Sunday, January 5, 2014

Car Stickers - Identity Experiment

If you've spent any time in a traffic jam or parking lot, you're sure to have noticed that the backs of our automobiles seem to be a space set aside for self-expression. Why do we feel the need to put stickers on our cars? What do the stickers say about us? Is that what we want them to say?

Consider the following pictures:


We've all seen some version of the stick figure family. This one cleverly incorporating each member's presumed favorite activity. Even the family pets are included.

Here is a variation of the stick figure family. What can we assume about this family? 

We can often see memorials displayed. Why make a personal loss public in this fashion? What drives this display? Is the loss part of an expressed identity?

Personal Interests:

Some stickers seem to advertise to the world what the driver likes to do, presumably when he or she isn't actually driving. Why do we want others to know what we like to do?


Salt Life.


Political Statements:

Perhaps some of the most emphatic of all the sticker groups, the political statements are an undeniable expression of the driver's beliefs. Why identify with such strong political views?

All of the Above:

Well, what can we say? Some of us are just more motivated than others to make sure you REALLY notice them and what they are all about.


And if you're paying attention, you might even see stickers that mock the kinds of stickers seen above. What does it say about these drivers who want us to know that they've seen our self-expressions and they've got something to say about that? 


The satirical memorial:

The parodied family:

The anti-runner:

And even see a meme or two...

So what is it about this cultural phenomenon? Why sticker? Why are there strong reactions to stickering? Why are some compelled to express themselves and others react so negatively to such self-expressions? 

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