Friday, April 24, 2015

Railing Against the Machine

   So I'm a steampunk writer. But there are things I don't like about the genre. Mainly it's because I'm super picky; I like my aesthetic just so and a lot of the time steampunk tends to go overboard in my opinion. I like the cogs and pipes etc, but often there's just too much and it gets a little cartoonish, which is fine sometimes, I just generally prefer a milder dose.
   One of the areas of steampunk imagery that gets to me is the depiction of women. It's sexual objectification, but that's not why it bothers me. It bothers me because it appears to be part of the hypersexualization of all things Victorian.
   Seriously, it's like everyone is out to get revenge on the Victorians for being tight laced. I have a book about the 1800s and the author is obviously biased against their philosophy, dropping disparaging comments about the 'dreary asexuality' of the Victorians (What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Poole). As if the rampant sexuality of our own age were an improvement.
   Modern art and fiction likes to yank out the sexual bits from the Victorian era and display them (yes, the corset is the coolest looking piece of underwear ever designed, it's still supposed to be underwear), thus you have your sex object steampunk girls and an emphasis on prostitution. And there's films like 2011's Hysteria. Look around and you'll see constant negative references to the Victorian's mode. Everyone jumps at the chance to attack them for it.
   People like to point out the hypocrisy. No one can point fingers at anyone and cry 'hypocrite!' without inadvertently placing a mirror between them and their target. We're all human after all (unless you're a steamborg or automaton).
   What are we trying to get revenge on them for? It's been a whole century. Just because we can't control our animal natures doesn't mean we have free license to ridicule a people who at least tried to.
   Their way of life is looked down on as something repressive, a code forced on the people by church and state. But there had to have been a universal societal shift for the change from earlier codes to have even taken place. Before we write it off as evangelical bamboozlement, check to make sure we're not being bamboozled into an animalistic state of degradation. We might end up as a whole pack of sex object monkeys.

DISCLAIMER: Me hypocrite ;) In my WIP regency zombie comedy I myself refer to prostitution several times.
APOLOGY: I'm not good at organizing my thoughts and sorry if this tirade sounds a little angry :)

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