Monday, December 12, 2011

A Healthy Alternative to Fascism (or: Putting Your Dieselpunk Look on the Right Side of Alternate History)

Unlike most of what I've written, and will write in this blog, this post pertains directly to the steampunk subculture, and its cousin, dieselpunk. Those of you who are here for posts about amazing people from history will still find some of those in this post, but there will also be some discussion of stuff you may or may not be interested in, or have any experience with.I will not be offended if you don't read this, but you will miss out on people like La Pasionara, and that, my friends, is your loss entirely. The next post will be about an amazing historical activist, and everything will be back to normal.

If you've been in the steampunk or dieselpunk subculture for any length of time, chances are you've encountered what I think of as steamnazis. You know what I'm talking about. Their costumes range from full-on SS uniforms with goggles thrown on, to fascist-inspired, somewhat fetishistic uniforms with vaguely ominous made-up insignia.  I don't like them. The ones that are directly Nazi in their insignia make me very uncomfortable, while the more vaguely fascist-inspired ones just strike me as a little gross. Their reactions to being confronted with my, or others' discomfort, has ranged from vehement, vocal defense of their costumes to frank, apologetic, and respectful apologies and the removal of offending Nazi insignia, which is nice but makes me wonder why they put the stuff on in the first place.

I'm not going to get into why Nazi uniforms and insignia make me uncomfortable. Frankly, I don't believe I should have to.  What I'm going to do today is offer an alternative, and suggest some costume ideas. I'm not telling anyone not to wear anything. If I meet you, and you're wearing something I find offensive or distasteful, I'll probably let you know, but that's not the point of this post. The fact is, I do not like fascism. I am not saying that everyone who fought against it in World War II was a saint, or that none of the people I'm going to show you images of below committed war crimes. What I am saying is that I dislike seeing fascism romanticized in any way, and that I'm tired of that aspect of dieselpunk. I'm also saying that the type of people you'll see below are under-represented in a lot of what I've seen of dieselpunk, despite their being on the right side of history, not to mention badass as all Hell. I'm saying I'd like people to look at the rest of this post, and draw some inspiration from it for future dieselpunk costumes. (Remember, by the way: as always, when dressing in military uniform, that some people consider it bad form/offensive to wear real decorations you have not earned.  As always, it's your choice whether you want to do something that might be seen as such.)

Mostly, I think I'm saying I'd like to see more anarchism at steampunk conventions, but it's possible I've already made that clear just by being Steampunk Emma Goldman.

So. We all know a lot of people fought against various fascist armies in World War II. I'm not about to tell you to put on a British, American, or Soviet uniform instead of a German one, though. There are more interesting alternatives. Interesting, not just in terms of costume, but in terms of the potential backstory you can have for your persona, if backstory and persona is a thing you do. The people below come from many different countries, and many different ideologies. Some believe in anarchism, some communism. Some are Democrats or Republicans. Some are Christians, some are Muslims, some are Jews, some are atheists. What they all have in common is that they risked their lives to take a stand against the rise of fascism.

Let's go straight to examples. See what inspiration you can find among them. (Click pictures to make them get bigger.)

I hear from a lot of people who wear fascist-inspired gear that its not the ideology they're after, but the look. Well, if it's look you're after, look no further:

That right there is a female chauffeur in the Valencias Communist regiment, during the Spanish Civil War. Her hat is jaunty, her spats are amazing, and she's got a pistol at the ready, tucked haphazardly into her belt, just in case she has to shoot some fascists later on. Pure dieselpunk.

The anti-fascist forces in general offer more costume ideas for women than do the fascist ones, because women often had an active role in fighting. (A topic I discuss specifically in this article about Spanish anti-fascist militiawomen) Here's an anarchist militia in Spain:

Again, there are some great looks for dieselpunks. And yes, I personally think it's cooler to dress up as an anarchist than to dress up as a fascist. Not that I think people must always present themselves as heroes rather than villains, but I think the role of anarchists in history is frequently misrepresented and ignored. Plus, this is a chance to create an alternate history. One where the anarchists and the communists won in Spain. OF COURSE I want to see people do that!

Let's look at some more anti-fascist women. Here's one holding up the flag of a major anarcho-syndicalist group:

If it's a fetishy look you're after, be aware: no fascist ever fought in high heels like this Spanish militiawoman did:
More Spanish women, ready to kill fascists. They're smiling because their hats and coats are awesome.

Has anyone ever looked cooler than these Italian members of the anti-fascist Partito d'Azione, seen here during the liberation of Milan?

Yes. It's the Italian partisan in the polka dot skirt, ammo draped around her neck like a scarf, ready to help South African troops liberate Pistoia.

Of course, you can keep your German military gear. Here, a member of the French resistance models a piece of German uniform. It pairs well with a nice pleated skirt and a desire for liberty. Nothing puts the punk back in dieselpunk like repurposing military gear.

And of course, it adds inherent richness to your backstory; your character may not be fighting for a country currently able to hand out medals, but her clothing tells you of a victory she's won. She's actually won two victories here: one, she very likely took an enemy's uniform from his corpse. Two, she looks way better in it than he ever did.

A recruitment poster for a Spanish anarchist militia. She's got the Uncle Sam "I Want You" poster beat on several levels.
I'm sure I've seen that belt on a couple of steampunks.

Ok, one more dieselpunk anti-fascist woman and then we'll move onto the menfolk. This is Dolores Ibárruri, known as "La Pasionara," or "passionflower." She was a major figure in the Spanish Civil War, and it was her famous speech at the Battle of Madrid, in which she declared of the fascist forces "¡NO PASARÁN!" (translation: they shall not pass!) that made that phrase the battle cry of anti-fascist forces for years to come. We'll come back to that. (But yes. It was her. Not Gandalf.) Here she is:

Alright, some male costumes. These folks are Spanish anarchist grenade-throwers. Hence all the grenades.
Does your heart beat a little faster when you read the phrase "anarchist grenade throwers?" Mine sure does.

If your alternate history has moved past grenades, what else could you fill those ammo belts with? The possibilities are fairly limitless.

Members of the French resistance, ready to punk the hell out of your diesel.
Any clothes and weapons you can piece together are appropriate here, which means let your creativity go nuts. Uniforms, civilian clothes, as long as it fits the backstory you come up with.

Just remember to identify yourself to your friends. Armbands, like this one worn by a member of the French resistance, or other markers can be helpful there, and also historically served as an attempt to make the resistance's enemies treat them as an opposing military:
Here's a great example of how such an armband might look on, while you stand on the front of a truck with your gun at the ready:

Diesel. Punk. No fascist has ever looked that cool.

I know dieselpunks don't have the same love for facial hair held by steampunks, but surely even dieselpunks will appreciate this Soviet partisan's beard:

Sorry, did I say "beard?" I meant bayonet. And grenades. And knife.

If it's a less rough-and-ready look you're after, check out these members of the Danish resistance:
Or these Yugoslavian partisans:
Anti-fascist dieselpunk is a great way to turn your regular vintage clothes into military ones. These members of the Dutch resistance could be posing for the faculty photo in the yearbook until you notice they're sporting armbands, and weaponry.

Here's a brigade of anti-fascist Bosnian Muslims:
A Czech resistance fighter during the Prague Uprising:
I know all you dieslpunks want those goggles. I mean, I do.

Members of the Polish Resistance during the Warsaw Uprising with (yes!) goggles on top of a helmet.
Some Finnish-Canadians who volunteered to go and fight for the partisans in the Spanish Civil War:

Americans came as well: the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Three thousand of them volunteered for service in Spain. About one thousand died there. They were America's first fully integrated army. Here is Salaria Kea, a nurse from Ohio, who went to Spain to help fight against the fascist forces:
Her outfit has a cape. Because, goddamnit, superheroes get capes!

Oh, and it's worth noting something. If you dress your child in fascist dieselpunk, I will look at you in horror. But if you dress your child like either of these awesome young Spanish anarchists, or some alternate-history version thereof, I will buy you a beer, and your kid a cookie.

Feel like keeping it British? How about dressing as a participant in some alternate-timeline's version of the Battle of Cable Street, a 1936 clash between London's police force, who were overseeing a demonstration by the British Union of Fascists, and over three hundred thousand working class Londoners; communists, anti-fascists, and Jews? Seven thousand uniformed British fascists had decided it was a great idea to march towards the East End, a poor neighborhood with a high Jewish population. Rather than let that happen, those who opposed them built barricades and faced down the police. A captured London bobby's helmet would make a great starting point for that costume, I feel. Just remember to raise your fist in the air and shout, as the Cable Street anti-fascists did, "no pasarán!" (It sounds great in a Cockney accent.)

Here's two videos made up of footage from that battle. They are both set to music, but one of them is to punk rock (because, come on. What could be more appropriate?) And the other is...well, also punk, but with a folkier sound. Your call. They're both good.

Ok, and if you're feeling less musical and more historical, here's the straight-up newscast.

So who's feeling fired up for some anti-fascist dieselpunk?

Look, I'm not telling anyone not to wear fascist-inspired dieselpunk. I am telling you that I personally don't care for it one bit, and I feel that dieselpunk anti-fascist looks are being undeservedly ignored. I was sitting around thinking about how cool anti-fascist anarchists are when I decided to make this post. That was about three hours ago. That's how long it took me to do all the research, all the writing, and all the photo-inserting, and also do my laundry and chat with a friend of mine about Boardwalk Empire. What I'm getting at here is that there are a lot of easy to find resources out there, if you're interested in deriving a look from this aspect of history. And I urge you to go for it.

No pasarán!


  1. For folks who are still looking for German 1920s and 30s military uniforms, you still don't need to go the Nazi route. During the time period, there were other paramilitary organisations in Germany, such as the Rotfrontkämpferbund, the paramilitary wing of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), and the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold, which was dominated by the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).

  2. if someone wears 'the uniform' obviously they are inspired by Hitler right? not any of the million media avalanche/parodies that have come since then. nice to have an opinion, i have one also.

    around you; only the Stalin inspired army coats of peace.

    -John Cleese, Chaplin, Glam Rock fan

  3. How much dieselpunk fashion do you see that's actually fascist? Does it really outweigh the zoot suits and swing outfits?

  4. Vaudeviewgalor, I didn't address issues of parody, because that's separate from what I'm talking about. I have certainly met dieselpunks in fascist gear who claimed they were engaging in satire, but you'd never know it to look at them. Rule of thumb: if you have to tell someone that you're doing parody, you are doing parody wrong. No one would ever doubt that, for example, John Cleese in the "Mister Hilter" sketch is making fun of Hitler; it's clear from his performance. A costume at a convention is not a performance, however, and often the people wearing them are not doing so in a way that indicates any sense of humor at all, or any motivation besides "looking cool." Another good rule of thumb for parody: if you're trying to look cool, you're probably doing it wrong.

    Tome, I would say I see at least one at every steampunk convention I attend. Sometimes more. I have heard reports of people seeing massive groups of them at some conventions. I certainly don't think it outweighs the good in dieselpunk; that's why I'm offering alternatives to it, rather than condemning a subculture I think has plenty of potential to be fun.

    Seeing just one fascist uniform at a social event makes me highly uncomfortable. It is common enough to be problematic.

  5. umm most "industrial" alternative crew wear army surplus military clothing ironically and because it is cheap, functional and durable. Wearing fascist clothing is often more about making a statement. Current fascists wear pinstripe suits and maybe the street thugs who align with their rhetoric wear bomber jackets, jeans and Doc martens.

  6. "I didn't address issues of parody, because that's separate from what I'm talking about. I have certainly met dieselpunks in fascist gear who claimed they were engaging in satire, but you'd never know it to look at them."

    sorry, all of it i see as superficial after experiencing the 70s. especially the Sweet, Sex Pistols & other punk/glam acts wearing nazi gear to take the pluck out of what is ultimately shallow shock & frivolous (clothing) that has little to do with the fascism going on today. climactically, a passe' shock.

    don't judge a book by it's cover. you'd never know it by looking at them: some of these really tough looking 'nazis' cry for hours into the night. just hand them a balloon to play with if it really gets on your gums.

    funny how smaller & mega-genocide gets so dismissed & passed over (re: Stalin, Sudan riders, Rwandacide, Leopold's Congo) because the nazi gear is better aesthetically --pushed, extolled, & media driven. seen in Stalag/Israel:

  7. Don't let that one spoil your view of the whole, especially since they're in the far minority.

    Steampunk events draw cos-players from all corners, and a lot of them don't match the general theme. For example, how many "Captain Jack Sparrows" have you seen at your steampunk events? To get even more ridiculous, I've been at steampunk events where there isn't just one steampunk boba fett, but two or three.

  8. Tome, I certainly don't let it spoil my enjoyment. But people in fascist uniforms make me very uncomfortable. I merely stated my feelings on that, and suggested some stylin' alternatives.

    I still love attending steampunk events.

  9. Excusing fascist costumes as being "ironic" is simply goddamned lazy.

    Y'all can do better than parodying genocidal tyrants in a way that doesn't show that you're parodying genocidal fucktards.

    Zombie Nazis? Sure. Dressing up as a Nazi and claiming you're "appropriating it" or "doing it ironically"? Utterly stupid, childish, and insensitive.

  10. sorry, all of it i see as superficial after experiencing the 70s. especially the Sweet, Sex Pistols & other punk/glam acts wearing nazi gear to take the pluck out of what is ultimately shallow shock & frivolous (clothing) that has little to do with the fascism going on today. climactically, a passe' shock.

    If it's so superficial why do people, such as you, feel so driven to defend it? I mean, if it isn't important then why bother saying anything?

  11. How much dieselpunk fashion do you see that's actually fascist?

    More than I fucking care to see. If you cannot evoke something OTHER than fascism from your fascist-inspired outfit, clearly there's not a hella lot of thought put into it.

    don't judge a book by it's cover. you'd never know it by looking at them: some of these really tough looking 'nazis' cry for hours into the night. just hand them a balloon to play with if it really gets on your gums.

    I don't give a fuck. I am not going to expend my energy befriending someone who might not be a fascist simply because I "shouldn't be judging them" on their fascism-inspired gear.

    I'll buy that this is a community for all kinds, even the fascist fetishists, but that means people who are at risk of facing violence from fascist should also be allowed to participate without having to worry one iota about them.

    Don't let that one spoil your view of the whole, especially since they're in the far minority.

    If the whole put more work into actively speaking out against fascism, sure, one asshole out of the lot isn't a problem. The thing is, I don't see a lot of effort going into purposefully thinking about fascism and the implication of fascist fashion AT ALL, from the whole.

    funny how smaller & mega-genocide gets so dismissed & passed over (re: Stalin, Sudan riders, Rwandacide, Leopold's Congo) because the nazi gear is better aesthetically --pushed, extolled, & media driven.

    Derail. 1) Don't tell the blogmistress what she should be focusing on when it's beside the point, 2) there ARE other people who do take into account such issues, and 3) if you think this isn't worth talking about because it's just about a fashion, it's just superficial, why are you even talking?

    Lots of missing the point. Who cares if dressing like a fascist is "making a statement"? The point is that if you want to mimick the Nazi fashion, you will be invoking a very specific history, a very specific era that upheld very specific values. Your clothes don't exist in some magical vacuum where the goodness of your heart is visible through your uniform. You need to consider carefully what it is you'll be communicating with what you wear, and how. And if you don't mean to make people uncomfortable with it, particularly people with family histories of fascist oppression, then you need to put some thought into what else you can do.

    It's one thing to be inspired by an aesthetic alone; don't pretend the aesthetic comes out of nowhere and has no history attached.

  12. this is how "rules of control" starts (steampunk autocracy?). the idea driving this thread makes me uncomfortable enough to yammer. i had to go through the witch hunting idiocy of Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) which wanted to shut everyone up because of offensive material. i thought we were past this after '85. it's important for you to see all this veneer as it is. that -and flags. it's cloth.

    am very anti-rule when it comes to cloth (and music).
    as you do, i have an opinion. you're sensitive to certain arrangements visually, i'm not.
    don't know if more can be said about this.

  13. Vaudeview, I have not attempted to make rules. I have expressed a preference. I have identified a behavior that makes me uncomfortable, and suggested an alternative that I find aesthetically and ideologically preferable. I am not trying to impose rules to enforce it.

    Don't panic, no one is trying to force anyone to dress or not dress any way they like.

  14. Just cosigning Jha's rather definitive response.

    Oh, yes, and noting the absurdity of critiquing Steampunk Emma Goldman for not speaking out about other genocides when she, well, has.

  15. Rule of control? Damn, I didn't realize you wielded so much power Steam-Punk Emma.

  16. this is how "rules of control" starts (steampunk autocracy?). the idea driving this thread makes me uncomfortable enough to yammer.

    YOU'RE uncomfortable? GET MORE UNCOMFY. Because clearly, you're not uncomfortable enough if you think fascist fashion is A-OK to wear in your world because it's just cloth!

    B1, I1, O1, N2, G2, O2, B3, I3, FREE, B4, G4, I5.

    Card via

    B1, I1, N1, B2, I2, G2, O2, I3, O3, N4, G4, O4, N5, O5

    Card via

  18. Yo Matthew Hackling?
    "Current fascists wear pinstripe suits and maybe the street thugs who align with their rhetoric wear bomber jackets, jeans and Doc martens."

    1. You clearly don't know what current fascists look like. ::holds up a picture of GOP national convention, nary a pinstripe in sight::

    2. The Boston Skinhead/Knackers scene, who actively engage in beating the everliving fuck out of neo-nazis, would like a word with you.

  19. look, the nazi's had some really great tailors. they had a presence, and even now someone dressed in one of their uniforms draws the eye. i get it. on an intelectual level i understand.

    but it isn't JUST cloth, and holding onto that idea is naive at best (and downright cruel). one of the reasons the eye is drawn to it, the main reason it's so fetishized, is the very brutality and horror beyond comprehension that said uniform invokes. and that's not really something you can wear with irony.

    of course you can do what you want. we don't live in a fascist country (yet). but understand that your gay, jewish, non-white friends and fellow con-goers have every right to see you in your fascist best and avoid you like the fucking plague.

    own it. deal with it. know that it's going to happenand stop whineing about it. and if you can't maybe you want to rethink your outfit.

  20. As a featured performer at Steampunk events across North America over the past 2+ years, I have to say that I've found it to be an over-overwhelmingly positive SUPER-culture (as opposed to a sub-culture).

    I refer to Steampunk (and by extension Dieselpunk) as super-cultures, because they do draw from many other sub-cultures and result in a melange that I believe is greater than the sum total of their component parts.

    That said, it's no secret that some of the kink sub-cultures (leather fetishists/Nazi fetishists, etc) have wended their way into steam- & diesel-punk.

    As is the case when empires collide, I think there are bound to be some awkward moments, for one person's idea of "normalcy" is bound to be another's idea of "shocking."

    Not to defend, or justify people who PURPOSELY try to shock or offend their fellow con attendees, but that said, one of the hallmarks of Steampunk has been its inclusiveness.

    As the child of a mother who was in fact incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp at the very end of WWII, I have no fondness for fascism (or any sort of suppressive regimes- Communist, etc.) in any way, shape, or form.

    And I quite frankly don't understand the fetish for Nazism (The film "American Beauty" helped shed a bit of light on the subject), but still, I concur with this blog mistress' idea of modeling our cosplay characters on "nicer" versions of whatever, since there are plenty of other kick ass role models available.

    (An aside, I'm reminded on one quite humourous satire in the person of "amateur fascist dictator (and root-vegetable enthusiast) Sir Roderick Spode," depicted in the "Jeeves & Wooster" PBS series, which was based on short stories by PG Wodehouse).

    While a super-culture has room for anyone from other sub-cultures, it's important for joinees to be sensitive to the fact that the majority of the members of Steam- or Diesel-punk are NOT extremists, and it is only common sense, and decency that one NOT jump into the scene in full regalia Nazi fetish gear and expect to receive a warm welcome, just as I don't think most Steam- or Diesel-punks would be comfortable with nudists showing up to events in (or rather not in) THEIR full attire (or lack thereof).

    Like it or not, symbols are fraught with cultural meaning. Unfortunately, Nazism appropriated the swastika, which actually is one of humanity's oldest symbols, having been found in ancient Greek civilization, as well as in Tibetan and Native American works).

    A little sensitivity goes a long way, and I believe there are ways to play make-believe without offending others.

    Merci Miriam for opening this discussion!

  21. The style of uniforms worn by Nazis were not unique to only fascists, they were common to the era.

    There are numerous examples of British, American, Canadian, and other national uniforms that were worn during the same period. Would the US Marine dress uniforms be considered fascist? What about the New Jersey State Police: or the Rhode Island State Police:

    I agree, that wearing Nazi memorabilia is offensive; however, the same could be said about wearing Stalinist NKVD regalia. I personally believe that Dieselpunks can wear this style of uniform, but only with creatively "made-up" insignia and awards (not Nazi). Besides, not everybody likes the Communist worker/soldier look.

    Furthermore, the original Punk movement during the late '70s and '80s incorporated much of this type of clothing for shock value. Isn't that what the 'punk' means in Dieselpunk?

  22. As a Rhode Islander, if I see someone wearing a State Cop outfit, I assure you I am doing my level best to avoid that person, questions of fascism aside.

  23. I think it would be nice for you to read Susan Sontag's article "Fascinating Fascism" to get the opposite point of view. Also the documentary The Architecture of Doom and some stuff about Leni Riefenstahl's work, such as Mary Devereaux's article for Aesthetics and ethics: essays at the intersecion - Beauty and evil: the case of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will. Because both explain that ok, Nazism and Fascism were bad stuff but they had a specific and seductive aesthetic.

    About what someone said about industrial subculture, I would recomend "Just Fascination", by Adam Leigh, "The Land of Rape and Honey" by Hanley, and the concept of metapolitical fascism/apoliteia by the English professor Anton Shekhovtsov - more about neofolk.

    I've been researching this theme about fascism and art as a mean of protest and as pure form of aesthetics. My first work was "Kunst ist Krieg: industrial music and martial discourses", in which I present industrial music culture, its references and cultural sources and then an analysis about the Austrian band Nachtmahr, who uses this fascistic aesthetics which you criticize on this post. Unfortunatelly, it's in Portuguese by now, but I hope soon some articles in English will be published.

    Still, I didn't want to do a propaganda of my work here.. haha sorry if you got this impression. I just wanted to tell those who are interested on such stuff that there are some people worried about that question and talking about it, looking from the other side, trying to comprehend deeply what are those people talking about, what are they doing in these fascist uniforms.

    It's ok for you to be uncomfortable, but maybe we should try to understand people's complexity - mainly because they are not real fascists, I guess so. Since the 80's and 70's, with Sex Pistols and then with Siouxsie Sioux we had this thing about Nazi stuff in punk and goth subcultures. There is some theory that the subcultures after punks are considered 'post-subcultures', because they are much more concerned about aesthetics than ideology. It's more about post-modern times, you know? It's difficult, but we need to break our minds limits when thinking the world as good and evil, fascist and non-fascist...

  24. First, let me say Steampunk Emma that I love your blog. This post was especially nice.

    Second, I write a blog about Dieselpunk, I participate on a Dieselpunk forum, I'm a member of a local Dieselpunk organization, I'm an editor of the online Dieselpunk Encyclopedia and I've written several articles on it. So I'm very active in Dieselpunk.

    Third, let me say that Tome Wilson, who posted some comments earlier, can speak with authority on Dieselpunk. He owns the Forum and is well known and respected in the Dieselpunk community.

    I mention about myself and Mr. Wilson because I think it's important to note our involvement in the Dieselpunk community for the purpose of this discussion.

    I can say with some certainty that there are very few Dieselpunks who get into the "fascist" look and usually the community helps them understand why it isn't appropriate. I'm not sure who've been telling you about seeing large numbers of Dieselpunks in Nazi uniforms at conventions but I've never seen them. Like Mr. Wilson pointed out, any few you've seen don't let those few bad apples stereotype a whole genre. Also, I've yet to come across a Dieselpunk who had expressed pro-fascist opinions. Most express no political opinions. In fact, several that I've met online or in person tend to be Left politically (such as myself).

    While I like your post, and it does give some good anti-fascist styles for Dieselpunks, fascism and the style of dress is not an issue in Dieselpunk.

  25. Larry, hi. Thanks for commenting. As I've said repeatedly, I am not stereotyping the entire dieselpunk community. I am referring to costume choices by some individuals.

    My primary goal in writing this piece was to suggest costume ideas that I think would be interesting. I did also want to address the fascist costumes that, yes, I have personally encountered at steampunk events. I identified these costumes as "dieselpunk" rather than "steampunk" simply because it makes more sense to me to call something inspired by 30s and 40s history "dieselpunk." All the times I have encountered these people, it has been at steampunk events. None of them have expressed fsacist ideologies, and I did not intend any implication that they did. However, costumes can have connotations and implications beyond what the wearer intends, and one of the effects of fascist-inspired gear is to make a lot of people uncomfortable.

    Again, I am making no generalizations about dieselpunks as a community. But to say it's "not an issue" is innaccurate. I have met these people. I have argued with these people. It has not ruined the steampunk community for me in any way, but it has certainly made events less enjoyable.

    I am not saying this makes dieslpunk a bad thing. I am simply offering some costumes that I think would be more interesting, and have better implications, and celebrate some heroes of history. Intend no slander to the dieselpunk community; I'm just suggesting some cool costumes.

  26. I'm glad to read that you're not trying to stereotype. However, I would again say that from my involvement in the community, Tome Wilson is right that most Dieselpunks tend towards Zoot suits and civilian style fashion. Your experiences are the exception and not the rule.

    I do think this blog post does provide a great look for Dieselpunks interested in a military style fashion. It's given me some ideas, in fact. :)

    I'm also into Steampunk (though not as much as Dieselpunk) and I get concerned about some of the romanticism some Steampunks show about the imperialism of that era. Games like "Space 1889", for example, hide the exploitation that was committed by European and American imperialism. So I find your blog refreshing.

  27. excellent blog..just excellent! thank you!

  28. The woman in the pleated skirt is a British SOE Agent called Winifred Watkins. She worked with the communist resistance in Nazi occupied France. I know this because she is my great aunt. The story of what she did is far more important and interesting than what she is wearing.
    Danny Watkins.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Thank you for your comment. I wrote this article specifically to address a fashion trend in dieselpunk and steampunk culture; people who wear fascist-inspired costumes to events are fond of insisting that "the fascists had the best outfits" and I was trying to demonstrate the nonsense of that claim. While I chose these images to serve as fashion inspiration, it was certainly not my intention to suggest that that was the only thing worth discussing about them. On the contrary, I encourage people to study, respect, and take inspiration from those who faught against fascism. With your permission, I would like to add any information you can provide or point me towards about your great aunt and the work that she did to the article. I would love to know more about her.

  31. I'm late to the party, I know... But did I miss something? Why is it wrong to portray a villain? Do you also condemn or find tasteless lord Vader costumes? I'm sure I could convincingly argue the galactic empire as depicted in Star Wars is the most evil fascist regime in factual and fictional history. They destroyed entire planets, yet... We romanticize the dark side. Should we also romanticize naziism? No, of course not, but a generic fascist costume is a VILLAIN and we need villains in cosplay.

  32. Yeah don't dress up as a fascist dress as a Communist instead because that's better right?

  33. I'm afraid the uniforms you showed definitely didn't show that Fascist uniforms don't look the best, the uniforms you showed looked like unimpressive rags to be honest, and given that "fascist" style uniforms weren't just worn bu fascists, but were the general style of the time, worn by American cops and allied military, as a earlier comment said, I don't see the problem with wearing that style of uniform.

  34. Anarchist f lamethrowers turns you on, but Nazi insignia makes you uncomfortable? What a load of bullshit

  35. Anarchist f lamethrowers turns you on, but Nazi insignia makes you uncomfortable? What a load of bullshit

  36. I am late too ..but I also think that if you want to portray an evil powerful person it is OK. It is roleplaying and thus should grant you the freedom to be whoever you want to be living out parts of your personality you cannot live out in the normal everyday work and social life. So why should I actually dampen my happiness (playing a villain) by changing into a good person dress and by acting on what complete strangers think of my villain roleplaying outfit? Since when should you decide what to wear based on opinions of people you do not care about? That is very much limiting personal freedom and choice and very much establishment and anti-punk. I have seen Nachtmahr live back in Germany and never in my mind would I mistake their performance and their outfits for a political orientation. They use it as shock factor. That is the freedom of art. Nevertheless are there some very good ideas for alternative costumes on this blog, Very informative.