Sarah Grace Goolden
Gender reveal videos have become more and more elaborate and dramatic over the years since their humble beginning in 2009. Expecting parents have pulled out all the stops to announce the gender of their unborn child. In only ten years, cutting into a blue or pink cake turned into shooting off fireworks, resulting in lawn fires and minor burns. Have gender reveals gone too far? Are they even necessary in a world that is starting to turn away from gender binaries?
Being pregnant is an exciting time! Soon-to-be mothers and fathers count down the days they can find out whether or not they’re having a little boy or a little girl. There is nothing wrong with wanting to know the sex of your future child and it can definitely be reason to celebrate. Lots of parents have shared their struggles with fertility and used these parties as a way to commemorate the success of multiple IVFs, years of trying, adoption, etc.
Gender reveal parties are harmless fun. However, we have to admit the concept is pretty odd.
Gender reveal parties typically rely on stereotypes, which can end up being accidentally hilarious. One of my favorite examples is a banner which states “pistols or pearls?” It’s an absurd way to categorize manhood and womanhood, boiling the experiences of either gender into two very weird stereotypes. Most of the words the parents used to mean “it’s a boy” end up being violent while the female counterparts are usually soft and dainty. Why do little baby boys get branded with “guns,” “rifles,” “badges” and “lures” while little girls are stuck with “bows,” “glitters,” “diamonds” and “ruffles?” I think this says a lot about our society. It’s pretty outdated and just plain weird to associate a child with weapons just because of their genitalia. It’s a step more than just gendering certain objects; it is gendering violence.
Another big issue people have with gender reveal parties is the fact that it implies that a child is going to ascribe to it’s assigned sex. This mentality excludes non-binary and transgender people.
However, as a lot of people countered, gender reveal parties can celebrate the sex of a baby while still understanding that gender is more than genetalia. Gender reveal parties are not inherently cementing the future gender identity of that child.
Another point is that gender reveal parties are just another way for people to broadcast every moment of their life, including moments that have been historically private and intimate moment between parents. Before the popularity of these parties and videos, a lot of expecting moms and dads would choose to not know the sex of their baby until they were actuallty born. Of course, some still do but this practice has been largely eradicated by the extravagance of blasting every second of pregnancy on social media.
To that argument, I say that we live in an amazing time in history where we can pretty much livestream our experiences for anyone to see. It would be amazing to have had the technology we have now during other eras. I would love to see the Instagram posts from The Renaissance. Imagine the Founding Fathers taking a selfie while writing the Declaration of Independence. Technology and social media is an awesome thing and I don’t think excited mom-to-be’s should be shamed for journaling their pregnancy and experiences.
Overall, I think gender reveal parties are silly and outdated but relatively harmless. As long as the parents know the difference between sex and gender and don’t set a forest on fire with blue fireworks, the parents should be able to celebrate.