21st November 2020
Gender reveal parties (Source: BBC)
During the first week of September, a wildfire broke out at El Dorado Ranch Park, consuming thousands of acres of four-foot-tall grass east of Los Angeles. The fire was caused by a couple using a smoke generating pyrotechnic device to reveal the gender of their baby. A firefighter lost his life battling the flames, and about 20,000 acres of land was destroyed by the next week.
Another such wildfire broke out in Arizona burning 47,000 acres and causing more than 60 crore rupees worth of damages in November 2018 at another gender reveal party gone disastrously wrong.
Gender reveal parties started with the innocent intentions of a mother wanting to celebrate the moment she finds out about whether her unborn baby is a boy or a girl. Jenna Karvunidis started the trend in 2008 by merely baking a cake with pink icing revealing the baby to be a girl and posting it on her blog.
Unfortunately, gender reveal parties now have taken a turn for the worse. Not only have they been responsible for numerous dangerous accidents, but they have also sparked a lot of controversy over where people's beliefs of gender lie and stereotyping of it.
Biological sex does not always contribute to an individual's gender identity in the future. Gender reveals only sustain gendered stereotypes about femininity and masculinity and make it harder for trans kids to come out later in their lives.
In 2019, in a Facebook post, the creator of gender reveal parties, Jenna Karvunidis, urged people to stop having these parties. She wrote, "Who cares what gender the baby is? I did at the time because we didn't live in 2019 and didn't know what we know now – that assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of their potential and talents that have nothing to do with what's between their legs."
Karvunidis's first-born daughter, Bianca, played a huge role in educating her mother in gender politics. The 10-year-old considers herself a girl but refuses to follow society's norm of being a girl. "Bianca tells me there are more than two genders and many sexualities. I hadn't considered all this before," Jenna told The Guardian fearing the role she played in hurting the non-binary and trans communities.
Karvunidis aims at spreading awareness about the harms caused by gender reveal parties and making a more inclusive, tolerant and liberal world for her children and the world.
(Sources: The New York Times, Business Insider, The Guardian, Inside Hook)
Edited by: Suditi Jha