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If gender reveal parties are still a thing in 5 years I'll just go ahead and die— Goddard: The Sequel (@SpankedBrunch) July 26, 2019
Now the woman credited with inventing the pink and blue nightmares has come forward to say enough is enough.
“A weird thing came up on Twitter, so I figured I’d share here,” wrote Jenna Myers Karvunidis in a post on Facebook. “Someone remembered it was me who ‘invented’ the gender reveal party. I had written about my party on my blog and a parenting forum in July 2008. It was picked up & and an interview with me was published in The Bump magazine and the idea kinda spread from there. I’ve got the article framed!”
A weird thing came up on Twitter, so I figured I'd share here. Someone remembered it was me who "invented" the gender...Posted by High Gloss And Sauce on Thursday, July 25, 2019
“Anyway, I’ve felt a lot of mixed feelings about my random contribution to the culture,” she continued. “It just exploded into crazy after that. Literally – guns firing, forest fires, more emphasis on gender than has ever been necessary for a baby. 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.”
Then there’s this kicker: “PLOT TWIST, the world’s first gender-reveal party baby is a girl who wears suits!”
There’s been some excitement about the creator of gender reveal parties calling them to come to an end.
So does this mean gender reveal parties can end, like yesterday? Also, I swear if my brother hosts one (& is stupid enough to tell me), he will only get feminist and queer theory books as presents for the rest of his life https://t.co/E8jWtnjdJf— Erin Morris (@Morrsport) July 26, 2019
All while the inventor of the gender reveal party is calling it all dumb and obsessive— Ingrid Walpurgisnackt (@SHYNUDISTGRRRL) July 26, 2019
1. That kid looks so confident in that suit.— Nikki Panda Stout (@CamillaPanda) July 26, 2019
2. Can we as a collective society end gender reveal parties? A baby shower is sufficient enough. No need to emphasize one part of the fetus when as a baby and person will have so much talent and potential to celebrate. 🙃😶
Despite cancel culture unfortunately still being in full swing, the response to her change of heart has overall been positive and welcoming.
Sharing this not as a dunk, but as a genuinely happy revelation that this person realized that we aren't served by living in a world with rigid and coercive gender expectations for children, acknowledged her misstep and subsequent learning, and embraced her kid's self-expression.— Avery Alder (@lackingceremony) July 25, 2019
Yeah like. It's really, really great to see someone go "actually, no, I was wrong, and here's why"— A Kind Of Computer Ghost (@EsserZed) July 26, 2019
Fuck yes. I love a good "I learned!"— A Kind Of Computer Ghost (@EsserZed) July 26, 2019
Though some say it hasn’t been enough.
It’s nice that she realises she made a mistake, but I’m not sure she’s really atoned for, or is event truly cognisant of, the regressive right wing evil she unleashed on the world.— Dame Judi Hench (@grabcocque) July 26, 2019
Twitter user @joshisnotarobot had a delightfully dark take on it.
May we all live long enough to regret the most resonant thing we've done to society.— Josh (@joshisnotarobot) July 26, 2019
A debate over the best way to handle gender and infants cropped up, but overall the consensus was that as long as you listen to your kid when they tell you about their gender identity, you’re doing fine.
I love this. I plan to raise my kids in a home where gender roles don't exist but gender identity is respected, so they feel free to decide for themselves who they are, without expectations or constraint, and while they're too little to know we'll just show them a full spectrum.— oh look another fool (@ElenaBjxrn) July 26, 2019
That's fair, I think there are many approaches. We raised our kids gender-neutral until they made a choice, personally.— Avery Alder (@lackingceremony) July 26, 2019
What I will say is that creating a sense of permission and possibility around gender usually requires active dialogue and opportunities. It can't be passive.
Other users discussed the major issues around gender reveal parties—you don’t know the child’s gender yet, it’s just an anatomy-based guess!—and how they play into how transgender kids are treated.
In my head every time I hear someone is doing a gender reveal party I say “It’s a sex reveal, not a gender reveal. Not the same thing!” I rarely say it out loud though.— Chuck B (@Chucko78) July 26, 2019
Parents are often the first and worst abusers trans children will encounter. To feel unwanted or to be made the scapegoat for the family's problems sticks with you your whole life. That's frankly all I can think about when I hear about "gender reveal parties."— The Girl Least Likely To (@Gwynnion) July 25, 2019
And there was some pushback, with people defending gender reveals or taking it as an attack on gender as a construct.
Remember how you felt when finding oit the gender. This is a feeling everyone feels when bringing a baby into the world. Its ok to be excited and want to make the experience of finding out magical.— Melissa (@Momlife2325) July 26, 2019
I think its fine to have a gender reveal, the kids not born to be affected by it. However after they are old enough to choose what they like they shoukd be given options, not just forced to wear dresses and play with unicirns, or if male.....trucks.— Heather Macdonald (@Hesterquirl) July 26, 2019
sometimes y’all are a little to fake woke like it’s just a fun party to see what gender your baby is gonna be born as if they decide to change it when they grow up OKAY but why do y’all have to take the fun out of everything got damn.— ⎊ (@BDESTARK) July 26, 2019
Just because we’re recognizing gender is a construct doesn’t mean we’re trying to take it away from you.
Twitter user @andromakie suggested a brilliant solution that respects the child’s gender identity and grants them agency.
Maybe we could wait and have gender reveal parties at somewhere between 10 and 16 when the child is comfortable identifying (or choosing not to choose) their gender? Then you could have baby shower cake AND gender reveal cake.— Jo F (@andromakie) July 26, 2019
And there were a couple of other delightfully ironic suggestions, too.
I wonder if gender reveal parties exploded in popularity as a way to have more than one party per motherhood, too? Like, ONE baby shower, for the first kid. So having a socially acceptable excuse to party was tempting, maybe.— Mrs. Darsy (@darsynia) July 26, 2019
We can still do that without gendering it up though!
new idea: baby reveal party. am i having a baby? drumroll... yes. and then everyone gets cake— StinkBrigade (@StinkBrigade) July 26, 2019
Power move: the answer is no but there's still cake— D. B. Graves (@dbgravesauthor) July 26, 2019
Given how popular gender reveal parties have become, some people were shocked to discover that they are a relatively new trend.
I really thought this came about in like the 1950’s >>— Py (@Maractacular) July 26, 2019
I knew gender reveal parties were new, but I didn't realise they were *that* new. I'd always guessed mid 90s or something. Crazy that in just a few years it completely infiltrated the public conscious.— plorl (@Cpt_PORL) July 26, 2019
And people were generally there for Karvunidis’ parenting.
As a trans guy I can't say like how touched something so simple like this is. A+ parenting to be sure!!!— Adrian ❤️ Carter (@RainyAdrian) July 26, 2019
"if you slide into the DMs of a 10 y/o I'll end you 😁"— Lauren Johnson (@LaurenLFTP) July 26, 2019
Art. Perfection. Beautiful.
i cannot stress enough how healthy and supportive this is.— mateusz 🔪 (@piotrowskixx) July 26, 2019
So now that the inventor of gender reveal parties has turned against them can we please just let them die? The unburnt forests will thank you.
- Here’s the video of the gender-reveal that caused $8 million in damages
- Guns, glitter, and studs: The weirdest ways to reveal your baby’s gender
- Mom goes viral with gender reveal photo shoot for her 20-year-old trans son
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Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org