Of Wives and Girlfriends

In any kind of sports competition, mainly football, cricket and tennis matches, you will be able to find similar set of people in different corners. There will be the coach of the team, who’s either staring blankly at the game and pacing up and down very calmly; if he’s like the German football coach Joachim Low, or letting cute, sneery grins escape him if he’s like the Spanish football coach, Vincent del Bosque.

There will be the crazy fans at one corner, who you’ll find swearing throughout the match, but shall wave sheepishly when caught on camera. Then there will be the whacky fans, with witty messages on their placards, wearing funny hair wigs, and with painted faces.

But in one shaded part of the stadium, there will be the WAGs- fanning themselves or clapping politely with pursed lips if the team they are supporting is losing.

They would be seen in oversized sunglasses, a tank top, and a drink in hand, accompanied by perfectly groomed hair and tanned skin.

So what is a WAG? It is an acronym that was used, to describe the wives and girlfriends of high-profile footballers, originally the English national Football team. But the term caught on, and is used to refer to wives and girlfriends of sportsmen in general.

Victoria Beckham, the wife of David Beckham, is known as the ‘Queen of Wags,’ primarily because of her husband’s  prominent position as the world’s highest paid footballer in 2004- his estimated wealth of 125 million pounds- and also because of her own glamorous association with the music and fashion industry.

Then there is Coleen Rooney, who married Wayne Rooney, currently the third highest paid footballer in the world, at the tender age of 22 and eventually went on to make a career as a TV presenter, columnist and celebrity product endorser, frequently appearing  in the British tabloid.

So is ‘WAG’ a derogatory term? I think on some level, yes.

The categorization of all women based on the sole fact that they are the wives or girlfriends of sportsmen entirely dismisses their personal identity. They are reduced to being the ‘wife’ or ‘girlfriend’ of some famous sportsman, denouncing their own individuality as a person. Their achievements would be constantly compared to that of their husband’s or boyfriend’s, inspite of the fact that their profession is entirely separate from them.

The WAG in question acts more like an ornament, and nothing more, all the while jazzing up the sports arena.

But I always feel that there is a certain amount of covetousness associated with WAGs. And why would it not be.

The glamour, the travelling, the money, and the simple ease of access to everything, from the company of high profile celebrities to parties and influencing fashion trends. Why would you mind all this, honestly?

One of my favourite WAGs is Sara Carbonero, the fiancé of Iker Casillas, the man who led the Spanish team to winning Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and then again Euro 2012. In addition to being completely beautiful, she was also voted as the ‘Sexiest Reporter in the World’, she has a flourishing career ahead of her as a TV presenter and sports journalist.

So if you ever do get a chance to become a part of the club of WAGs, or it’s male counterpart, give it a thought, and try to benefit from it, however cheap that sounds.

Srishti Chaudhary

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