Gender Reveals?


River Denny, Staff

Pink and blue balloons; cake; an entire audience waiting in suspense. That crying child in the background.
Ah yes. Gender reveals. We’ve all seen one, whether it be on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or if you were actually there- it’s become a very popular tradition- especially here in America. To me, nothing beats watching videos of people learning their baby’s gender than through parties they spent too much on, children crying because they’re not getting a little sister, and the attempts to reveal a baby’s gender without something going wrong. Although this otherwise harmless event doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal, there are a lot of people who would like to say otherwise. But why? Well, luckily I’m here to explain that to you; I’ll be focusing on the pros and the cons of gender reveals, and people’s opinions, as well as ending it off by telling you my own opinion on this matter, but not before I give you a quick history of gender reveals.

Let’s go back to 2008 when the first gender reveal took place. Jenna Karvunidis has dubbed herself as the one to start the trend on her website-, and many others. As her story goes, she had received the gender of her baby boy and to surprise her husband, placed blue balloons inside a party bag. Pretty basic, but I think it agreeably gets the point across. And as you would suspect, through the years these reveals became not only more popular but more extreme. Explosions of confetti or colored powder, giant boxes for you to cut into, hot air balloons, a crane- the list goes on.

One can also argue that it strengthens relationships among family and the friends who help to plan it. Just take a minute to search gender reveal on YouTube and you get the chance to see into the lives of people who care about these parties a lot. It’s brought an entire community together due to it.

And it’s widely known that all gender reveals don’t always go as planned; take Jonathan Reilly’s story for example. According to The Atlantic,
“The gender reveal that Jonathan Reilly orchestrated for his first baby didn’t go perfectly. In 2016, he had his mother-in-law secretly write down the baby’s sex and order balloons from a party supply store. The plan was for the balloons, which were all blue, to stay hidden in a bag from Reilly and his wife until the couple hosted a party. The balloons would appear and reveal that the baby was a boy. But the store put them in a clear bag. Reilly inadvertently saw them before the party even began.

The experience was in part what inspired Reilly and his wife, Tori, to start their own gender-reveal company. Called Poof There It Is, its website promises to help people “create their dream reveal” with items like footballs, cannons, and smoke bombs that spit out clouds of fuchsia or teal. The company often works directly with a mother’s obstetrician, so no one at a party knows the result till the big ka-boom”

As you can see from this, Jonathan didn’t let one failure stop him. Instead, he decided to fix the errors that he had with his own experience and turn that into an entire company. Not only has Jonathan benefited from this, but everyone who’s put trust in his company.
On the other hand, not all gender reveals are as successful as what I have described, and recently, there’s been a lot of controversies associated with gender reveals.

To start, let’s talk about assumptions. As Marie Clair says, “The growing trend of throwing a party when parents-to-be find out their unborn child’s gender is damaging to trans and intersex people.” A common argument might be “you aren’t assuming because it’s genetically correct,” and while this technically is true, people identifying their gender or not identifying at all is often a choice that comes later in that individual’s life. Still, it doesn’t stop the influence of people to have the opinion that there are only two genders.

Jenna Karvunidis, the same person who created gender reveals, has come out saying that “she regrets starting the trend.” Shortly after, she announced that the world’s first gender reveal baby identifies as non-binary. “in a Facebook post in 2019. Her post again went viral, alongside a photo of her family featuring her daughter wearing a pale blue blazer and pants. “PLOT TWIST,” Karvunidis wrote. “The world’s first gender-reveal party baby is a girl who wears suits!” the Guardian writes.

“Gender-reveal parties have been argued to reinforce gender essentialism, precluding and minimizing transgender identification, which can cause issues with mental and emotional health. Some parents have rejected gender-reveal events because of a greater awareness of gender identity.”

To add more to the fire, gender reveals have also started to reach a max extreme. Even CBS News has recognized that “stunts have gotten even more extreme than ever before, some with potentially dangerous consequences.” With powder explosions, hot air balloons, fireworks, and even more, people have been killed in what should be an innocent celebration. “An Arizona wildfire (back in 2018) was caused by a father shooting at a target with a high-powered rifle so that it would explode in pink or blue powder, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.”

The San Bernardino Wildfire was also caused by gender reveal, and to top it off, the couple was accused of involuntary manslaughter. The fire burned 22,700 acres of land, and many people lost their lives to it. There’s also been a lot of littering associated with gender reveals, especially with confetti, but also broken balloons and used fireworks.

Now, I’m not sure if we can specifically blame “gender reveals” for the cause of these unfortunate events, but there’s no doubt that there is an association with them. It’s young adults being irresponsible and immature that have led to this outcome. Seeing as how the original inventor of this trend regrets her decisions, I can understand why. Am I against gender reveals? Not exactly, but I can assure you that I, myself, am not for them. Most of them are harmless, and fun to look back on, but there is always that special case where someone will go past the limits and create more harm than good. A solution to this? Go ahead and throw that party, have fun, be open-minded in the future if your child doesn’t want to identify a certain way, and make sure to be safe when planning.