Steampunk is a delightful culture and since I discovered it within myself, I’ve really enjoyed going to events, meeting new people and experiencing the diversity that is just in the UK community. Working on the Journal I’ve been privileged to witness the joys of successful endeavours, I’ve interviewed some amazing people and I’ve been part of marvellous adventures.
Being the naturally curious soul I am, as I’ve read more, I’ve also become aware of a rot eating away at steampunk. I’ve touched on this problem previously in an article I wrote called The Rules of Steampunk whereby people are arguing on social media on what constitutes as steampunk or doesn’t. It seems that are a number of factors to blame. One of those is the like baiting that goes on in certain Facebook pages. An unwritten agreement is that within steampunk, there are no rules, so if you think something is steampunk, then it is. Yet everyday pictures get posted by the page Admin asking if it is steampunk and then they leave it for everyone to argue about.
It causes problems such as people calling out Amy Wilder (well known and reputable steampunk model) as not being steampunk.
There are other topics of concern that you can read about on the pages listed here. You may wonder why you should be bothered about it when steampunk is simply a past-time. You’re right. You don’t really have to be concerned about steampunk and how it will change over the coming years. I personally have no problem with steampunk changing. That is as long as it’s for the right reasons. Currently, steampunk is changing because of one person’s perceptions of it and the undeniable fact that everyone is accepting it. Rules have been drawn up and people are following those rules without questioning their origin or integrity.
There’s also outside interference, which is eroding away at the culture. It springs up in various forms, such as corporations trying to make money from steampunk, eBay listings using the word “steampunk” as a way to make something more expensive, magazines describing things as steampunk in order to gain clicks to their site (and increase ad revenue) or it could simply be people who don’t get/like steampunk publishing attacks on us. There was one such attack that I reported on with an article asking why steampunks are getting blamed for a lack of smallpox.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be adding to this area with a hope that people new to steampunk will be able to keep an open mind. I want to give a voice to a more neutral way of seeing steampunk. If you want to go along with the hundreds of thousands of others that take what is currently being said for granted, then you’re free to do that and no-one has the right to judge you. You will still be welcome on the pages of the Journal.