Commercials are great. I see tons of them every day, and none are funnier than the auto insurance commercials that I love so much. But for some reason, a recent commercial by State Farm has really caught my attention.
You may have seen it: it starts off with a single man who claims that he will never get married, never have kids, and never move to the suburbs. However, by the end of the commercial, he has done them all. And even though I have seen similar commercials like this, the “American Dream” scenario continues to concern me.
Let me be clear: I have no qualms with people who want to get married, have children, and move to the suburbs. If that’s the life you want to lead, then that is an awesome life. Who am I to discourage a person’s path in life? But unfortunately, this is exactly what the commercial does. It discourages those of us who do not want to go down that road. Through a montage of contradictory statements, we are led to believe that all people will end up in the same destination, whether we want to or not. It mocks young adults by saying that their claim to “the single life” will ultimately change, that what they want when they are young will never hold up in the end. If people can claim a right to a career when they are young, then they should have the same right to do so in their romantic lives. Single people can be successful, and most importantly happy, even if they do not have a spouse or a child. Support systems come in many shapes and sizes. Even though single people may lead different lives, they can still be fulfilling lives.
Even though most of us statistically will get married and have children, a growing number of people are choosing not to marry. According to a 2013 Census report, about 44 percent of people age 18 or older were unmarried (United States Census Bureau, 2013). That is a LOT of people. Even more interesting is that 68 percent of people ages 18 to 34 were unmarried as well (United States Census Bureau, 2013). That is essentially the young adult population. And while some of those people will end up marrying later in life, we must still be respectful of the many people who will continue to stay unmarried, for whatever reason that may be.
So the next time you hear someone at a party say, “Man, I’m never getting married,” instead of thinking that they will eventually change their mind, take a minute to acknowledge their sentiments. Chances are, they are pretty serious.
United States Census Bureau (2013). Unmarried and single Americans week. Retrieved from: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/newsroom/facts-for-features/2014/cb14-ff21_unmarried_graphic.pdf