I love steampunk. However, I lack the necessary dedication and means of integrating it into my lifestyle and so have settled for this post explaining my fascination. As an added bonus, treat this as a drinking game and take a swig whenever the word “steampunk” pops up for an evening full of fun. Just don’t go driving afterward.
Beatrix Potter was pretty fierce. Now imagine her with a steampunk gun. Did your life just get more awesome?
The Victorian Age With License to Ball Break
Truth be told, most women – while not wanting you to throw down your jacket over a puddle for them – just want you to be polite and a tad bit more romantic/discreet. That’s where the fascination with the reserved Victorian Age comes in.
Unfortunately during those times women were viewed as little more than baby-producing ornaments with nice asses assets, which is fine if your goal in life is to set back the woman’s movement while wearing lace and corsets but not so grand when you want to do things like write books, become a doctor, or have your own life.
In the world of steampunk, however, women do their own thing and can dress as properly as they want or even don the occasional pair of overalls and workman’s boots while still enjoying the perks of polite society and classic romanticism. It’s the best of modern day sensibilities and gender equality combined with the cultural ways of an era long gone. In short: steampunk lets women be steam-powered punks with guns who stop for tea in the afternoon.
Steampunk laptop > Macbook
It’s the Doohickeys
I’m as enthralled by the latest tech gadget as anyone else, but the shinier things get the more bored I become. Why? Because while it’s great to have a box of wonders that can mow your lawn and do your taxes, it’s not very interesting if it’s just a shiny metal box with an apple on the side and um, you get the idea. What does garner interest is anything Rube Goldberg-inspired.
For the uninitiated, and those too lazy to click, a Rube Goldberg machine is an apparatus that completes a relatively simple task with several more complicated steps. Seeing as the steampunk age is built upon the supposition that all contemporary tech is possible without the advances brought about by the nuclear and computer ages, you’re going to find more than one machine that completes today’s work with 50 of yesterday’s steps – and that’s what makes it interesting.
Whether it’s marveling at how an artist creates something as simple as a watch in steampunk fashion or something as far-fetched as an airship, the room for imagination and innovation is unparalleled. Anyone can think of a box that does everything for you, but designing it in an engaging way is something else entirely.
You Can Dress Like a Hobo and Still Get Into The Best Restaurants
No offense to hobos, but they’re not conventional style mavens. They’re usually just concerned with wearing something warm that the other hobos can’t rip off them while they’re sleeping, and can’t be bothered with matching patterns and prints. But that’s exactly the appeal of steampunk: anything goes. In fact, the general criteria for steampunk fashion seems to be thus:
1. Was it around during the Victorian Age and can you wear it?
2. If you can’t wear it, can you hang it off what you’re wearing?
3. If you can’t hang it, can you just carry it around smartly?
Steampunk makes you look ready for a fight. Bitchin'
That being said, I love the look and judging by steampunk media and even roleplayers within the world of steampunk, nothing’s too steampunky or not steampunky enough. It’s the ultimate realm of fitting in while being yourself. But seriously, enough with the goggles. It’s like going to a hipster concert and everyone’s in Tina Fey glasses.
Everyone Can Do Everything
No, it’s not some warped sense of communism. What I mean is that, in the steampunk world, you get the feeling that anyone can do anything they put their mind to. With machines being as easy as movable parts, gears, and assorted whirling gizmos, steampunk has a do-it-yourself air that makes you feel like you too can put together an amazing piece of machinery.
It’s like taking shop class and realizing that with enough study you can be putting together the same cars you see on the road. Only these cars have mechanical gears on the outside and cannons welded onto the trunk.
– Beatrix Potter borrowed from the University of Pittsburgh site.
– The steampunk laptop is the work of the amazing Datamancer (www.datamancer.net) who mods and creates things to steampunk perfection.
– The steampunk crew in the second pic is actually the cast from the steampunk version of Twelfth Night. More details here and here.