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Pop-Culture: In Defense of WAGs

Written by Katelyn Wright, one of our opinion writers, and edited by Amber, one of our editors!

Sports are a multi-million dollar industry, and the influence of athletes is palpable both on and off the field. It’s no secret sports are a male-dominated industry. According to The Berekely Highjacket, Men tend to watch sports at higher rates, are coaching at upper levels of competition, their games are more heavily broadcasted, and men’s teams have better funding. Frankly, the list could go on for a long time. While there have been increased efforts to improve women’s sports and recruit and retain young women like those made by Nike, Under Armour, and the Philadelphia Eagles, women and girls are often pushed to the societal sidelines. 

But while the focus is mainly on the athletes, there’s been a resurgence in appreciation for the WAGs of sports' most in-demand athletes. According to Wikipedia, the term WAG was first coined in the early 2000s  to refer to the “wives and girlfriends” of professional athletes. While it sounds harmless enough, it has often been used in a derogatory fashion as a way to demonize the intentions of these women. While WAGs have always influenced pop culture, in recent years their reach has gone even further. The world is more than familiar with the accomplishments of women like Taylor Swift, Victoria Beckham, and Lily Muni who is a world-class athlete in her own right. They also happen to be in relationships with some of the most prominent sports stars, and their high-profile relationships attract an inordinate amount of attention.  As the cultural tide turns, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be a WAG and why they face so much scrutiny. While the rest of the world worries about their outfits, I’m more interested in the ways their presence and interest can change the face of sports. 


Oftentimes, WAG's attendance at professional events is enough to send fans and media into a frenzy. Cough Cough, Victoria Beckham, Georgina Rodriguez, Kendall Jenner. For example, just look at Taylor Swift and NFL viewership. At the football game Swift attended, there was, “a total audience of 24.32 million viewers and scoring the highest among female demographics across the ages of 12-17, 18-49 this week”(Variety). WAGs have the potential to draw in and secure viewers that don’t necessarily fit the stereotypical demographic for sports. While this might seem very minuscule, it has the potential to open the door to increased interest among women.


WAGs also have the opportunity to use their stature to actively campaign and make changes for women’s sports. Brittany Mahomes, a former professional soccer player, and her husband (Patrick Mahomes) have also been catalysts for women’s sports. As partial owners of the KC Current soccer team, the Mahomes have helped to elevate the team to new levels. KC Current has even become the first team in the National Women’s Soccer League to have their own stadium, which is expected to be completed before the 2024 season. These types of developments highlight a new era of women’s sports where with the support and initiatives of well-established individuals like Brittany Mahomes, women’s sports teams can access more resources and continue to cultivate their platform to maintain play at the highest levels. 

The Reality

Breaking News: WAGs aren’t just wives and girlfriends!!

They are health professionals, models, lawyers, businesswomen, philanthropists, mothers, and more who happen to be the wives and girlfriends of professional athletes. They make a lot of daily sacrifices to support their significant others. Rather than be vilified by misogynistic accusations, WAGs should be respected for their accomplishments and endless support. So the next time you tune into your favorite sports game, remember to thank a WAG!



This piece was written by one of our opinion writers, Katelyn Wright. Reach her at @katekatewrig on Twitter.

This piece was edited by one of our editors, Amber. Reach her at @spaldingamber on Twitter.


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