For several years now, “gender reveal parties” (parties where couples reveal the gender of their future child) have been everywhere on social networks. A few days ago, one of them – rightly – aroused the indignation of Internet users. The chance to return to this social phenomenon, is as disturbing as it is sexist and outdated.
A few years ago, parents were happy to find out the gender of their future child using a conventional ultrasound. The most original of them preferred to keep the surprise while waiting for the day of birth. Even today, some make these choices. But they seem to belong to a minority facing the collapse of a real social phenomenon: “parties reveal gender.” These are parties during which the gender of the future baby is revealed to an audience of guests (or not), through smoke bombs, confetti, or balloons in pink or blue. And all this they owe to a woman: Gina Karvonidis. In 2008, this American, who was pregnant with her first child, organized a party to announce the gender of her child by cutting a cake filled with pink icing. After describing the event in his blog, his post went viral. Except that 14 years later, Gina Karvonidis herself begins to wonder if she would create a monster in society. We understand that.
When “gender-revealing parties” turns into a fiasco
Coming straight from the United States – where everything is a pretext for “partying” some of them – “sex revelations” soon triumphed over all of our Western societies. Regardless of the place or social class, future parents do not indulge in their happiness at the idea of organizing these parties to reveal the gender of their child, a few months before his birth. In fact, it has almost become a mandatory pass. Stars are clearly no exception to the rule, rather they really do the game with authenticity.
Because this phenomenon has taken such magnitude in the era of the sheer power of social networks, it is absolutely necessary to stand out from the crowd. In October 2018, Antoine Griezmann and his wife Erica chose to stay on the football topic to reveal the gender of their youngest. A year later, Matt Pokora and Christina Milian jump for joy amidst a blue cloud for the gender reveal party. Not forgetting the world of reality TV, with French social media candidates all eager to reveal the baby’s gender through the pull of heavy artillery.
The birth of a child is always good news for those who want to start a family. The same cannot be said of the Gender Reveal Party. In recent years, we’ve seen more and more slippage in the race for authenticity, some more dangerous than others. In September 2020, a massive fire spread across Northern California. The devastating fire, which left San Bernardino County, killed 25 people, including a firefighter. Tragedy caused by a pyrotechnic smoke-generating device used for a… “sex reveal party”.
video. Massive fire sparked by baby gender reveal party in California
It is not enough to make Gina Karvonidis proud, she despite herself has faced the excesses of her own concept: “I feel very different things about this strange contribution to the world of culture,” she lamented in 2019 in a long Facebook message. Because in addition to causing hitherto unexpected dramas, these little parties are – let’s say it once and for all – really problematic.
When sexism is normalized
For Gina Karvonidis and her husband, this first “sex reveal party” in 2008 didn’t have the same symbolism as the one that followed, and it came as a breath of hope after several miscarriages. “She did it because we weren’t living in 2019 and didn’t know what we know now — the fact that assigning a gender at birth robs children of their potential and certain talents that have nothing to do with what we have in between.” She wrote in 2019. And we really want to say to her: Thank you for Point out the biggest problem in these seemingly nice events.
On April 14, a user posted a video of another gender reveal on his Twitter account. We see a pregnant mother near her two daughters and husband. The latter, when pink clippings fall on him, does not even try to hide his annoyance and leaves the place with an annoyed expression. For him, the fact that he had a third girl instead of a boy was clearly not worth celebrating. Not to mention his elders, who would surely remember the moment when their beloved father seemed depressed at the thought of not having a son. Smile, you have been photographed. This video, which was shared en masse on Twitter, provoked the indignation of netizens.
There is nothing wrong with wanting a boy. But the outrage that arises from so many videos like this shows an unnamed, unchecked sexism. And it’s even more annoying when you try to portray it as a normal, even funny, reaction. Another netizen rightly wrote on Twitter: “We’ve never seen a species reveal the disappointment of having a son. Never.” Because unfortunately, it is not uncommon for you to come across such scenes on social networks, where future parents get angry/cry/leave their party because they have just learned that they are going to have…a daughter. As if it was a misfortune, a curse. As if in the end it was no longer worth becoming a father.
Behind these reactions is a series of paternalistic symbols. Even before they are born, young girls are stigmatized. Doesn’t this remind you of anything? Suddenly, we get the impression that we’re in a Netflix historical series where kings and warriors hope their wives will give birth to sons to “ensure their grandchildren,” and if they do, they shudder at the thought of not being accepted. their peers. Today, behind the folklore of “gender-revealing parties,” it is this misogynistic fear that is repeated over and over again. We wish it was just a fantasy.
Prenatal gender stereotypes
Gender reveal parties are often accompanied by excessive stereotypes and phrases. A separate world where the laws of gender persist, in complete opposition to social developments. It clearly starts with the colors: blue for the boy, pink for the girl. Then there are all the decorative items, sequins for little girls and soccer balls for little boys. Even before their birth, future parents present a whole set of stereotypes to their children. Many hope to have the famous “choice of the king”: a boy first, a girl second, so that her older brother will “protect” her. As if the opposite is unimaginable, impossible.
In 2019, if Gina Karvonidis spoke on Facebook about the excesses of her invention, it was also to raise awareness. Now a mother of three, the American explained that her first child, “the first child in the world who was the subject of a gender reveal party,” is beginning to identify as nonbinary. “I’m glad these parties brought joy to so few people, but that joy was built on the shoulders of non-binary and transgender people,” she wrote. “Even if an issue does not affect us personally, we should all have enough humanity to realize that such work, which brings us joy, can cause harm to marginalized people.”
video. “Being a non-binary person, you feel you have to justify your own identity. It’s dehumanizing”
It is clear that social networks play an important role in this normalization of sexism and stereotypes, as it now seems impossible to organize a “gender disclosure party” without its participation on the Internet. These little videos still seem to convey old messages hidden behind an abundance of cheats and 2.0 codes. Organizing a gender reveal to share this moment of happiness is clearly not a problem. What is, is all that can hide behind this revelation, the worn-out thoughts that one puts to his child, even before he is born.
As for those who still deny sexism, even the very concept of patriarchal society: no need for big speeches. You just have to watch one of those videos where the future dad breaks down in tears under pink clippings to understand that even today, some people think having a daughter is not good news.
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