You’ve read the headlines. You’ve seen the photographic evidence (thank you, Ashley Cole, for inducing nausea at the breakfast table with the reports of your white underpant-clad sexting). You’ve watched wedding rings go on and off more times than most of us have had hot dinners. So when will these Wives and Girlfriends (WAGs) learn that a cheating partner is not the biggest accessory since the Birkin bag?
According to typical WAG behaviour, the most sensible course of action when you discover that your man has been seeing a stripper/prostitute/glamour model/relation is to indulge in a period of anger for all of five minutes, until you are taken on a five star holiday, then listen to his half-hearted pleas and decide that all is forgiven. When Wayne Rooney’s cheating went beyond a trip to the ‘Auld Slapper’ (a fairly geriatric woman who charged by the hour) and he graduated to more youthful ladies of the night, we were all set for Colleen to give him the elbow and prove that the lucrative career she had established for herself was enough to help her stand on her own two feet. She had a child to raise and set a good example to. We saw her as the WAG who could do better than a Shrek lookalike, and who had more self-respect than the others put together. Then, suddenly, she was ready to give Rooney another chance and everything was forgotten. What happened to the sisterhood, Colleen? What happened to showing your child how to treat a woman with dignity?
The story has been repeated with Abbey Clancy, who last week was made Mrs. Peter Crouch, despite his various misdemeanours and her own celebrity status that could set her up fairly comfortably for life. Why did she need to cling to him like a woman possessed, taking him back after he made a mockery of their relationship? The same can be said of Cheryl Cole (who now, according to reports, wants a child with her serial womaniser – oh, sorry, loyal husband – Ashley) and Victoria Beckham. I have a lot of respect for VB as she’s an excellent businesswoman, mother and icon, but can she really be sure that David won’t let his eye wander again? And as for Stacey Giggs, she doesn’t have any kind of public role to fall back on, but that is no excuse for letting the pathetic Ryan make her look like a fool as he acts like a single man for years on end. These women are living on shaky ground, and it’s time to rethink their position.
We need these WAGs to look beyond the toxic relationships they are in, and realise that the grass really can be greener on the other side in this scenario. Yes, it’s incredibly hard to walk away, especially if children are involved, but it’s not impossible. So many young girls look up to WAGs as their idols, but what lesson will they take from the inaction of these women? Low self-esteem and an expectation of men to treat them as second-class citizens? This is such a step backwards in terms of feminism, but it doesn’t have to be, if only these Wives and Girlfriends would act like they’re worth something and realise that life isn’t about your husband’s pay packet. It’s about treating each other the way you would like to be treated, and not taking an abuse of trust lying down.