Particularly the ones who get their dander up whenever you try to take things in fun and quirky ways that they don't feel is "respectful" to their beloved topic. Whether it's grunge, steampunk, cyberpunk, or anything even a little interesting in its uniqueness ... there's always going to be someone who complains that something's "not real xxxx." In particular, I started thinking about it after this discussion on the Great Plains Steampunk facebook group, where after deciding to do something fun and entertaining in a Steampunk outfit the original poster was told the idea "wasn't real Steampunk."
The folks at GPS (myself included) immediately told Sarah (the thread starter) that the complainer needed to stop taking herself so damn seriously already. We loved the idea of Mr. Mochi and embraced the fun aspect that Sarah was bringing to her love of that crazy thing called Steampunk.
I've seen this similar complaint in a lot of avenues by the way. People say "oh that's not real xxxx" and then the creator gets upset that they're doing something wrong. In reality, the person doing the creating is most likely putting their own spin on things and should be left alone.
Mind you, this is distinct from someone doing something thoughtless like cultural appropriation of sacred objects such as Native American tribal feathers or other items that are of similar importance to a culture not your own. In the case of Steampunk, I also throw the "slap a gear on it" type of person into this camp. Only if they never progress past that point though. If the point of slapping a gear on something is enough to get them into the subculture, then by all means I invite them to start exploring.
For the fans of a topic, like myself, who've spent the time to really get a handle on their beloved subculture though? Give me a freaking break with the rhetoric. I'm involved in Steampunk and my other interests because I think they're fun. I don't want to take myself seriously all the damn time. Too many people do that as it is and forget to have fun as a result. Oh, and my favorite thing is that those types of serious folks get offended at images like this:
And this one is particularly offensive to those folks too:
You know what I say to those people who think these images aren't "real" Steampunk? Well it's the same thing I generally say to anyone who says something's not "real xxxx".
Stop being a buzzkill.