Gender reveal parties have been in the hot seat for a while now, even before one in California started a wildfire. This wildfire has grown to what the New York Times reported as “20,000 acres as of Sept. 18” and that “a firefighter died on Sept. 17 battling the blaze.” This is not the first gender reveal to bring havoc. The New York Times says that in April of 2017, a gender reveal party in Arizona sparked a wildfire that reached Colorado, consuming more than 45,000 acres. A car caught on fire in Australia, a woman died from an explosion in Iowa and a plane crashed in Texas, all due to gender reveal parties.
Are the lives lost and unimaginable damage done worth the photo-op with pink or blue accessories? On top of the thousands of acres burned and lives lost, gender reveal parties are notorious for putting a child in a gendered box before they are even born. The woman who is coined with popularizing gender reveal parties, Jenna Karvunidis, was interviewed by the National Public Radio and said that the baby that her infamous gender reveal party was thrown for is now “‘a girl who wears suits,’” Karvunidis adds that her daughter still uses she/her pronouns but that “‘she really goes outside gender norms.’” Is it fair to assign an extremely gendered color and to determine how a child will choose to identify before they are even born?
Karvunidis tells NPR that talking to her daughter has changed her views on sex and gender. She also acknowledges that these gendered parties have hurt people. Karvunidis tells NPR that she still believes that it is important to celebrate the child but mentions that there are definitely ways to do so with causing harm. Buzzfeed also commented on the controversy, by saying that gender reveal parties ingrain gender stereotypes, norms and expectations that people have spent centuries trying to root out. Most news outlets have covered the horrific wildfire but few have dug deeper into the underlying issues that are associated with the gender reveal parties themselves. Gender reveal parties have gotten way too out of hand over the past years, leading to people getting killed and wildfires burning thousands of acres. These gender reveal parties only engrain the idea that there are only two genders and that the sex that is assigned to a child at birth is the same way they will choose to identify as when they grow up.
If you still want to celebrate your baby, there are plenty of other alternatives. You could simply celebrate the fact that you are expecting a child, by throwing a pregnancy party or a zodiac reveal or a birthstone reveal or if you already know the name of the baby you could do something pertaining to that. If none of those ideas appeal to you, then maybe you want to go the route of just having a baby shower, and there are plenty of colors you can use that are less gendered than pink or blue. Another idea is to gather your closest family and friends and make it a surprise god-parents announcement. There are still an infinite amount of ways people can celebrate their baby without causing harm to the environment or the child.