What do homemade explosive devices, plane crashes and forest fires have in common? All have been caused by a gender reveal party.
If you don’t know what a gender reveal party is, it’s pretty much what it sounds like. A soon-to-be parent unveils the sex of their baby by some spectacle, usually revealing the color pink for a girl or blue for a boy. For example, professional baseball player Corey Knebel’s wife, Danielle, set up a ball filled with powder and Corey hit the ball revealing pink powder, signifying the couple was going to have a girl. When done correctly, I think gender reveal parties can be a nice surprise for your significant other; however, when an over-the-top spectacle is involved, that’s where issues arise.
The first recorded case of a gender reveal party was thrown by Jenna Karvunidis in 2008. She designed a cake to be cut into with pink frosting hidden on the inside. You may be wondering what is wrong with this. Well, she clearly should have made a pie, as it is a far superior desert. After Karvunidis’s party, people started to take it to the next level. I always admire people’s imagination and creativity, but I also know restraint should be a vital part of life. In 2019, a man filled an airplane with 350 gallons of pink water in a stunt for a gender reveal. It went … wrong. After releasing the water, the plane stalled in the air and crashed, injuring both the pilot and the passenger. In February 2021, a man packed an antique cannon with gunpowder in plans to reveal his baby’s gender to his family. The cannon exploded, but not in the right way, and shrapnel struck a 26-year-old bystander, who later passed away in the hospital. Not to mention probably the most well-known natural disaster caused by a party: a couple in California set off a smoke bomb for their reveal and caused a 20,000+ acre forest fire, which caused at least one death. Karvunidis has stated she regrets creating this trend.
I believe it’s time to stop these gender reveal parties. Celebrating the birth of a child shouldn’t mean the end of someone else’s life; there are more reasonable ways to commemorate a new life. Gender reveal parties also corroborate the binary gender system, which can affect development into adulthood. I personally don’t have a strong stake in the issue, but even Karvunidis has taken an opposing stance to the celebration. Gender identity is something to be explored, not defined at birth, and gender reveal parties reinforce the latter. Also, I think it’s a little weird to be celebrating a baby’s genitals, but people can celebrate what they want.
There are some positives to these parties, as they are a chance to celebrate, especially during the pandemic. They can be seen as a fun way to inform your friends and family that there will be a new addition to your household. Generally, after asking my friends, a lot of them think gender reveal parties are cute and a nice way to commemorate a big milestone. However, all of these things can be accomplished by a celebration of the child without focusing on their biological sex.
I love surprises, but not those that cause massive environmental destruction and death. People should be proud of their soon-to-be child, no matter what sex or gender they are. You are bringing new life into the world, which is something to value in itself. So instead of celebrating anatomy, we should focus on celebrating the baby.
Daily Arts Writer Maxwell Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.