After a recent gender reveal party almost blew up a house, maybe we should stop having these things. It’s what the creator wants, after all.
We don’t want to get too wrapped up in cancelling things, lest we be the target of people who tend to do this, or people who oppose it, or people who do both. But maybe we should ‘cancel’ gender reveal parties.
What started with a mysterious cake cutting ceremony (blue cake means boy! Pink cake means girl!) can wind up being the cause of massive ecological damage, not to mention the untold lunacy of eating food dyed to be in colours that don’t occur in nature. And everyone who does them now looks stupid anyhow.
We’re not sure what would motivate someone to have such an event, wherein 30 of an expectant parent’s closest friends and well-wishers hold their breath in anticipation of a future child’s genitalia to be mentioned.
Back in September 2020, a couple hosting one of these ridiculous things in California fired a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” designed to emit a colour corresponding to their baby’s sex.
But the device ignited 1.2-metre-tall grass around them, which soon spread into a blaze that raged across nearly 40 square kilometres.
Madness, really. The ABC reported how Blogger Jenna Myers Karvunidis, credited with having the world’s first gender reveal party, and now that the horse has bolted, she’s gone onto Facebook and said “Stop it. Stop having these stupid parties.”
The ABC reported how Blogger Jenna Myers Karvunidis, credited with having the world’s first gender reveal party, took to Facebook and said “Stop it. Stop having these stupid parties.”
Gender reveal parties exist at the strange confluence and intersection between being old fashioned and relatively new: deciding which gender category the future person fits into (‘Champion Midfielder’ or ‘Dancing with the Stars Contestant Eliminated in Week 3’), all the while being something that’s competed for most gaudy, extravagant and prize-winning (‘Most Over-Indulged Middle-Class White Prat with More Money Than Brains and Overinflated Sense of Self-Importance’)
Jo B. Paoletti, a historian at the University of Maryland and author of Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America, told Smithsonian Magazine that pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colours for babies in the mid-19th century, yet weren’t promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I – and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out. “It’s really a story of what happened to neutral clothing,” said Paoletti, who has explored the meaning of children’s clothing for 30 years. For centuries, she says, children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6. “What was once a matter of practicality – you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached – became a matter of ‘Oh my God, if I dress my baby in the wrong thing, they’ll grow up perverted.”
If the baby’s gender is that important to you, there’s a thing called a sonogram. Your ob-gyn will tell you if you’re going to have. Then, go to the grocery store and pick out either the body wash that is a soft, herbal, organic, almond-scented journey to wellness and bliss; or the STEEL GRIPPED POWER WASH THAT MAKES YOU SMELL LIKE A TRUCK, SLAM IT, IDIOT!
Short answer: they’re stupid, and the more elevated and self-indulgent they get, the greater the risk they pose to people’s wellbeing and general safety.
Also, gender’s not binary, or set in stone, or solely determined by the kiddie’s junk. So, don’t.