In March this year, I kicked off an online platform called WAC. Many have asked me what WAC stands for – the story behind the name was mainly that I wanted something which didn’t have the words ‘women’, ’empowerment’ or ‘support’ in it, even though the group is exactly all of that. These words are so important, but they also have a tendency to give a bit of a negative connotation when put in the name of a group, if you know what I mean? I secretly also wanted something t-shirt friendly so that we one day could potentially grow our empire through things like cool tees and other group-collateral. That’s how I came up with the name WAC – We’re About Community.
WAC is a women’s-only group, where women, or anyone identifying as a woman, can discuss, ask for advice, help, support and bring up whatever they have on their mind or are currently going through. I’m a part of a similar network in Sweden called ‘Heja Livet!’ (Basically ‘Go Life!’), which was the initial inspiration of the group. Heja Livet! is extremely personal and private – a network of over 50,000 Swedish women helping, supporting, pep-talking and sharing the most confidential parts of their lives with each other, and giving the most sincere advice to complete strangers. I love it!
Today, WAC is something I’m truly proud of. We were less than 50 people when we kicked off five months ago, and today we’re about 500 members. The group is growing organically, and has taken more and more shape into what I hoped it would become at the time of launch: a motivation, encouragement & support network.
I think India culturally is quite hesitant to sharing personal things with larger communities, especially people you don’t even know – and that being online too. I’ve tried to push this vibe through personal posts about things like ‘what do I do about my hairy armpits’, or sharing my personal experience with finding a good therapist here, but mainly the group sort of stuck around to talk about things like fitness and travel advice. It’s not until recently that I see members reaching out for more personal queries.
WAC is a true passion project for me and nothing makes me happier than seeing posts come in several times throughout each day – both from girls I know & girls I’ve never met. I’m currently trying to figure out how to encourage our open forum to be even more open with each other, and more importantly, trust worthy, making sharing less uncomfortable. Trust has to be the common denominator, followed by respecting and not judging each other.
My vision is for WAC to be a safe space, for any woman who has anything to say or needs advice, perhaps on topics one is uncomfortable, or even is afraid, of talking about with family, friends or anyone else about something in-person. I personally believe showing vulnerability has a kind of domino effect, and once someone shares something personal with another person, a special bond is formed between those two people – a bond of mutual respect and responsibility. It is my sole mission to support the creation of these kind of bonds within our community, and my hope is that WAC will be just that kind of place. A place to openly discuss stigma-related things around career, marriage, relationships, anxiety and depression, while also continuing on the path of working out together, mingling, making new friends and trying new activities. The normal, day-to-day shit that we ALL deal with but dare to even think about. Does he like me? Where can I get an STD test? Will I be single forever? Can someone tell me how to go about starting my own business? About quitting my job? Does anyone else NOT get along with their parents? Who else in here has experience with ‘breaking up’ with a girlfriend?
At the end of the day there’s nothing more important than having each others back, and no one can really have too many girlfriends…