“PLOT TWIST, the world’s first gender-reveal party baby is a girl who wears suits,” the blogger wrote.
It’s no secret that throwing a gender reveal party has become a common rite of passage for expectant parents in 2019.
While there are still a few of us who would prefer to keep it a surprise right up until birth, thanks to ultrasound technology (and doctors who are willing to play along) more and more of us are opting to celebrate the reveal of our baby’s gender with balloons, pink or blue centred cakes, and even custom nail art.
A quick search on Instagram reveals the true popularity of the trend - at 1,075,567 posts and counting, the hashtag #genderreveal is populated by photos of happy couples surrounded by pink or blue decorations.
But with growing awareness over the non-binary nature of gender, has anyone stopped to wonder why we continue to celebrate such an arbitrary aspect of a baby’s identity - especially before they’ve even been born?
That’s the question raised by the supposed creator of the trend, Jenna Karvunidis, in a post she shared on Facebook this week. The blogger (and now mum of three) took to her social media to question the craze, admitting she had some “mixed feelings” about the culture she had helped to shape.
“Someone remembered it was me who “invented” the gender reveal party,” she began. “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.”
However, despite the success of her idea and the coverage it received, Karvunidis confessed she now feels differently about putting such a focus on the gender of the baby.
“I’ve felt a lot of mixed feelings about my random contribution to the culture,” she shared. “It just exploded into crazy after that. Literally - guns firing, forest fires, more emphasis on gender than has ever been necessary for a baby.”
She continued: “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.”
Karvunidis then went on to share that her daughter Bianca (“the world’s first gender-reveal party baby”) prefers to wear suits and has her hair cut short, defying the conventions of the gender her parents celebrated 10 years ago - and rocking it.
Speaking to Huffpost, Karvunidis added that she doesn’t want to shame parents who want to throw a gender reveal party - she just wants them to think about whether the gender of the baby is really so important.
“I’m glad gender reveal parties brought joy to some people, but that joy has been at the expense of non-binary and trans people,” she explained. “Even if you say a problem doesn’t affect ‘me’ personally, we should all have enough humanity to realise we don’t have to cause pain for marginalised people to have joy for ourselves.”
And with 1400 comments and 11,000 shares on her original post, Karvunidis is well on her way to making people think twice about how much focus they place on their baby’s gender.