade through ‘mystery’ and enigmatic answers – and if they don’t ‘get it’, shun them? The steampunk community needs a wakeup call.
The Victorians are fun. Nobody liked snobs then, and nobody likes snobs now. Roleplay all you want, but make sure others know you’re roleplaying. If they want a sincere conversation with you, why sneer and ‘continue to roleplay’?
Steampunk people, wtf?
I desperately want to like the community, because I love steampunk, but some of you really need to dismount your high horses.
This has been a rant. I’m not sorry. Have some cool pictures and a short film:
- What Makes Steampunk … Steampunk? (steampunkapotamus.wordpress.com)
- How Practical is Steampunk? (steampunkapotamus.wordpress.com)