Lee­sha Han­ni­gan

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation -

The founder of Women in Fan­tas­ti­cal Art on her ‘safe space’

Why did you set up your site?

I no­ticed there was a trend of women who seemed to be a lot more ten­ta­tive in their ap­proach to the in­dus­try, re­gard­less of their skill level. Many women have said they’re hes­i­tant to ag­gres­sively pro­mote them­selves on­line, even though self-pro­mo­tion is an im­por­tant and nec­es­sary fac­tor of be­com­ing a suc­cess­ful artist.

How can mak­ing a ‘safe space’ for fe­male artists help break down the sex­ism in the in­dus­try?

Cre­at­ing a safe space not only takes away a lot of the pres­sure and un­nec­es­sary stress that can oc­cur while try­ing to say, nav­i­gate the in­ter­net as a woman, but also re­in­forces that sense of com­mu­nity, the feel­ing that we’re in this to­gether, that there’s tons of other women out there do­ing what you do, even if you might not see them as much, and that’s awe­some.

Are the fan­tasy, hor­ror and sci-fi gen­res still seen as ‘male in­ter­est' ar­eas?

The ma­jor­ity of it prob­a­bly still is to be hon­est, which doesn’t make that much sense look­ing at the more evenly spread-out de­mo­graphic. There’s a lot more fe­male fans than say, even 10 years ago. Peo­ple want to help make the con­tent they en­joy. For ex­am­ple, look­ing at the per­cent­ages of say, fe­male gamers to­day as op­posed to a decade ago would sug­gest there are ex­po­nen­tially more women be­com­ing in­ter­ested in th­ese themes. Many com­pa­nies have been re­vis­it­ing their con­tent and mak­ing it more ac­ces­si­ble and re­lat­able to a fe­male au­di­ence, so at least they’re be­com­ing in­creas­ingly aware of this trend.

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