Archive for December 28th, 2011

December 28, 2011

Wife Acceptance Factor


Wife Acceptance Factor¬†(WAF)¬†refers to design elements that increase the likelihood a wife will approve the purchase of expensive consumer electronics products such as home theater systems and personal computers. Stylish, compact, unobtrusive forms and appealing colors are commonly considered WAF. The term is a tongue-in-cheek play on electronics jargon such as ‘form factor’ and ‘power factor’ and derives from the gender stereotype that men are predisposed to appreciate gadgetry and performance criteria whereas women must be wooed by visual and aesthetic factors.

Larry Greenhill first used the term in 1983, writing for ‘Stereophile’ magazine, but Greenhill credited fellow reviewer and music professor Lewis Lipnick with the coining of the term. Lipnick himself traces the origin to the 1950s when hi-fi loudspeakers were so large that they overwhelmed most living rooms. Lipnick’s wife, actress Lynn-Jane Foreman, arrived at a different term: Marriage Interference Factor (MIF). Foreman suggested that audiophile husbands should balance their large and ugly electronic acquisitions with gifts to the wife made on the basis of similar expense, with opera tickets, jewelry and vacations abroad among the suggestions.