The car-driving population in the United States is divided into two groups: those who put bumper stickers and other sticker "art" on their cars, and those who do not. I dislike stickers on cars so much that I parked in the student parking lot for a year, just to avoid complying with my university's rule that cars in the faculty parking lot must display a sticker on both the front and rear bumpers. (I finally gave in out of laziness -- the faculty lot was closer.)
With this background, it's perhaps not surprising that I strongly dislike those stick-figure family designs that I'm noticing on minivans and SUVs all around me. When I see these stickers, my first reaction is, "Ok, so you're married and you have kids; who cares?" My reaction reminds me of the common joke about those hideous "Baby on Board" signs that were popular in the 1980's: "Oh, now that I know there's a baby on board, I'll try to have an accident with another car instead." I see those stick figures and I wonder, "Why did this person want the world to know about the composition of his or her household?" (I secretly suspect, though, that I needn't have been so gender-neutral in the preceding sentence; I've never known a guy who admitted buying these stickers.)
Curiously, I have yet to see stick-figure car-based announcements of one's status as a single parent, or a member of a same-sex couple-headed household. Come to think of it, the same-sex couples would have to buy two sticker kits -- they seem to come with just one "mommy" and one "daddy." (I can't even imagine the number of sticker kits that those who are sister-wives have to buy.) Perhaps all the single moms should organize to donate their extra "dad" stickers to gay couples, and the single dads could donate their extra "mom" stickers to the lesbians or plural wives in the neighborhood, so as to cut down on excessive sticker purchasing. But then again, the stick figures might not catch on with the so-called "non-traditional" families. After all, some LGBT folks only reluctantly accepted the HRC equality symbol sticker, preferring the rainbow arch throwback (which always makes me think of Mork and Mindy, not gay people, in any case).
To be clear, my dislike of car "art" is not limited to that which advertises who is in the car ("baby on board"), the marital status of the person likely driving the car ("I've got a husband!"), or the sexual/political preferences of the car owner ("I like gay rights, gay people and/or all colors in the spectrum"). I cringe at those, "My Child is an Honor Student" stickers and political campaign stickers, too. My biggest cringe of all time had to have been when I saw that one of my faculty colleagues had put an "Obama Biden" sticker on his car -- the day after the election. Everybody loves a winner.
stick figure image by Chroma Graphics