Yesterday, two very dear fellow Steampunks and me got together to chat about a joint project and we made a list about what could go into the project.
During the chat we also found out we had differing definitions of what each one considered to be Steampunk music, literature and so on. To point this out again: There were three of us and we already differed. This is one of the definig features of the Steampunk subculture, there is a lot of difference.
From difference arises creativity, how can you do something new if you do no do something different in the first place. Sadly, there appears to be a growing number of style nazis (I am completely unappologetic about using this term, thank you), who attempt to ruin the fun for everybody else.
To say this again: Steampunk is to a large part about being different. Dressing different, taking a different look on technology, you get the idea. As soon as someone comes up and says you have to [insert self-serving criteria here] in order to be a Steampunk, they are taking something away. Precisely defining what we are means taking most of what we are away.
So, if you think you are the devinely appointed judge of Steampunk style, do us all a favour and just shut up. Leave your “steampunkier than thou” in the recesses of your angsty soul.