Gender reveal parties have gotten increasingly over-the-top as expecting parents compete to put on the most creative announcement.
These parties have not only caused devastating wildfires in multiple states, but people have also been hurt and even lost their life as the result of careless actions performed by families who put on these shows to tell the world the sex of their new child.
Gender reveal parties seem to have started abruptly and quickly became a new normal.
Melissa Barber, a Manteca mother of two, said when she had her kids in the ‘70s, she didn’t know the gender until she gave birth.
“That was part of the fun for everyone, anticipating [what] it was going to be,” said Barber.
Gender reveal parties were reportedly coined in 2008 by blogger and mother Jenna Karvunidis. She wanted to get her husband’s family as excited about her newborn as they were about her nephew, the family’s first grandchild.
She has since claimed to have grown mixed feelings about starting the trend.
In June 2020, The Guardian reported that Karvunidis is concerned by how far people are taking their own gender reveals.
On Sept. 5, a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used at a gender reveal party sparked a wildfire that burned over 20,000 acres and caused the death of a firefighter who was working to contain the fire.
A gender reveal party was the cause of another large wildfire in Arizona in April 2017, consuming 45,000 acres of land.
Added onto the expenses of having a newborn child, Border Patrol Officer Dennis Dickey, who started the fire, had to pay $8.1 million in restitution.
“Being someone who grew up in a fire danger area, I’m constantly dumbfounded by the total lack of intelligence when it comes to basic fire safety. People from California should always be aware and considerate of what can cause a fire. People lose so much,” said new mother and Redding resident Kristina Sonsky.
Other people share Karvunidis’ concerns about the safety issues these parties are creating and also add that there’s no real reason to have them.
“I think gender reveal parties are unnecessary, and a grab at instant gratification for the parents-to-be. I just think they’re a self-indulgent excuse for an extra party,” said Barber.
Expecting Manteca mother Melanie Snelling said that while she didn’t personally have a gender reveal, she thinks that they can be cute and fun. She added, however, that she believes they can be overdone and dangerous.
“I think the damage [they can cause] is insanely ridiculous. For something that’s not even really necessary in the first place, it’s pretty insane to perform a gender reveal in a way that can cause property damage. There’s plenty of cute ways to do a gender reveal without the risk,” said Snelling.
Not only can gender reveal parties be destructive but in 2020, we’re having more fluid conversations regarding gender.
The gender one is born into isn’t always the gender they choose to identify as later in life.
Why celebrate the born gender of a baby when there’s a chance that they won’t recognize themselves as that gender?
In that case it’s not a celebration, it’s a judgement.
Parents’ selfish need to bring attention to their pregnancy is not more important than people’s livelihood.