Tor.com have a great post by Ay-Leen the Peacemaker on The Ao Dai and I: A Personal Essay on Cultural Identity and Steampunk:
Steampunk can be more than simple cultural nostalgia about the way things were or a rebellion against the past (which, unless we really are time travelers, is nothing more than an intellectual exercise). Steampunk is ourselves today, holding the past in our hands, and asking, “How did we get here?” It can be as tangible as gears and dirt and cloth. It’s how we present ourselves, even if we come with nothing but the clothes on our backs. – read the full article!