We long for the nuclear family of the past 15



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It might seem an odd pairing, the nuclear family and car stickers, but the craze of one particular type of stickers shows that the illusion of the perfect family is still alive and well today.

In the 1950s and 60s, and even up until the divorcing boom in the 80s and 90s, there was almost the unwritten rule that families needed to be cookie cutter perfect. You needed to have a mum and a dad and some kids in a house and look happy. You’d present yourselves well, even if home life wasn’t happy, and marital disputes were rarely discussed for fear of looking imperfect.

In 2015, the typical family that we remember has changed dramatically – for the better – as there is not that overwhelming pressure to save face and stay together. There are single parent families, families with two dads or mums, and there are even families with grandparents taking care of the children. Nothing is too unbelievable now, so why is it that the My Family stickers are still so popular?

If you haven’t seen them (they’re everywhere!), My Family stickers have been attached to bumper bars and back windows for around 10 years and depict stick figure characters to present family members. It’s not often you’ll see just two stickers on a car – it’s as if the more stickers you have, the more impressive your family…almost like a badge of honour.

Griffith Law School researcher Dr Kieran Tranter has delved deep into the My Family sticker trend and found that they are not like traditional bumper stickers – they say something completely different about that person and their life.

His research found that very few same-sex or childless couples purchase the stickers, and they are primarily used by women aged between 30 and 50.

“It’s very much an attempt to capture a feeling of normalcy,” Dr Tranter told the ABC. “Which begs the question: Why that is challenged? What is going on that means that someone needs to declare this incredible, domestic, almost 1950s vision of happy families?”.

Dr Tranter’s other theory is that the stickers are a reflection of female competition and the ideal of the ‘supermum’.

“One of the hallmarks of being successful was to have a husband who’s still around, who’s quite manly and these very successful children who are doing lots of extra-curricular activities,” he says.


So we want to know today, do you think that My Family stickers are really necessary today considering that a ‘normal’ family doesn’t really exist? Do you remember the pressures you and your parents faced, trying to show you were happy?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. The most poignant stick figures I’ve seen are a child with an adult on each side pulling away. Sadly, I know the ex-family who were in my neighbourhood.

  2. Whatever the theory is on why people are putting these stickers on their family car, who cares really? But there is an issue arising from this practice & this is an issue that the police are concerned with. These stickers give out a great deal of personal family information to the general public. If a stranger walked up to you and asked you for personal family (the family illustrated) information, what would your reaction be? Would you feel very uncomfortable, wary, uncommunicative, like your personal space had been invaded, like it was none of this person’s business…even telling that person to fuck off? Or would you openly tell this stranger that the family consisted of mum & dad & 5 kids (& be gender specific & age-ranging specific from 4-16)? Would you tell the stranger what sports/interests each child had? That the home was unoccupied a lot of the time, due to parent & child out of home sports and other interests? Would the stranger be told that the family had a high-disposable income & that the Mrs loved to shop? Because this is what this sticker is saying to the general public. To the majority of the general population…these stickers are of no particular interest. To the minority, the criminal element…very interesting, usable information…& thank you very much!

  3. Would have been a problem in the last century with up to thirteen children, and husband’s early death – either through war or an illness curable today

  4. When my sisters and I were growing up, a family we had involvement with had 6 children – they were the most well behaved kids – their parents could take them anywhere and they always did what they were told. Unfortunately today, some folks cannot afford to have large families !

  5. No my family did not try to be cookie cutter perfect my parents were more concerned with hard work and decent morals

  6. Well I think they are cute. I have noticed a few with only one parent plus children and pets. If you are proud of your family and want to show the world, do so.

  7. The best one I have seen is the stick figures with mum, empty space, 3 kids, dog, cat and in the empty space “position vacant”.

  8. I saw an elderly lady with just a single granny fidure on her car. In todays world that’s asking for trouble.

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