It’s all bout the Bass: a Steampunk Feminist Perspective of the Novelty Bustle

A novelty bustle made to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebrations was fitted with a musical box that played ‘God Save the Queen’ each time the wearer sat down.

  1. Rum-dispensing contraption hidden in a bustle and belt.

Novelty bustles have been around a long time. But I think both writers and cosplayers would find it a boon to think inside the cage (of a bustle) to warped creative mind. You could hide just about anything in there: an arsenal, a bomb, a mini lab, or a drinks cabinet (like the Steampunk Gin Bustle pictured below).

The Steampunk Gin Bustle

Of course, this isn’t a new concept, just an underutilized one. Most of these novelty bustles were humorous, but it isn’t too hard to see a serious application for these secret compartments in bustles. What a safe place to hide documents or maps.

Novelty Bustles

I’d like to see a few lady adventures with stealth bustles. I am most certainly writing a stealth bustle into my current Steampunk work-in-progress. And I would like to see more cosplayers with contraptions in their booties.

Punch, publication, 1874


Filed under Analogy, Fashion, History, Metaphors, Steampunk Cosplay, writing

11 responses to “It’s all bout the Bass: a Steampunk Feminist Perspective of the Novelty Bustle

  1. I’m well ahead of you, ma’am (or should I say that I’m well ‘behind’ in my ideas?) My principle female protagonist (you know her already) is often ‘packing something in her trunk’.
    But I see a challenge – to pack away even more (arsenals, devices, secrets, documents, lunches) in her fanny pack.

    And I note (looking up ‘synonyms for bag’), that one such synonym is keister! (It’s listed as ‘dated’)

    “So remember, ladies, keep your kit and caboodle tight and tidy in your keister.”

  2. I can imagine all sorts of spy contraptions hidden in a novelty bustle! Lockpicks? Pistols? Or how about a one shot steam-splosive jetpack?

    Thanks for the imagination-sparking article!

  3. Reblogged this on Cogpunk Steamscribe and commented:

    I thought this would be worth reblogging, just for fun. I still haven’t seen much in the way of novelty bustles.

  4. Pingback: It’s all bout the Bass: a Steampunk Feminist Perspective of the Novelty Bustle | Cogpunk Steamscribe

  5. I love this idea! Can’t wait to see what you come up with. 🙂

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