Family StickersPosted: June 1, 2012
I hate driving, mostly because I’m an awesome driver and everyone else is horrible. I drive a lot and I’ve noticed that it’s incredibly easy to stereotype people by race, gender, or intellect. Intellect is especially easy because you can just go by bumper stickers. If they have one (which I’ve found to be unlikely as collecting bumper stickers seems to be addicting for most people), odds are they’re an idiot — especially if it’s one crusading some kind of social cause, or if it’s one that is really stupid but they probably think is clever (like, “Without men civilization would last until the oil needed changing” or “Driver carries no cash — he’s married!” — BRILLIANT).
But, thanks to the good folks over at FamilyStickers.com, there’s a new way to tell: family stickers.
These stickers are have to be the stupidest things ever, yet sadly (as a number of websites that sell the things explain) this is a “craze sweeping the world.” Odds are you’ve come across these things and maybe you thought they’re kinda cute or whatever, which would more than likely make you an idiot.
Now, ignoring the fact that this would make it much easier for some pervert or con artist to figure out if your house is worth stalking (based on the number of children and their hobbies which you’ve clearly denoted on your rear window, not to mention the fact that such stickers automatically denote you as a rube who has no taste and is likely easy to trick), what really bugs me is the ease of customization and so forth: with bumper stickers, you could denote roughly what kind of a person you were by the bumper sticker you had (sure, you could make a custom bumper sticker, but odds are you’re just stealing a quote or idea from elsewhere because you’re enough of a chump to buy a bumper sticker); maybe your bumper sticker was kind of rude so people knew you were a badass, or maybe you championed a social cause so people knew that even though you were driving a car that gets 10 miles to the gallon you cared about the environment, or maybe you had something sassy so people knew you were witty. But family stickers takes it to the next (logical conclusion): say you happen to like cricket and you’re in business, and say your wife is kind of flirty and is a stay-at-home mom, and say your son likes bike riding, and say you have a baby girl, and say you have a sassy dog that wears a dumb shirt you gave him.
Yes, there’s a sticker for that:
It becomes so easy to not just stereotype yourself (and have others stereotype you, of course), but to reinforce those stereotypes by having a sticker about you. And sure, there is nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom or being a crazy shopper or whatever but the selection of stickers kind of tilts things in the favour of males; the vast majority of stickers that either have a neutral or positive connotation are either specifically male while the ones that have a negative connotation are vastly female. There is some crossover, but there isn’t complete crossover. Say, for example, you and your significant other are roofers by trade:
There is a lady roofer and a lady firefighter and so on, but these are obviously androgynous shapes. The only difference in the above one is the scaling, for example: the man is slightly bigger than the woman. There is no extra curvaceousness or whatever, nothing to denote that the figure on the right is a female and the figure on the left a male. There is, of course, a lady-body called “busty”, in case your claim to fame are your fantastic ladyparts, but there is no businesswoman, for example. The vast majority of the crossover appears to be for women doing jobs that are traditionally seen as manly or that were once entirely dominated by men. There are more career-related bodies for men than women in general, and more hobby-related ones for women than for men. There’s a lady-baker, for example, with hips and a cake, and a male-BBQer, because, you know, a man’s kitchen is his grill. My argument, of course, is predicated on the notion that society sees certain careers belonging to certain genders, and my argument is that these stickers only serve to reinforce that idea. I can see someone claiming that my argument that my issue with androgyny in these pictures is sexist on its own (ie, because women shouldn’t be defined by their hips or breasts or whatever), but my point is that sites like Family Stickers have chosen, suspiciously, which stickers to be gender-neutral and which ones are gender-specific; it’d be just as easy to make the lady-baker androgynous but they didn’t, and they could offer the businessman to the lady-side but chose, for some reason, not to. Oh yeah, and there’s this, a body specifically called “busty”:
Most women have a shape different than most men and that’s the point of these stickers, to specifically differentiate people and genders. Not all women look like all women and not all men look like all men, but that’s not the point of FamilyStickers. They could have made the bodies and faces just one option (ie, pick a hairstyle based on your hair rather than your gender) but chose not to. And, oh yeah, they’re a little unrealistic, because (surprise, surprise!) female roofers obviously look different than male ones by virtue of the fact that they’re women and thus are genetically predisposed to looking like women:
FamilyStickers are silly, unrealistic, and ultimately sexist stickers that reinforce negative female stereotypes. The kind of morons who’ll buy these things likely think they’re cute or funny or whatever, but they’re also the kind of morons who’ll buy bumper stickers like this, so what do they know?