Have you heard about a gender reveal party?
What am I talking about? Of course, you have! They are only like the newest, hottest, and must-have event all couples simply need to do when they are expecting.
I’m totally kidding, of course. No one needs to have a gender reveal party when they are expecting, and back in the good ol’ days (before Instagram), there was no such thing as throwing an elaborate party just to find out the gender of your bun in the oven.
What even is a gender reveal party?
A gender reveal party is essentially what I just said. It’s a party that expecting couples or single mothers throw themselves to announce the gender of their child, sometimes even unbeknownst to themselves.
Usually, Someone from the party who is trusted to keep the gender a secret creates a ‘show’ for the couple and their guests where they will either see pink (indicating they are having a girl) or blue (indicating they are having a boy).
The whole idea of throwing a gender reveal party originated with one Instagram user, Jenna Karvunidis.
Jenna’s reveal was through a cake, but through the popularity of gender reveal parties, couples have started to get creative with their ideas, including colored smoke machines and confetti guns.
Are gender reveal parties harmful for gender identity?
The short answer is, yes.
Unfortunately, the fad of throwing yourself a party to determine the gender of your baby can actually negatively reinforces society’s view of what ‘gender’ is.
And yes, I agree; in theory, celebrating the gender of your unborn child sounds fabulous. We all love a good party, and there’s NO question about that. The concern is that to some, there are not just two genders, those ‘two’ genders don’t need to fall into any characteristic such as the colors blue or pink, and finally, some people are simply born into the wrong bodies. Not to mention the difference in meaning between the words gender and sex. Though something tells me the term “sex reveal party” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
So now, does celebrating a gender really sound intriguing to you?
The impacts of a gender reveal party on gender and identity
Imagine this; you throw a gender reveal party and invite everyone over. When you cut into a cupcake, you all see the pink-filling inside and cheer that you are having a little girl.
Your friends and family all buy you pink clothes and toys like barbies and dollhouses.
But fast forward seven years, and your little girl is struggling with her gender and identity. She thinks she needs to act like someone she’s not all because of dangerous gender reinforcements. And yes, this starts with the ‘color’ they are assigned at birth.
So, I’m here to tell you whether to throw a gender reveal party or not, just to understand the potential implications.
It’s getting dangerous
It’s no secret that Instagram has created a tendency for all of us to want to ‘one-up’ eachother. Unfortunately, gender reveal parties are no exception.
People are going to great lengths to throw the most outrageous parties that don’t include cupcakes or popping a balloon filled with colored powder. Couples are starting to use tactics such as smoke bombs, powder canons, and things they can explode to see the beautiful color of blue or pink.
“… the device they used sparked a wildfire that burned thousands of acres and forced people to flee from a city east of Los Angeles. The fire prompted evacuations in parts of Yucaipa, a city of 54,000, and the surrounding area. Water-dropping helicopters were brought in but the fire has proven stubborn—it grew to 11.5 square miles (30 square kilometers) by Monday morning and more than 500 firefighters on the scene only had minimal containment,” reported Bloomberg 
Not the first time, and it won’t be the last
If you think this is a one-off situation, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. However, this happens more often than you think.
For example, “the 2017 Arizona Sawmill Fire that burned 47,000 acres was started by an off-duty border patrol agent”  throwing a gender reveal party.
The mom who started this trend, is even asking people to stop the madness.
- “Woman Who Popularized Gender-Reveal Parties Says Her Views On Gender Have Changed.” NPR. Lulu Garcia-Navarro. July 28, 2019.
- “It’s Officially Time to Retire the ‘Gender Reveal Party’.” Life Hacker. Meghan Moravcik Walbert. September 8, 2020.
- “California Fire Sparked By Device to Reveal Baby’s Gender.” Bloomberg. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (FRANK BAKER). September 7, 2020
- “Watch: Border agent’s gender-reveal explosion is the moment a massive Arizona wildfire started.” Youtube. Arizona Daily Star. Novem 26, 2018