The Many Reasons We Love to Hate WAGs
Over the past five years, the acronym “WAG” has risen to prominence, as it simply refers to the “wives and girlfriends” of footballers worldwide. In fact, the usage of the term “WAG” to describe this set of women has become so widely known and utilized that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission of the United Kingdom has criticized the word as being “offensive.” This is not due to any negative meaning inherent in the term, but rather, the term “WAG” is offensive because of its almost singular, pejorative usage. And with the modern popularity of the internet, the public cannot seem to satiate its thirst for stories and photographs of WAGs. In fact, a new pastime has seemingly developed out of mocking WAGs’ every move. However, the WAG stereotype can only be blamed on these “wives and girlfriends” themselves. The term “WAG” now refers to only society’s most shallow and materialistic wives and girlfriends. Everyone is annoyed, irritated, angered, and dumbfounded by WAGs, but there are a few obvious and general reasons why.
They Popularize Obnoxious Fashion and Beauty Trends
There is a definitive WAG uniform. If you are envisioning hot pants, short skirts, monster sunglasses, and irritatingly gigantic handbags, then you may have seen them out and about. And unfortunately, the worst in fashion is filtered to the mainstream through WAGs. The staples of the modern WAG include over-the-top bling and a less-than-tasteful exhibition of underwear as outerwear. Frankly, some WAGs are rarely seen in anything but underwear. Shirts only appropriate for the beach, skirts barely covering the behind, hilariously wide-brimmed hats, velour tracksuits, sweaty UGGs, and loud hair extensions are popular items in every WAG’s super-deluxe closet. And the ultimate goal is to display those expensive, bionic breasts. And while any normal man might be saying, “Hey, I like that sexy stuff on a woman,” please stop to consider these everyday fashions on your own wife or girlfriend. At lot of disapproving looks would be sent your way when everyone thinks you are walking around with a hired escort. Please be prepared for this, as a multitude of young women now aspire to be just like their idle, good-for-nothing heroines.
Now, every low level footballer’s wife and wannabe, and her mother, is taking the WAG stereotype to the next level. And unfortunately, most have bodies made for radio. Further accentuating this horror, prevalent usage of sunless tanner and tanning beds has become a must. Apparently, leathery, prematurely aging skin is desirable. Now, everyone will know that you’ve been living homeless on a beach! But luckily, these ladies can float home on their laughably humongous breast implants. And while every man likes a nice set of jugs, not all of them like their wives and girlfriends to look like freak show porn stars making their livings on bizarre fetish websites.
And this new found patronization of the fashion arts by WAG “leaders,” such as Victoria Beckham, makes WAGs even more irritating than before. After all, these wives and girlfriends, merely plucked from the obscurity of groupie-dom, are now dressing like legitimate, successful businesswomen. These glorified groupies now feel vindicated as legitimate celebrities and trendsetters. They now even see themselves as rode models for the next generation! I can imagine new parents peering down at their newborn daughter and hoping that just maybe, one day, their little princess can too become a tramp seeking out the biggest earner on her favorite football club.
They Encourage Unreasonable Extravagances
At the 2006 World Cup, a group of six shopping WAGs spent more than $80,000 at a single boutique in under an hour. They spent tens of thousands of dollars on champagne. In fact, the British WAG contingent ran up a hotel bill of more than $512,000 and spent nearly one million dollars on luxury extras including beauty treatments, restaurant dining, clothes, make-up, laundry, and alcohol.
Their husbands and boyfriends are earning near or over one hundred thousand pounds a week as football superstars, but in what way are WAGs entitled to spend every last dime of it to satisfy their undying vanity? Moreover, they seem to spend it without the slightest feeling of remorse or greater responsibility. In a world full of hardworking stiffs, including the millions and millions of football fans who spend their wages to, in essence, line the pockets of their favorite players, watching these helpless ladies carelessly spend it all is more than a little slap in the face. WAG shopping has become such big business that a British company, Travelex, has issued a special version of its pre-paid card for the shopaholic wives and girlfriends of footballers attending the World Cup in South Africa. The WAG card has an upper spending limit of £30,000, compared to the average limit of £5000. Doesn’t this all sound strangely like the script to Pretty Woman? These girls have a tendency to act more like high priced prostitutes than the significant others of athletic men.
To the great misfortune of less-successful footballers, and men in general, young women are trying to emulate their WAG idols, who enjoy all the world has to offer without ever breaking a nail. After all, what sort of jerk wouldn’t buy his special lady the flashiest of cars? Only the ones that never want to get laid again. Irresponsible credit spending, especially in Europe, can be partially attributed to the spending habits promoted by their WAG idols.
Tragically, our worldwide recession has even hit the WAGs hard. Footballer Steven Gerrard’s wife, Alex Curran, has stated that the ongoing credit crunch has halted WAG spending sprees. Alex, whose husband earns 120,000 pounds a week, claims that she now only visits the hairdressers twice a week! Others may even have to cancel the order for the new Bentley, or otherwise divert some of their enviable weekly pay towards clearing debt created by prior spending. These poor, unfortunate women!
The Distractions They Cause to the Footballers
The coach of England’s World Cup team recently described the wives and girlfriends of footballers as “a virus.” He also declared his intentions to only allow them visitation with players once a week for the duration of their time in South Africa. This was, in part, a reaction to the activities of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when several prominent wives and girlfriends of English players stayed near the team cap in the spa town of Baden Baden, and then proceeded to go on widely publicized shopping, restaurant, and clubbing trips around town, in effect overshadowing the performance of England’s athletes during the World Cup. The media covered their petty arguments and competitions with more zeal than they offered to their male counterparts actually taking part in the tournament. The WAGs flaunted their wealth and displayed their unmatched talent for drinking, partying, and shopping. They downed champagne in excess and danced on tables in nightclubs. Ecuador’s Alex Aguinaga famously proclaimed, “The English wives and girlfriends are causing a circus.” These three-ring-style antics were more than a mere sideshow, however. The distraction caused utter embarrassment for their partners, and for English soccer as a whole. When England shockingly lost in the quarterfinals, the antics of the WAGs, along with the paparazzi they attracted, were widely blamed. Following the 2006 World Cup, the WAGs were banned from attending future tournaments.
In fact, recent drama with regards to two English footballers, Wayne Bridge and John Terry, further highlights the unnecessary conflict and distraction caused by these desperate women. As a result of a four-month fling between Terry, who is married with twins, and Vanessa Perroncel, a French underwear model who is Bridge’s girlfriend and the mother of his child, Terry was subsequently stripped of the England captaincy and Bridge withdrew his name from the World Cup squad. WAGs are widely being accused of corrupting team chemistry.
The most frustrating aspect is that the attention paid to WAG activities seems to overshadow their well-deserving partners, who have worked long and hard to become the elite athletes of their sport. WAGs live wild celebrity lifestyles and throw their money around town, but they will not get within ten feet of a ball during the World Cup. These women, who simply relish in the spoils of their husbands’ and boyfriends’ efforts, cause them serious embarrassment, distract them from their game, and make them tabloid fodder.
They Are Only In It For The Money and Fame
Following the women’s liberation movement, you would think women happily identifying themselves by the men they married was a thing of the past. However, this is not the case for women desperate to land themselves a footballer. These wives and girlfriends openly embrace their WAG identity, and happily exploit it to get on TV, or otherwise find fame. They appear on reality television shows, go on game shows, and become television presenters. In England, there was even a program called “WAGs Boutique” wherein, WAGs were divided into two teams that set up rival fashion boutiques next to each other. The women then fought and argued, ultimately leading to reality and tabloid popularity. Additionally, Carly Cole, the wife of Joe Cole, starred in “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.” In a special called “Come Dine With Me”, you spend time in the homes of WAGs. Other miscellaneous programming exploiting the frightfully meaningless lives of WAGs includes “Wags Kids” and “World Cup Dreams.”
And when sexual scandals arise with regard to their significant others, they continuously, and suspiciously, choose to ignore them. In general, normal women would not take their husbands’ infidelities with such ease. After all, Coleen Rooney’s husband, the great Wayne Rooney, had a notorious liaison with a stripper known as “The Auld Slapper.” Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand cheated on his wife, Rebecca Ellison, with a flight attendant, and a model at his stag (bachelor) party. And of course, she is still around. Toni Poole, wife of the aforementioned John Terry, forgave her husband after his recent affair with a teammate’s girlfriend. With every WAG’s willful acceptance of these indiscretions, their unions begin to sound more like business relationships than romantic ones.
While “gold diggers” have existed in some form or another for centuries, the continued popularity of the WAG seems to make this practice more socially acceptable. And the more attention paid to them by the media and popular culture at large, the more we legitimize them, their practices, and their lifestyles.
About Dana Bashor
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