In recent years, hastags intended to make visible the work of people from minorities flourish on social networks.
It was around 5 pm in France on Monday, February 12, 2018, when American comics writer Kelly Sue DeConnick tweeted, "It's #VisibleWomen's day! ! We will start at 9:30 am on the west coast of the United States in about half an hour. A few hours later, the hashtag #VisibleWomen was present in the trends, and the social network was filled with beautiful images, the work of hundreds of artists who had answered the call.
#VisibleWomen was launched two years ago by the production company Milkfed, created by DeConnick and her husband, screenwriter Matt Fraction. A screenwriter known for her work on hit comics like Captain Marvel, Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly, Kelly Sue DeConnick is evolving in a still very male comics industry.
For example, in the fall of 2017, comic historian Tim Hanley, who keeps regular statistics on the number of women creative workers in the industry, had 15.6 percent of women on DC Comics' creative teams, and 18 % in the Marvel teams.
Demonstrate that female artists are present
This omnipresence of men in the creative teams of publishing houses is often justified by the idea that there would be "few women" in the comic strip world, or that they would be difficult to find. The operation #VisibleWomen intends to demonstrate the opposite.
Twice a year, since March 2016, women and non-binary people (people who do not recognize themselves in the feminine or the masculine gender) artists, artists, colorists, calligraphers or still inks are invited to tweet an excerpt their portfolio or a summary of their work, with a link and a contact address, on the keyword #VisibleWomen.
Hey! My name's Tesslyn and I'm a freelance illustrator and webcomic creator. I like robots and girls saturated colors! #visiblewomen pic.twitter.com/UAvZUkqXhw
– Tesslyn ✏️ (@artbytesslyn) February 12, 2018
Hello #visiblewomen! I am Joana Neves and I love fashion, folk tales and queer content
You can find me at: https://t.co/7FVCVarVzc https://t.co/Pg6rIy4YKwhttps://t.co/P9gcwjhH3i pic.twitter.com/rlgkQ3JlvT
– Joana Neves (@joananevesart) February 12, 2018
Milkfed employees list the name and contact of those who use the standard message in a spreadsheet, "freely available to any recruiting industry professional recruiting". People who do not necessarily want to be on the list can simply post their work on the hashtag, but without the standard message.
There are confirmed artists on the hashtag thread, who already have several series to their credit, or who work as cover artists, but also women who are new to the profession, or even who do this "to have fun".
I'm Kelly Thompson. I write comics & novels. You may know me from Hawkeye, Rogue & Gambit, Phasma, Ghostbusters, A-Force, Jem, and Mega Princess and my novels The Girl Who Would Be King and Storykiller. #VisibleWomen pic.twitter.com/kmjy2wN8B2
– Kelly Thompson (@ 79SemiFinalist) February 12, 2018
I'm Jen Bartel! I'm an Asian American comic artist and illustrator. I like drawing strong ladies and using colorful palettes. 🌈💖✨ #VisibleWomen ⭐️ https://t.co/Au7yAzwzfJ | https://t.co/R1tApRaQyj | https://t.co/DttC6Puxp9 ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/tBi7Y0ZyKp
– Jen Bartel – ECCC V8 (@heyjenbartel) February 12, 2018
Hello ! im xanthe⭐️i'm a dutch-indonesian illustrator & colorist from california! I'm agender and i like knights, queer romance, and fashion. i work on comics & draw fanart for fun! #VisibleNb #VisibleWomen pic.twitter.com/5KUyUlOECw
– xanthe✨ (@xoxobouma) February 13, 2018
Hello hello I'm Liya, a Chinese interior architecture student based in Germany! I'd love to work with illustrations in the future tho lol I love everything with plants, flowers and cozy environments! #VisibleWomen pic.twitter.com/jIDs1zk60I
– Liya🌸 (@mochiipanko) February 13, 2018
The previous edition of the event, in August 2017, was a great success: going beyond the initial initiative, the hashtag was relayed for nearly a week, and the animation specialists, game designers, photographers or tattoo artists had joined the creators of comics in sharing their work. This edition of February 2018 has kept proportions smaller, but many of the artists who participated in the hashtag have seen their work widely shared and followed.
"#VisibleWomen especially allowed me to make myself known by more people, in an already targeted audience: authors and other comics, or readers," says Margaux Saltel, French designer who participated for the third time to the operation. She has made several illustrations for children's books, and more recently variant covers, a common practice in comic book publishing for American publishers, and is currently working on a comic book project.
Hi! I'm Margaux, comic book artist from France! I drew some varying covers for various US publishers and I'm currently working on my first comicbook!
🔥 Portfolio: https://t.co/3MQOcuxnoY🖤 Instagram: https://t.co/tHlnjYsC2A#VisibleWomen pic.twitter.com/zmu7aGf9su
– Margaux Saltel ⭐ (@m_saltel) February 12, 2018
"The American orders I received are not related to the #VisibleWomen, but there is still a screenwriter who contacted me after the August 2017 edition." She estimates she won "about thirty 'subscribers, who say they are happy to discover [son travail]' with the February 12 edition. And the same goes for her friends: "Most have gained subscribers and visibility. One of them even received drawing orders after participating. The initiative is recent, and very American, it will take time to really see the results. But this type of hashtag is very useful to become known, and "weld" the communities of artists. "
Because #VisibleWomen is not the only hashtag of this type, launched to give more visibility to minority artists. While women artists are still struggling to gain recognition in the comic strip or video game world, the graphic arts community is generally more airtight to non-white artists. A 2014 study showed that in the United States, 77.6% of artists who were able to live their art were white. These inequalities are pushing more and more artists to try to give more visibility to their communities, and social networks are very suitable.
Thus, in September 2016, the author Tristan J. Tarwater, an American of Latin American descent, proposed on her Twitter account: "Ok, if you are a Latinx or who does things, use the hashtag #LatinxsCreate, put a link to your Patreon / site / etc, I will retweet for the #LatinxHeritageMonth ".
If you're a Latinx who makes stuff, use the hashtag #LatinxsCreate, link to your Patreon / site / etc., I'll RT it for #LatinxHeritageMonth
– Tristan J. Tarwater will be at ECCC MM2 (@backthatelfup) September 15, 2016
"Latinx" is a gender-neutral term, used in particular by US political activists and academics, to refer to people from Latin American countries, who make up 17% of the US population.
I'm Glenda, a Guatemalan in Chicago making art ~ mainly photography & as of recent youtube vids https://t.co/ub9XSuzLbu #LatinxsCreate pic.twitter.com/ziMX1kcc5y
– Glenda Lissette (@Glenda_Lissette) September 22, 2016
#LatinxsCreate I'm Cuban / Nicaraguan, I love to get my dirty hands with ink and draw characters with funky noses. pic.twitter.com/HY869ud4HR
– Ice Queen Aileen (@columnnotes) September 17, 2016
Again, the #LatinxsCreate was very much followed, especially since it was not limited to an artistic field. "I chose" create "because I wanted all types of creators to showcase their work, explained Tristan J. Tarwater. There are so many ways to create and I know we do it, we do art, we dance, we code, we write, we design, we produce, we film, and more. We do all this […]. I want us to be paid, to be chosen, to get orders. We have the skills. "
About a year later, in September 2017, Annabelle Hayford, who studies illustration and comes from a family of Ghanaian immigrants to the United States, also launched #DrawingWhileBlack, aimed at black (professional and amateur) artists. Once again, the hashtag was retweeted en masse, and for several days.
A RTs are greatly appreciated! #drawingwhileblack pic.twitter.com/SFptXsuuMk
– Abelle ✨🦌 (@sparklyfawn) September 13, 2017
I'm bee and I enjoy drawing animals and monsters #drawingwhileblack pic.twitter.com/pNJ2lFxmVa
– ✨BEE AND PUPPYCHAN✨ (@ puppychan48) September 17, 2017
Olivia + 3rd Year Student From NYC + Lover of Lines and Robots + https://t.co/4X8760TgJs✨ ✌🏾 # drawingwhileblack✌🏾 pic.twitter.com/bNgNI6uJ2X
– 💞💖💘💗OF💗💘💖💞 (@tncts) September 17, 2017
I'm an illustrator and aspiring storyboard artist! I also love animals! #drawingwhileblack pic.twitter.com/PpBlRVvD54
– malcolm (w / almond milk) (@GenOttr) September 16, 2017
Annabelle Hayford told SyFyWire in September 2017: "Bringing visibility and recognition to marginalized artists is important to me because I did not really see myself in the art world when I was younger. […] This type of event is created to show the world that we deserve to be recognized, that we are proud of who we are. The hashtag #DrawingWhileBlack quickly surpassed the simple limits of Twitter, and we could find publications related to this keyword on many social networks.
Hayford then created a Twitter account called @DrawingWhileblk to archive hashtag entries. The account also relays job offers in the artistic field, and initiatives related to the visibility of black artists.
Spaces of exchange
Many other keywords can also be found on social networks dedicated to the visibility of a community of artists and creators, such as #BlackoutDay, #Artistontwitter, # Asianartist … And this type of initiative can also be found in other professional environments where the lack of diversity is in question, as in new technologies with #WOCinTech, #WomeninTech or # diversityintech …
Note that often, even when these hashtags are only launched for a day, a week or a defined period, they continue to be used after the end of operations. Just click on #VisibleWomen or #DrawingWhileBlack to realize that the movement does not stop at one or two days in the year.
Beyond visibility operations, these keywords are used to create real communities, spaces of exchange and discussion, and are generally welcomed, in a positive and encouraging atmosphere. Annabelle Hayford told ComicsBeat in September 2017: "It's important to hire marginalized creators, but it's also important to create safe workspaces, and give us a chance to speak for ourselves, and conditions. of the industry, without being afraid of too violent reactions! "