WTF does "AF" Stand For?
Mar 11, 2023
It has now been a week since I launched Bold Soul Designs Fine Jewelry. I knew going into this new venture that I would need a little help — I am NOT techy — even my texting is barely legible, as my friends can wholeheartedly attest. Thankfully I have had excellent assistance with this website, my Etsy store and Instagram; but it never occurred to me that not everyone would understand my products! So when I received Facebook messages from friends asking “What does the AF stand for” in my pendants, I immediately knew what my first blog would be about. I should have realized that there would be some ambiguity - after all, I myself had to ask my own kids what this acronym meant just a couple years ago! So folks, here is my grammar lesson on what “AF” means and why I chose it for Bold Soul Designs.
In my research for this blog, I discovered from www.dailydot.com that “AF” first came into the pop culture arena in the late 80’s via the “Straight Outta Compton” studio album lyrics “I’m sneaky as F*ck when it comes to crime…”. Fast forward twenty years and the abbreviation AF started to appear in chats, tweets and other realms of social media. This discovery definitely makes sense to a mom that had two kids going through junior high and high school when these abbreviations and social media erupted. If you think about it, that impatient (Instant gratification necessary) generation made swearing less explicit for all of us, as they began shortening up swear words for chat rooms, twitter and texting. I am pretty sure that I learned WTF, LMFAO, as well as AF by sneaking a peak at my kids’ phones back in the day. Don’t worry - I will circle back and explain these acronyms before we are done!
In 2014 around the same time that I was looking at my high-schoolers’ phones, “AF” made the top ten list for rising words at Aston University in Birmingham, England. Urban Dictionary (www.urbandictionary.com) states that AF is an acronym standing for “As F*ck,” not to be confused with Auto Focus (AF), that some of us recognize from having to actually carry real cameras with us everywhere before cell phone photography! The trendy AF acronym is not complicated — it is simply used after an adjective to emphasize, exaggerate or strengthen a statement. Usually a simple statement or a single word. I like to think of it as saying something in BOLD LETTERS with LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bold Soul Designs’ pendants: Strong AF; Be Kind AF and Happy AF are emphasizing being extremely over-the-top Strong, Happy and Kind. In other words, I want people to buy or gift Strong AF to emphasize being the strongest and most courageous that you can be to overcome any obstacles that might come your way — go beyond mediocre strong to find your innermost strength or super powers. It is saying, don’t just be strong. Be Strong on steroids because girl, you got this!
Is it still swearing if it is abbreviated? Well, YES. But…it is much more polite and respectable swearing since it is not spelled out for all to see! We now know what AF stands for and that alone is enough to make wearing an AF pendant feel fun, sassy and meaningful. I realize that profanity might be offensive, inappropriate or even unladylike to some viewers, and that shock value certainly was not my intent with Bold Soul Designs. I believe that swearing in general has become much more socially acceptable over the last decade and is simply part of our current culture. For my research on this topic I actually looked at this week’s Top iTunes Chart to verify a study that I found stating that 25% of the top songs are labeled explicit. Sure enough, I counted and 12/40 songs had the explicit sign next to them — closer to 30 percent!
According to www.scribol.com, 40 years ago swearing was not acceptable — not in public, or on television or in music — at least not until we got closer to the 80’s and our introduction to rap - and especially NOT for women. But studies now show that women and swearing is up by over 500 %; more of an increase than in men; and I personally can confirm this! My friends and I DO swear in the right context and are not ashamed of it. We feel that swearing has earned a bad rap and that there IS a need to let off some steam with a few cuss words when one’s emotions get high - especially in the right situation. Let’s face it, today with the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy, politics and kids at home online learning while maintaining social distancing — everyone’s emotions are fully charged! In 2011, Time Magazine reported a study proving that cursing can help with pain by releasing natural chemicals in the body offering instant relief. In other words, sometimes screaming the F-Bomb in the right context is all you need to just calm down and regroup. Take that Corona!
Like I mentioned, some of my jewelry collection is Bold. It is not for everyone. Nor every situation. I would not personally wear all of it to church or to a job interview, but in the right context, if someone is diagnosed with breast cancer or has experienced great loss or a negative situation, then a bold “F*ck” charm might make them feel a little better, more motivated, confident and maybe even bring a much needed smile to their face. Studies from Psychiatrist Nee Burton; Oxford, England, show that swearing can actually elevate our endorphins allowing us to feel collected, calm and more in control of the situation at hand. One can only assume that receiving or gifting jewelry with similar words can not only assist in elevating those endorphins, but perhaps encourage women to feel empowered and strong enough to tackle any challenge thrown their way. If as studies show, swearing can make you feel more in control of your life, then couldn’t cussing provide the edge that we need to overcome negativity or adversity? My pendants aim to offer that edginess with a little tongue in cheek humor. What better way to spread happiness and promote kindness than a cute Happy AF or Be Kind AF necklace!?
As promised I will end with discussing those “other” abbreviations. WTF (What the F*ck) is one of my most popular pendants and I chose that one simply because who doesn’t say that lately!? Honestly, Covid-19 has brought out more WTF’s in my house than I can count. It is truly the way to emphasize ARE YOU SERIOUS? Just turn on the news or look at your retirement funds and try not to say it! The WTF pendant makes a fun birthday or friend gift with just the right amount of sarcasm and a sense of realness that we all can relate to in 2020 with sheltering at home, working from home, kids learning from home, hair salons closed, gyms closed, Restaurants and BARS CLOSED …. need I say more? And lastly, LMFAO - Laugh my F*cking Ass off, or laughing harder than you can handle — as opposed to just LOL where we laugh out loud — this long acronym takes it to the next level of hysterical, doubled over, “I’m crying” laughter. Hmmm…. maybe a future pendant!?
I will leave you with one final thought on AF’s and swearing. Consider erasing some of the outdated connotations associated with swearing. Especially when it comes to the double standards of men swearing versus women and the latter being less acceptable. Ladies, I call Bullshit on that! LMFAO! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!). But seriously friends, let’s embrace the power of these words and the inspiration that they lend towards self expression. No one knows what personal battle someone is fighting and if wearing a “F*ck” charm offers inspiration and courage to a Bold Soul battling cancer then who are we to judge? Whether it is an acronym or a four letter word that you “swear” OR you “wear,” consider it freedom to express your inner self in a positive, fun and edgy way. I like to think of my jewelry as attitude changing accessories. If it makes you feel good in the right context then wear it! The Bold Soul journey is yours to take and my jewelry line can help you get there! Thanks for reading my first blog! Follow me for bi-weekly blogs filled with trending topics as well as feature stories on women who are authentic Bold Souls. Here is a link to my shop on Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/boldsouldesignsinc
Thanks again for visiting my site!
- Kris Mattson