Wags, Who cares

At the gym this morning, surrounded by at least as many women as men, the bank of TVs were showing men’s cricket, football, soccer, and music videos containing young women whose sporting prowess didn’t quite seem Olympic.

One program spent several earnest minutes on whether WAGs (Wives And Girlfriends of our sportsmen) should accompany their partners on tour.  Who cares? Why does this question even make the panel?  Do we see panels asking whether HABs (Husbands and Boyfriends ) should accompany touring female sportstars?

Well, we might if programming directors and producers had to fill their schedules with an equal amount of coverage of female sportstars and the issues they face!

Maybe, it is because producers are pitching to what they believe is a mainly male audience. Maybe, they believe these gods need to be protected from the distractions WAGs might present. Let’s face it, touring football teams might well behave differently if their WAGs were present, they could help get them back to their rooms after intense team bonding for example.

While, it was good to see a woman on the panel, it astonished me that a topic like this was given air time when there are so many more important things to talk about, such as competitive female sports women, their achievements and their challenges.

Why are we not using those precious television minutes for an in depth discussion on succession planning for female track stars, or why Caroline Buchanan, our world champion Mountain bike rider, has to self fund her representative tours. What about the Diamonds, how are they regrouping after the devastating loss to the Silver Ferns at the Commonwealth Games.

I know numerous people, men and women, who would appreciate vision of Lauren Mitchell, our latest Gymnastics World Champion, preparing for her next tournament when the stresses of the last few months of competition must have taken a toll on her body.

In these minutes on WAGs, we could check in on  Alethea Sedgeman who won gold at the Commonwealth Games, and she is only 16. There are our amazing surfers, Stephanie Gilmour, and Laura Enever – who just don’t get the recognition they deserve.  There is the achievements of Melissa Wu, who is such an amazing athlete.

Debating WAGs on TV underscores the fact that many in the media feel it’s more appropriate, easy, or of greater value, to report on the wives and girlfriends of male sports stars than on our incredible female sport stars.

Somewhere someone happens to think the public is more interested in what our WAGs are up to.  Am I off the mark here?  (I’d love to see your comments)

Imagine my excitement, when I noticed women actually being mentioned on the front page this morning, regarding the current issues with cricket. But further reading revealed it was not about our cricketing women, but the sorry state of Cricket in this country causing women to switch their viewing habits.

The Sports Performer awards were mentioned in the paper this morning. The females had 14 nominations to the males 22. Seems a little out of proportion when our female athletes way out performed the men at the Commonwealth Games.  It’s not about being anti-male, it is about continuing frustration with the media for not giving women the profile they deserve.

It’s why we started sportstar.com. We think female athletes and sports are worth watching as much as the male alternatives.  In some sports we may be slower, and not as strong as the men, and physically that may be correct, but damn it we are as competitive. Our application of skill is as compelling and the training, time and financial commitment is just as big as the men’s.

So if we have to cover WAGs, lets at least cover them for the sports they excel in, and for not just being possible distractions for all those footy players who have trouble focusing.  Failing that, let’s get some real sporting issues and features out there.


Megan James

  • Ironlady

    Great article, and oh so true!

  • Julie

    Thanks for this article Megan! It’s so true! I watched the tv news sports updates on a popular channel recently – across two updates at 7am and 7.30 am women, in general were mentioned only once…a quirky male reporter at the car races on the Gold Coast saying it was a shame it was so early as there were no topless girls there yet. OUTRAGE! No women’s sports were mentioned at all! WAGS indeed! To be fair, at the same time my parents saw a few good reports on women’s sport on the ABC 24 channel – Matildas at top of the list. It’s slowly happening – but certainly has a hell of a long way to go! Go sportstar! Love your daily updates – keeps me in the loop!