Steampunk – What?

Years ago, I wanted to do a little write-up about what steampunk was. I got really into it after discovering it when I was browsing Etsy one cold January day. What a cool concept! I even founded a local group for it with a friend. The group has since become a huge success, and I still enjoy keeping it clear of spam. The people in there seem very nice and I have yet to meet one I didn’t like. But about a month or two after my initial excitement, I was pretty much done with steampunk. I paid it lip service for a while, but my heart wasn’t in it. What caused me to lose interest so fast? Most of it has to do with predictability from the perspective of a person who gets bored quickly.

I’m not scientifically minded, at least, not in that way

It seems to me that there is a huge focus on making or modifying gadgets. Ideally, these things should be functional, however they rarely are (and making gadgets of any kind is really just not my thing). They instead have a series of complicated add-ons that accomplish absolutely nothing. If they did accomplish things maybe I would be a little more interested in at least checking out what other people have done, but I just can’t bring myself to care about another pair of goggles with gears glued to them.

Not everyone looks good in brown

The goth subculture gets a lot of flack for being all about black. But the thing about that is aside from black being pretty “safe” and universal, it really isn’t the only color going on. Go to any goth club and you’ll see plenty of red, grey, white, purple, neon green, and more. Black might be a starting point, but if there’s one thing goth isn’t afraid of it’s experimentation. Steampunk however, for as long as it’s been around, seems to be about only one particular aesthetic that has not really branched off or evolved at all. Everything is brown, or something very close to it. I’ve seen girls in an outfit involving black instead of brown say “It’s black so it’s not really steampunk but…” I have a problem with a fashion this limited, as well as people who are not willing to break those limits. Though of course there are always going to be awesome people out there who do, these seem to be a tad rare outside of ads.

And yeah, the goggle thing. It’s ONE accessory. Why do I feel like it’s a mandatory part of the dress code? Come on guys, let’s think outside the box a little bit. Isn’t that what this is supposed to be about?

What the fuck is with all the gears?

I get why the steampunk crowd likes gears. It’s for the same reason they like steam. But I see the majority of the group taking this to a very strange level. EVERYTHING with gears is considered steampunk, and everything considered steampunk must involve gears. This makes me feel like the entire subculture = gears, instead of actually being about an alternate sci-fi-style Victorian history. This is annoying to say the least. I can’t get behind an entire literary and aesthetic style that would seem to be based solely around a small basic object. It’s silly, it makes no sense, and I’m totally over it.

Now it’s your turn

I know what you’re going to say. I wasn’t into it for very long, I don’t know the first thing about it. I’m entirely wrong. Well, that’s totally fair. So I want you to kindly correct me. I want you to explain this to me in the comments so I can stop thinking this whole thing might actually have a few screws loose. Aaaaaand GO.

2 comments on “Steampunk – What?

  1. Rosanna says:

    I know what you mean. I came across Steampunk a few years ago. In the beginning I was like this is really cool! Trolling for pictures on the Internet, looking up books, etc. Maybe the novelty has worn off? Everything is brown, goggles, and gears. Not to mention some of it just looks overworked or a bit junky. Too much going on. Sometimes less is more. Though there are some really cool pieces. I would like to see more color I mean there were more colors than brown in the Victorian age. Do they ever explain why brown?

    • Ava Strange says:

      I’ve never heard it explained, but I have the feeling it might have to do with old photos in sepia. And yeah, that is exactly it. It’s really cool, but fashion needs to evolve, it needs to be something a person can play with and experiment with, and this is just a little too static and one dimensional. There are infinite ways to do goth (the scene I grew up in and where most fans of steampunk come from), and seeming only maybe 1-3 ways to do steampunk, all based on slightly different “characters.”

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