A few years ago, over-the-top gender reveals were trendy. It seemed like elaborate schemes to announce the sex of an unborn baby went viral every other day. In 2020, with a broader cultural understanding that gender is a social construct and gender identity is fluid, these reveals feel inherently outdated, and for years, we’ve written about how gender reveals shouldn’t be a thing anymore. Like all tired trends, s0me people are still clinging on, but this weekend a gender reveal fire ripped across Southern California, which may finally put an end to these parties for good.
And by gender reveal fire, yes, I mean a literal wildfire that was caused by a gender reveal. 2020 is so fun! The El Dorado Fire began 80 miles east of Los Angeles on Saturday, and in a news release, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection specified that the fire “was caused by a smoke generating pyrotechnic device, used during a gender reveal party.” That’s right—those plumes of pink or blue smoke are actually super dangerous, and it turns out you shouldn’t set them off in a field of dry grass. Who would’ve thought!
By Monday night, The Washington Post reported that the fire had burned through almost 10,000 acres, forcing more than 20,000 people to evacuate their homes. California is currently an extremely dangerous area for fires, with the news release noting the “dry conditions and critical fire weather.” Over the weekend, a new record was set in the state, with over two million acres being burned so far in 2020. There are currently several large fires raging, most of which are in Northern California, but the southern part of the state remains vulnerable. According to the Cal Fire website, the El Dorado fire is currently only 7% contained, so the devastation will likely grow before it is extinguished.
If you’re thinking to yourself that a gender reveal fire sounds both oddly specific and oddly familiar, congratulations, you have a great memory. This isn’t the first, or even the second, time that a gender reveal fire has made the news. So 2020 might suck more than usual, but gender reveals gone wrong transcend the boundaries of space and time. Back in 2017, a reveal that consisted of shooting a rifle at a target filled with an explosive called tannerite sparked a fire that burned through 47,000 acres in Arizona, causing millions of dollars in damage. In that case, the father pleaded guilty to violating U.S. Forest Service rules, and the current situation in California could have a similar result. In their news release, the California Dept. noted that “Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible.” Last year, there was also a gender reveal fire in Florida, again caused by “tannerite and a weapon.” So yeah, don’t start a gender reveal fire, it’s really not worth it.
You know who else is sick of these gender-reveal-gone-wrong stories? The woman who started the gender reveal trend! In a Facebook post on Monday, blogger Jenny Myers Karvunidis, who kicked things off with a gender reveal cake way back in 2008 (if only we had stuck to cakes), begged her followers to cut it out: “Stop it. Stop having these stupid parties. For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid’s penis. No one cares but you.” Her words, not mine!!
From numerous gender reveal fires to an actual gender reveal plane crash, it’s really time that we stop this foolishness. If you want to cut a cake or throw some confetti at home, great, do your thing. But please, PLEASE, don’t do anything that could result in you burning down thousands of acres and/or going to jail. I promise it’s not worth it, and your kid will probably hate you for embarrassing them before they were even born.
Images: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock; High Gloss And Sauce / Facebook