I know that is hard to imagine, but there are those people out there who sincerely dislike Steampunk and anyone who has anything to do with it. I am typically the type to live and let live. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and not every subgroup appeals to every person. Just as you would never find me associating with the popular or preppy people, so they too would never understand the necessity of a D20.
Such is life. People are different, and we all like different things. That’s okay.
But two articles (more so rants) I stumbled upon have my upset my Steampunk sensibilities so much that I felt I needed to address them here.
Why I Hate Steampunk is a rant from Fantasy Magazine that takes aim at the growing popularity of Steampunk. The author, Audrey Soffa, makes the incorrect assumption that because Steampunk is becoming more familiar to a wider audience and is enjoying never before experienced popularity, that Steampunk is a fad driven primarily by frauds and groupies. Though she can enjoy the Steampunk aesthetic, she takes issue the people who compose Steampunk.
Ms. Soffa’s arguments do have a point, and that is that Steampunk has groupies, but this is hardly a symptom exclusive to Steampunk. All subcultures have groupies that will hop on board for a bit while the subgroup is considered fashionable and depart from it when it has faded from the headlines, or fails to shock outsiders as it once did. Why then, Ms. Soffa, is the fact that Steampunk is increasing in its following, casual or not, a reason to hate the entire movement and all the people it embraces?
Steampunk is still a new concept for a respectable portion of the populace. My love of all things Steampunk, from Neo-Victorian fashion and art to classic science-fiction, started long before I had ever even heard the word ‘Steampunk.’ Imagine how surprised I was to learn that there was an entire subculture dedicated to “what-if” a la Victoriana. I embraced Steampunk long before I knew it existed or that there were others out there like me with a similar steam-driven passion.
I can guarantee that my introduction into Steampunk is not a unique one. People hear the name, explore it, and find they’ve fallen in love with a subculture perfect for them that they’d known nothing about. That’s hardly a solid reason to hate Steampunk. Ms. Soffa’s superiority complex over the newcomers to Steampunk is precisely what would stop Steampunk from reaching its potential and dying an early death. Hating someone who is interested in Steampunk but hasn’t read every single Steampunk work or can’t rattle off all of the Victorian authors whose past works influence modern Steampunk is counterproductive and negative. I certainly don’t need to hear it, and I’m not impressed by people who would try to portray themselves as “better” Steampunks because they have enjoyed a longer and more expansive exposure to the subculture.
Ms. Soffa, your negativity and elitism is not appreciated by Steampunks, and your commentary reveals your ignorance on the nature of subcultures.
This post has gone on far enough. Tomorrow, I’ll continue this rant by posting the second article in this ongoing series to bring some sense to those people who clearly can’t understand Steampunk. Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen!