From iced cupcakes, hollowed out and stuffed with pink or blue sweets, to billowing smoke bombs, in recent years it’s become a hugely popular trend with parents to elaborately announce the gender of their babies.
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People have always made a big deal about finding out the sex of the newest edition to their families. It always comes with a great deal of anticipation from those who have been eagerly trying to guess based on old wives’ tales.
However, nowadays, no matter how desperate they are to find out, opting for a quick phone call to Mom and Dad just doesn’t cut it as people have started finding more extravagant ways to share the news.
Gender reveal parties are typically held soon after a baby’s sex has been identified. Parents who choose to be surprised during the reveal can assign a family member to learn the baby’s sex from their doctor so they can undertake the necessary preparations for the big reveal.
Parties are decked out with pink and blue drinks, food and decor, with guessing games and the big gender reveal being the main event. Much like baby showers, pink and blue are used as a trope to indicate girl or boy respectively. How the colour is revealed is where things get interesting.
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Since the trend blew up, celebrities, social media influencers and everyone in between have been jumping on the bandwagon, competing to find the next most creative way of making the announcement.
Some people have met the idea with enthusiasm, while others felt it unnecessary to make so much fuss about gender.
Where does the trend come from?
Jenna Karvunidis, a law student and blogger from Chicago wrote about her experience planning such a party online more than 10 years ago. However, since then her feelings have drastically shifted. In a Facebook post on her page called High Gloss and Sauce she recently opened up about being the person behind the viral trend.
“A weird thing came up on Twitter, so I figured I’d share here. Someone remembered it was me who ‘invented’ the gender reveal party. 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. I’ve got the article framed.”
She went on to explain how she’s experienced a lot of "mixed feelings" about her random contribution to the culture. “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 wrote.
Karvunidis actually finds Gender Reveals to be ridiculous. “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.”
But, the greatest turn of events was saved until the very end of her post. “PLOT TWIST,” she wrote, “The world’s first gender-reveal party baby is a girl who wears suits!”