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A white frosted cake decorated with black question marks and Mars and Venus symbols; the cake has been cut open and a piece sits on its side on a paper plate to the right. There are three layers to cake; the top and the bottom layers are off-white and the middle layer is pink.
A gender reveal cake sliced open with a pink middle layer suggesting a female baby

A gender reveal party is a celebration during which parents, friends and family find out the sex of a baby. This has become possible with the increasing accuracy of various technologies of determining the baby's sex before birth. As an event distinct from a baby shower, it is a relatively new phenomenon.[1]

Gender reveal parties are typically held near the middle of the pregnancy.[2] Often, it employs the trope of pink (denoting a female) or blue (denoting a male), perhaps hidden inside a cake or piñata. When the cake is cut or the piñata is opened, the color popularly associated with the baby's sex is revealed.

Contents

DescriptionEdit

The gender reveal party can be seen as an analog of the baby shower. Although a gender reveal party can replace a common baby shower, they are often a separate event.[2] In that case, a gender-reveal party is typically held after the first trimester, which is high risk for miscarriage, but before the baby shower, when guests might wish to give gender-specific gifts.[2]

The most common form of revelation of the baby's sex is through the cutting of a specially decorated cake, whose inside is decorated either blue or pink.[2] While blue and pink are typically associated with gender differentiation, alternative gendered symbols include bucks and does, bows and bow ties, and baseball and softball. The methods include the release of balloons from a box, spraying silly string in the air in the color of the gender, and painting the partner's hands and having them place it on a white shirt to reveal the gender to name a few. Some of the methods used have proven to be dangerous. The 2017 Sawmill Fire in Arizona was caused by a gender-reveal party that combined blue powder and an explosive.[3] Other dangerous stunts have involved fireworks and alligators.[3]

Not only do gender reveal parties include the revelation of the baby's sex, but also provide gender prediction games for the attendees to participate in.[2]

Gender reveal parties typically are open to men and women, unlike the traditionally all-female baby shower.[2] Gender reveal parties are often organized by heterosexual, Caucasian couples.[2]

"Gender reveal burnouts", in which cars emit billowing clouds of pink or blue smoke, is a fad that became popular in Australia around 2018. The Queensland Police Service warns that this practice is dangerous, and that there have been a number of attempted "burnouts" that resulted in flaming vehicles and arrests.[4]

HistoryEdit

The rise of the gender reveal party seems "inextricably tied to social media." The photo-sharing sites Instagram and Pinterest began in 2010 and increased awareness of the gender-reveal party.[1] YouTube searches report that there are "more than 500,000 videos of expectant couples slicing cakes, setting off smoke bombs and bashing piñatas to expose one of two colors: pink or blue". The first public video of a gender reveal was posted on YouTube in 2008.[5] It is said that the trend of gender reveal videos began to emerge on YouTube in mid-2011 and continued to grow in terms of uploads and views from then on. In 2017 there was 60 percent increase on gender reveal views compared to 2016.[6]

Mediatization is the term used to describe the likelihood of more expectant couples to take part in gender reveal parties after seeing those produced in the media.[2]

Sex and genderEdit

Josh Hafner has criticized the term gender reveal as a misnomer, as all available tests measure the child's biological sex, which may be distinguished from gender. As many as 1% of infants are biologically intersex to some degree, though it is incredibly difficult to determine the frequency with precision.[7][8]

Even when the sex is accurately identified and the child is not intersex, a gender reveal party can emphasize a pre-conceived idea of gender into the heads of the family, when later in life, the child may choose to identify by the other gender or as a non-binary gender.[9] Some parents have rejected gender-reveal events because of a greater awareness of gender identity.[1]

Hafner has also criticized such parties for perpetuating gender stereotypes through themes such as "Rifles or Ruffles?" and "Wheels or Heels?".[10]

Expectant mothers who hold non-traditional values may not want to know the sex of their baby before birth, due to their strong rooted beliefs in gender equality.[2]

CriticismEdit

Gender parties are also viewed as vain and unnecessary[by whom?], a holiday championed by party supply companies in order to boost sales.

In some countries, revealing the sex of a fetus prior to birth may result in sex-selective abortion. Sex-selective abortions and infanticide has been seen throughout history and holds many moral and ethical implications.[9]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Severson, Kim (17 June 2019). "It's a Girl! It's a Boy! And for the Gender-Reveal Cake, It May Be the End". NYT Parenting. Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pasche Guignard, Florence (September 2015). "A Gendered Bun in the Oven. The Gender-reveal Party as a New Ritualization during Pregnancy". Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses. 44 (4): 479–500. doi:10.1177/0008429815599802. ISSN 0008-4298.
  3. ^ a b "Are Gender Reveal Parties Getting Too Extreme?". 2018-10-16. Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  4. ^ Emily Dixon (9 July 2019). "Australian gender reveal party goes wrong as car bursts into flames". CNN.
  5. ^ Gieseler, Carly (2017-02-09). "Gender-reveal parties: performing community identity in pink and blue". Journal of Gender Studies. 27 (6): 661–671. doi:10.1080/09589236.2017.1287066. ISSN 0958-9236.
  6. ^ Pasche Guignard, Florence (September 2015). "A Gendered Bun in the Oven. The Gender-reveal Party as a New Ritualization during Pregnancy". Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses. 44 (4): 479–500. doi:10.1177/0008429815599802. ISSN 0008-4298.
  7. ^ Nelson, Caleb; Gearhart, John (2004). "Current views on evaluation, management and gender assignment of the intersex infant". Nature Clinical Practice Urology. 1 (1): 38–43. doi:10.1038/ncpuro0028. PMID 16474465.
  8. ^ Fausto-Sterling, Anne (1993). "The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough" (PDF). The Sciences.
  9. ^ a b Nahata, Leena (2017-11-24). "The Gender Reveal: Implications of a Cultural Tradition for Pediatric Health". Pediatrics. 140 (6): e20171834. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-1834. ISSN 0031-4005.
  10. ^ Hafner, Josh (March 12, 2017). "Gender reveals: Insanely popular — and also outdated?". USA Today.

Further readingEdit