I found Feminist Steampunk on Facebook somewhat by a happy accident. I was hooked the minute I scanned their page: so many stories about seriously kickass women in history! And some great steampunk costume and item posts as well, of course.
The page is curated by Wilhelmina Thomas, who is an amazing woman in her own right. In addition to running this page, she's a cos-player, student of history, docent at Oak Hill Cemetery and volunteer at the Birmingham Museum of Art. And, on top of all that, she's busy earning an Associate degree in Architectural Design and Drafting Technology!
I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with her about the work she does for Feminist Steampunk.
SRPS: What's the mission of Feminist Steampunk?
WT: Feminist Steampunk was established in 2011. It is a Facebook page only; there is no website or other type of Internet presence. I do not have the time, expertise or equipment for more. The current mission is to provide historical reference for female Steampunkers, follow feminist issues in fandom, promote female artist, diversity and encourage dialogues about women history and diversity.
SRPS: What inspired the creation of Feminist Steampunk?
WT: The page was started by Emile Bush. She asked me to co-host the page because of the large amount of content I submitted. A great deal of that content referenced women of color, their issues and images which more mainstream Steampunk gurus do not either define or view as being a part of the general Steampunk verse.
Within the Steampunk community most female characters are taken from literary conventions and other fictional sources (mostly created by males); there were and still are few personas based on either real situations, real women or historical figures. It is our wish to catalog historical women, issues, achievements and fashions.
SRPS: Tell me a little about yourself, if you don't mind. Who are you? What piques your interest the most?
From the very beginning of my interest in cos-play, the Society of Creative Anachronism, and Steampunk, I have had an Afro/Mediterranean point of view. Birmingham, Alabama, the city I was born, raised and still live in was founded in 1871 at the crossing of the Alabama & Chattanooga and South & North Alabama railroads. Much of the city and the surrounding areas where I live are associated with mining towns, steel plants and foundry works. By 1923 workers had been recruited from all over the world. Large parts of the city's heritage include Asian, Armenian, Greek, Italian, Jewish as well as Afro-American and Anglo Saxon. There is more to the city than just black and white. The race, ethnic and class dialogues are quite complex.
SRPS: What has surprised you most about hosting a Facebook page? Either about yourself or the people who follow you? What has been the reception you've received from your followers?
WT: To be honest over the years I have been a member of any number of forums, boards and Facebook pages. I have been banned from a few and left a few because of derogatory remarks which I felt reflected conscious and unconscious racist points of view. After all, this is just a hobby, a form of entertainment, not a job. If someone does not appreciate my input I should leave.
Let's face it, I have an agenda. My agenda is to promote non-mainstream histories, point of views, images and to start dialogues which include many points of views. What surprise me the most about curating Feminist Steampunk is just how many people have the same agenda and how they interact with the page. For most of our history Feminist Steampunk has had a small loyal fan base that are very articulate about their likes and dislikes without being abusive or discouraging. When I add content they do no like or they think needs more research they let me know or provide more links. I love it when I learn something new. It is always wonderful when I get a thank you from a follower, a comment about adding something to a to-do list, to a reading list or 'I did that and here is the pics'.
I don't know about you, but I'm certainly impressed! As someone who runs a couple of online communities, I know how much work is involved. And dedication. If you're not already following Feminist Steampunk on Facebook, be sure to check them out and give them a "like." You'll be glad you did!
If you like the work I do here at Self-Rescuing Princess Society,
please check out my Patreon.
please check out my Patreon.
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