Sunday, January 8, 2012

Honda's Annoying Anti-Marriage Car Commercial

Have you seen the Honda "proposal" commercial?

In case you don't want to watch it, I'll give you the quick run-down:
It starts with a man proposing to a blond woman who is probably in her late 20's or early 30's. She, in an aside to the camera, states "Married? There were so many things I was gonna do first!"
We then flash to scenes of her driving with some friends to a mountain she wants to climb, loading a pink drumset into her trunk, and on a movie set so she can "finish my short film."

We finally go back to her poor boyfriend to hear her say "ok, but we have a lot to get done first"...just the response every guy wants when he proposes, right?

Now I know Honda is just trying to sell cars-they probably don't really care whether married couples or cohabitating hipsters are buying them. But I still don't like the attitude this commercial perpetuates. That you have to go "find yourself" before marriage, not just by determining your core values so you can seek a spouse who shares them, but by accomplishing some sort of bucket list of single adventures. That marriage means you won't get to do anything fun or exciting anymore, or have hobbies, or a brain. That smart girls delay marriage until they do everything they really want to accomplish first. And then they can settle for settling down.

A waterfall we saw on Mt. Rainier

But marriage shouldn't mean an end to adventure or fun or chasing your just means doing them together! To be honest, the only time I've gone hiking in the mountains was after I was already married (*gasp*...don't tell Honda!) and my husband, my Dad, my Mom (*double gasp*...people who've been married 25 years still having adventures too...don't tell Honda!!) my big brother, and I all hiked Mount Rainier together. If you are considering marrying someone who wouldn't be supportive of your adventures (like drum-playing, which seems like a one-person gig) and/or having them right there with you (like hiking, if that's your thing), they are probably not a good choice for you. No one should have a marriage that is actually a fun-sucking end to all adventure in your life. A good spouse is the absolute best support you can find for accomplishing goals and chasing dreams. They'll be there clapping, cheering, helping, and chasing right along with you--and in return you can help them chase their own dreams and end up doing fun and exciting things you might never have tried if you were single.

And the thing is, marriage is an awesome adventure in itself. It means sharing your whole life, your heart, your home, your ups and downs, everything with one person forever. Unfortunately, fewer Americans are choosing to take part in that adventure now than ever, and the ones who do are choosing to do so later in life than previous generations (check out this Washington Post article or the actual Census Data if you're interested). Attitudes like the one perpetuated in this Honda commercial certainly aren't helping inspire young people to seek marriage. I don't think one commercial alone is going to be the deciding factor in the culture wars occupying our nation. I do believe that the cumulative effect of so much of our entire media treating marriage as inconvenient and restrictive makes a difference in the way young people approach courtship and marriage. I would love to see companies like Honda instead feature married couples-and single people-whose adventuring status has nothing to do with their marital status.

Because marriage isn't the end of adventure, it's the beginning of adventures together.

*I notified Honda via Twitter of my post and they thanked me for my feedback but didn't reply beyond that (in case you were wondering!) I'll update again if I hear anything more from them!