If you’ve been pregnant at any point during the past decade, you’ve probably heard of the concept of a gender-reveal party. The trend has been traced back to one mum who, in 2008, held what is widely considered to be the first gender reveal party. Jenna Karvunidis cut into a cake to reveal pink frosting (it’s a girl, folks!), and her ensuing blog post — and the idea itself — went viral. And now it’s time to stop.
Gender-reveal parties are problematic for one obvious reason that many of us, in the dozen years since that original party went viral, have come to better understand and acknowledge. The gender one is assigned at birth is not necessarily the gender one identifies as.
These parties celebrate a baby’s gender as their primary identifying characteristic — after all, we know very little else about them at that point. Said baby may find out years later that we were all wrong, but they still are bound to see the photos from a party meant specifically to celebrate the very thing they are not.
In case that isn’t enough of a reason, Americans have upped the ante in the dozen years since Karvunidis’ party. I’ll see your homemade cake and raise you pink or blue balloons released from a box. No, wait! We could pop a balloon filled with blue confetti or bust open a piñata full of pink candy. Or how about a few handy smoke bombs or powder cannons? Exploding or setting fire to homemade devices meant to reveal a baby’s gender in a grand fashion seems to be the hot new trend.
Over Labour Day Weekend, one couple and their small children headed out to California’s El Ranch Dorado Park to set off some type of device that would reveal the gender of their unborn child while a loved one videotaped the moment. As Bloomberg reports:
… the device they used sparked a wildfire that burned thousands of [hectares] 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 kilometres) by Monday morning and more than 500 firefighters on the scene only had minimal containment.
It is, unfortunately, not the first time a gender-reveal party has been blamed for starting a wildfire. The 2017 Arizona Sawmill Fire that burned 19,000 hectares was started by an off-duty border patrol agent:
And last year, a grandmother in Iowa was killed when she was struck by shrapnel from a homemade explosive device during a gender-reveal party.
Even Karvunidis, the mum who cut into a cake with pink frosting all those years ago, is begging people to stop with these parties:
The time of the grand gender reveal has come and gone. Go celebrate something else, and leave the pyro at home.