Is it wrong to have gender-reveal parties?

Is it wrong to have gender-reveal parties?

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Gender reveal parties are among the latest trend with new parents. Some parents think they're a great way to celebrate a milestone in the pregnancy. There's nothing wrong with throwing a party to celebrate your child. Others say gender-reveal parties reinforce the gender binary and other stereotypes about men and women. What do you think? 👶

The Votes Are In!

People are pushing back against the gender-reveal party because they're kind of obnoxious, and on a deeper level, they're biased and potentially harmful. First off, gender-reveal parties have the potential to be extremely narcissistic. It's essentially taking oversharing culture and combining it with a party made for Instagram—because if you don't 'gram your entire pregnancy and your child's gender, does it really exist?

As Sharon Brody from WBUR puts it:

The Gender Reveal Party lives at the intersection of All About Me Avenue and Oversharing Boulevard.

On a deeper level, people say gender-reveal parties can be harmful because they actively reinforce the gender binary and other stereotypes. Not to be pedantic, but gender-reveal parties are actually just revealing anatomy. Gender is more complex and has more to do with social constructs and identity than it does anatomy. 

But more often than not these parties are set in binary terms. Pink for the girls, blue for the boys. Football helmets if it's a boy, tutus and dolls if it's a girl. It's fine to celebrate your child, but maybe we shouldn't reinforce stereotypes about boys and girls before they're even born. Let your child figure out who they are—it doesn't need to be forced onto them. Here's what Diane Stopyra at Marie Claire has to say:

Besides, making guesses about anatomy under a canopy of tissue paper pompoms is doing little to assuage a new mom's very real fears about motherhood, nor is it sending a great message to any of the kids running around the yard. We'd be better off showing the little girls in attendance that changing the world is every bit as much a female prerogative as bedazzling onesies. And that step one is celebrating who—not what—a child will be.

Others believe everyone needs to calm the hell down. It's just a party. 

The baby isn't even born yet, so any harm being caused to the baby is imagined and in the critic's head. Relax. Not everything is political and some parties can just be parties. Pregnancies are a challenging experience and if anyone wants to throw a party to have their friends around, so be it. It doesn't hurt anyone.

Saying a gender-reveal party could potentially be harmful because some babies are born intersex is not a good reason. Roughly one out of every one thousand babies are born with anatomy that does not cleanly fit into our categories of male or female. 

It simply doesn't make mathematical sense for everyone to change their behavior because there's a 0.001 percent chance your child could be intersex. 

But that's like saying we shouldn't celebrate a teen getting her driver's license because people get hurt in car accidents. Or that parents can't celebrate their child getting into college because some kids go to college, join fraternities and get drunk.

The issue doesn't have to be that complicated. Let people have their fun. If you don't want to do a gender-reveal party, all the more power to you, but don't police the actions of others. They have the right to choose what's right for them and their child, just like everyone else. 

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