What do Gender Reveal Parties Reveal About Us?

Ok, today I’m dipping my toe into the waters of blog posts that will probably get me hate mail.  The first big opinion piece that is likely to spark  a *ahem* lively conversation.

So… gender reveal parties.  The reveal takes many forms – cakes with blue or pink filling, blue and pink drinks, Oreos with blue or pink filling, secret envelopes with ultrasound pictures, and even moustaches vs. hair bows (this one especially gets rankles – a ‘manly’ object vs. a ‘little girl’ object is such an awful contrast).

There are usually games, secret ballots, extraordinarily creative ways to break the news, and people choose sides for “team pink” or “team blue.”  Gender reveal parties are all the rage for the pregnant/expecting crowd these days.  There are articles, pinterest sites, parenting blogs, entire websites even dedicated to these parties.

But why?  It seems that for a lot of people the gender of a baby has somehow become the single most important thing about bringing a new life into the world.  The first question someone asks expectant parents is almost always, “do you want a boy or a girl?” or, if late enough in the pregnancy to know, “is it a boy or a girl?”

Does it matter?  Shouldn’t the focus be on the fact that it’s a brand new human life you’re growing in there?  What does it say about us that the focus – earlier and earlier, now – is on pink vs. blue, boy vs. girl, dividing our kids into boxes and sets of strict expectations before they are even born.  Are we planning in advance to value one over the other, whether we do so consciously or not?

Why is gender the most important thing to know about a new baby?  Wouldn’t you rather talk about hopes and dreams for your child, or your plans for childcare and feeding, or your favorite parenting books and the best advice you have gotten?  Why is gender the single biggest focus?  It’s not like science has gotten us to the point where we get to choose in advance just yet.  And if you’re going to the trouble of having a gender reveal party, it’s fairly safe to assume you really want the baby.  Will you love the child less if the gender turns out to not be your first choice?  I know this is a reality in many parts of the world, but I have high hopes that eventually it won’t be that way, especially not in the U.S.

So help me out with some fun and more productive alternatives here – instead of a gender reveal party, how about a “guess the personality type” party or a “predict the future occupation” party – or something else that’s equally out of our control but perhaps a little less divisive.  Or you could even make it something constructive and have a “bring the book that influenced your childhood the most” party.

Please share in the comments – what are your thoughts on pink vs. blue and gender reveals?  Have you had one of these parties, hosted one, or attended one?  What is the upside?  Did you have a gender preference when you were expecting your child?

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7 Comments

Filed under Opinion pieces

7 responses to “What do Gender Reveal Parties Reveal About Us?

  1. I’m almost eight months pregnant and have gotten the sex questions countless times. I just don’t have words for how little I care to know this. I really don’t think much can be known about a tiny person based on this one knowable (but insignificant to me) fact. I’m not being disingenuous. It’s the truth. And the whole pink/blue distinction? Also unfathomable to me.

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    • Thanks for sharing! When I was pregnant I would usually answer the “what are you having?” question with “A human baby!” but it kinda made people mad :(. I’m still trying to think of a less snarky reply to use next time!

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  2. No, keep up with the geek and snark! I’m taking notes for if/when we ever get around to having kids and I get that question so that I have something other to do than respond with, “DOES IT MATTER?”

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  3. Eric

    I agree totally. A healthy human us such an unlikely probability that we should celebrate every one without quibbling over minor plumbing details.

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  4. What really bothers me are the photo shoots and videos. People spend hundreds of dollars to plan elaborate ways of revealing the gender of their babies. One of my friends posted a multi-minute video on Facebook the other day just to tell everyone that they are having a girl. Why?! This just irks me.

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