Twitter can be a garbage place for women and non-binary people, but the social media platform also boasts opportunity for the thousands of talented and underrepresented comic creators just trying to get their foot in the door. That’s part of what makes the #VisibleWomen hashtag oh-so important. Production company Milkfed Criminal Masterminds, led by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction, announced the most recent #VisibleWomen day (which took place on August 7) on their website, concisely stating the purpose of #VisibleWomen:
"#VisibleWomen is intended to raise the profiles of women** comic creators, but we also welcome (and have always welcomed) non-binary creators too. If you identify as 'not male' and would like to participate, please do!"
On the designated dates bi-annually (in February and in August), female and non-binary creators follow a simple template along with the #VisibleWomen hashtag and examples of their work.
Members of the comic book community, including artists, letterers, colorists, inkers, and writers, are all invited to participate. Allies are encouraged to share and re-tweet the submissions in order to gain the farthest reach for the artists who otherwise might struggle to be seen. Too often excuses are made from "higher-ups" that they are trying to find diverse applicants but they just aren't out there. This is where they're wrong and where #VisibleWomen removes that particular excuse from their arsenal -- proving the talent is there if you simply take the time to look.
But wait, it gets even easier. They don't even need to scroll through the hashtag (although you should). All creatives who participate using the #VisibleWomen tag are added to a spreadsheet that those with hiring power within the comic book industry can freely access. The hope for the entire project obviously being that women and non-binary artists gain visibility and ultimately jobs in an industry still heavily dominated by men.
Recent statistics show men ranging from 61.9% to 93.8% of the creators at five major comic book companies. This is obviously unacceptable, and even though the awareness about the lack of diversity in media has increased, numbers are still pathetic. Through initiatives like #VisibleWomen, non-male creators are made visible in an industry that often ignores them or just simply doesn't make space for their stories. A way of saying, "I am here! My point of view is valid!"
During the most recent #VisibleWomen event, tweets came from creators all over the world in various stages of their careers. A variety of backgrounds, styles, and perspectives celebrated and made visible on a day of their own.
#VisibleWomen is only two days a year, so what can you do the other 363? Support diverse voices and perspectives by purchasing their work. Check out #VisibleWomen on Twitter and signal boost the posts. Make these artists visible year-round. The next #VisibleWomen day will take place in February 2018.