Steampunk design itself is gorgeous, whether it be in a hat, a laptop, a pair of reticulating spectacles or a set of concept art. The low-key lighting and unsaturated colours, the Victorian detail and the gothic inspiration, but a corset? What is that saying about the nature of a steampunk woman?
I may be wrong, but I think it has to do with the heart of womanhood. Steampunk woman at their core are strong, independent and yet, still very much women. I grew up hating dresses or skirts, belittling my femininity and wishing I were a man. But I see my daughters - very strong, independent and saavy young women - and they are equally at home in jeans, sweats, breeches or skirts. They are well-rounded, powerful women and I envy that in them. I need to remember that sometimes a generation needs to turn culture on its head for the next to flourish, and at my age, I think we did that. There has never been a better time in all of history to be a woman. Perhaps my lack of female identity has given my daughters the freedom to embrace theirs, and while I may never in my life have the courage to actually wear a steampunk corset, I'm quite certain that my daughters will. They will be strong and they will look smashing.
Maybe, one day, I will do the same.