WAG Life: Perception Vs Reality
I’ve never given much thought to the term WAG, which simply stands for wives and girlfriends, and is mostly used in sports circles. I happen to be married to an athlete and therefore became a WAG, but I never thought it had negative connotations until fairly recently. Fellow wives and girlfriends would use the term when discussing things that many outside of our circles wouldn’t understand; things like coping with extended road games or training camp, the constant moving and changing teams, dealing with fans, or the excitement of game day. In these and countless other situations a big shout of “WAG life!” would be understood by all of us, whether good or bad.
Sadly, I’ve seen the tide turn, starting with the Basketball Wives franchise, where these basketball wives in particular were portrayed as materialistic, petty, bitchy gold diggers with not much going on for themselves. I remember the time a few years ago when a woman approached me on the streets of NYC and said that I looked like Evelyn Lozada from Basketball Wives Miami. When I gave her the side eye (because it’s just not true) she said she meant it as a compliment because I looked like a basketball wife. Now I’m sure she did mean it as a complement, but the basketball wives being portrayed were so far from how I see myself that I was offended that she somehow saw me and thought I fit the part as a shallow and materialistic opportunist. And now with this new WAG show on E! I could just about faint with all the stereotypes in one place, complete with the use of terms like “Head WAG in charge” and the statement “Millions of women want your man, it’s like a war zone.” I just can’t.
They shop all day, primp all night, they argue about WAG hierarchy, and they fight with each other in public. They are the epitome of catty and superficial and that’s just from the preview! It is reality television so we all know it’s not exactly quality programming, but they really had to go find the worst of the worst kind of boastful and egotistical women to pass off as the norm for this lifestyle.
At this point in my life I’ve lived in 6 countries and met many wives and girlfriends, from the NBA and overseas, and the vast majority are successful and accomplished in their own right and not at all the catty mess we see on these shows. I haven’t met a single woman who was there for the money or shoes, or whatever other garbage we’re supposed to be here for. I’m talking lawyers, accountants, teachers, physical therapists, business owners, athletes, you name it. These are women who when I say “hold things down” for their men, do so by lending emotional and spiritual support, and by taking care of their families; not by putting all of their energy into their appearance in an effort to stop their men from cheating on them, while engaging in jr high school battles in an effort to one-up each other.
It is a sad depiction of the life, and one that gives me pause when I use the term WAG to describe myself. The friendships I have made over the years have been based on our shared and unique experiences, and our love for our families and our men. We don’t fight in clubs over nonsense and we don’t argue over who’s in charge of our group of friends. The statement by one of the WAGS on the show, “Know your place in the hierarchy. There are rules” literally makes me want to gag. I’m not about that life, and I don’t know any WAGS who are.
Some will say there is a difference between the NBA WAGS and overseas WAGS and I say of course. There is generally more money and more fame, but that doesn’t mean the NBA WAGS are the living depiction of video girls, with big booties and no brains. It’s insulting and so beyond the reality that most of these families live. Of course you have your share of players (mostly young and dumb) who feel like the stripper or Instagram model is what they need to show that they’ve made it, but that’s not exclusive to the league, the NFL, or any major sport. It’s just that as professional athletes these men have much more access to the unsavory and thirsty characters; but it is by no means the norm.
At the end of the day I know that I should care less what people think of me or anyone in my situation, but oftentimes perception is reality and I’m only human. I would hate for people to think that instead of the accomplished and smart woman that I see in the mirror, they instead see a self obsessed, insecure woman who is entirely dependent on her man. So as tempting as train wrecks are, I hope to resist the urge to watch this sad depiction of women. I blame the E! Network for putting this garbage out there, but I also blame the women who allow themselves to be depicted in this way. They can’t possibly be proud to have their children see the cat fights, the shallowness, and the insecurity they display. There is nothing enviable about these WAGS and I can only hope that they are putting on an act for the cameras. I will remind myself how normal and down to earth the wives and girlfriends I know are, and I’ll hope that people see through the smoke and mirrors. If not, I’ll have to let that word go.