When expecting a baby, it is customary to learn the baby’s sex at a 20–22-week scan. If the decision has already been made to find out the sex before the birth of the baby, then this scan is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy. When it comes to gender reveal parties, a third party learns the sex of the baby instead of the parents and the parents are then surprised at the party by a variety of nifty ways. Whether it’s to pop a balloon to reveal either pink or blue confetti, or to slice a white-iced cake to reveal blue or pink sponge inside, finding out the sex of the baby via a gender reveal party only adds to an already extremely exciting time during pregnancy and is a great way for friends and family to come together to celebrate.
However, gender reveal parties can sometimes do more harm than good, in more ways than one. If you’ve been following the media over the last year, you may be aware that an elaborate attempt to reveal a baby’s gender by some type of smoke device single-handedly caused a devastating wave of forest fires to sweep across Los Angeles, California. Also, in a time where a lot of expense is already going towards getting everything prepared for a new arrival, gender reveal parties, especially if in addition to a baby shower, fall under the category of “not needed”. What’s more, it’s a known fact that mistakes can be made when determining the sex of the baby by sonogram. Learning of such a mistake is already disappointing but imagine how such a discovery can be compounded if a huge fuss was made over the originally perceived sex of the baby.
Nowadays, the saying goes “I don’t mind what I’m having, as long as they’re healthy”. True, depending on the parents or family, one gender may be desirable over the other. Based on a study done in 1975 called, “Baby X”, this “desire” has been correlated to certain parent behaviours with the child being dependent on whether the baby was a boy or a girl- even down to how the baby was treated. With the way the times are changing, is it necessary to be placing so much importance on a baby’s sex?
Should I address the elephant in the room?
Is it wise to perpetuate gender norms in a world where gender neutrality and fluidity are ever-present? All the concern over whether your baby is a boy or a girl only for them to decide later on in life, they wish to change their gender or they’d rather not identify with either gender at all? Simply put, gender reveal parties just do not reflect the world we currently live in. Of course, not everyone is receptive to this new norm but celebrating or idolising the possibility of only two genders is slowly becoming an outdated mindset. The reality is there are many people in the world today who do not identify with the gender they were assigned with at birth and gender reveal parties do not support that eventuality. Gender stereoptyping is also slowly becoming obsolete so the idea that “pink” represents a girl and “blue” represents a boy just adds to the need for gender reveal parties to become a thing of the past.
On the decline of gender reveal parties, space can be made for other ways of celebrating a pregnancy. Why not have a party to reveal the pregnancy itself or a “name reveal party”? This is, if the need for a party other than the baby shower is even deemed necessary. Gender reveals are no longer intimate, family affairs but blog-worthy, hashtaggable events aimed to inliccit the most likes and reposts.
So, in this new era of changing concepts, why are we still having them?
At the end of it all, parenting is not about the child you had hoped for, but the child you have.