By Emma Campbell
If the outdated and harmful ideologies about gender identity aren’t enough to make you put away the pink or blue balloons and veto the “It’s a ___” banner, maybe the devastating California fire sparked by a gender reveal party will change your mind.
The El Dorado fire ignited when a family attempted to use a pyrotechnic device to announce the biological sex of their new baby. As of Sept. 18, the blaze has since burned through more than 20,000 acres, according to The New York Times.
Criminal charges against the family will be considered, as well as asking those responsible to reimburse the cost of damage. Repercussions will not be decided until after the fire is extinguished, Captain Bennet Milloy of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told the Times.
“I can’t speak on their behalf,” Captain Milloy said of the family responsible, “but personally, I can only imagine how terrible they have to feel for a lot of reasons.”
The most obvious reason is the environmental devastation caused by the family’s desire for picture-perfect virality.
Many young American couples have tasted the sweetness of social media attention and will conduct whatever exhibition necessary to stay in the spotlight.
“As long as we have something like social media where a gender-reveal party is so visible — it’s all about the visual cues and all this performative aspect — you’re going to continue seeing that,” Dr. Gieseler, author of “Gender-Reveal Parties as Mediated Events: Celebrating Identity in Pink and Blue” said. “It’s a sense of connection, but it’s also a sense of that kind of competitive spectacle.”
When it comes to gaining social media attention, many American platform users will resort to selfish methods. But while our narcissism used to only be guilty of flooding our timelines with duck-faced selfies and play-by-play tweets of trips to Starbucks, it’s now literally set the country on fire.
Gender reveals are also problematic for the emphasis it places on assigning an unborn child with an arbitrary identifier.
Jenna Karvunidis, the woman credited with “inventing” gender reveals, has since denounced the spectacles they’ve become.
For the world’s inaugural reveal, Karvunidis hosted a simple party where she served a cake with pink icing in 2008.
The celebrations have since spiraled into something she claims she no longer approves of.
“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,” Karvunidis wrote in a Facebook post last year.
Gender reveal parties are dangerous for environmental reasons as well as the stereotypical importance they place on “male” and “female.” They are spectacle-based, tacky, and, frankly, never as much fun as the e-vite promises.
Use the money you were planning to spend on color-coded confetti and donate to California fire relief organizations instead.
Featured Photo caption: Gender reveal parties have been dominating social media in recent years. Now, environmental catastrophes and detrimental ideas about gender have people calling for a ban. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.