Gender reveals: a party to reveal your kids’ junk while they’re still unborn. Gender reveals are a relatively new phenomenon that has already caused significant damage to both the environment and the general sanity of people like me, who keep getting invited to them and then having nightmares about being enveloped in a cloud of blue smoke while people chant “BOY! BOY! BOY!” into my face. Not only do gender reveals typically involve bad cake and a criminal amount of colored glitter, but they’ve also become an obsession with couples who don’t think having a dry baby shower and forcing us all to buy washcloths with ducks on them and then pretend we’re excited to paint a f*cking onesie is enough to properly celebrate their successful bout of unprotected sex.
The most recent cause of the aforementioned environmental damage was inadvertently caused by a couple in California, who set off a pyrotechnic device in San Bernardino county that ignited nearby brush and started one of the many wildfires burning in my home state. That wildfire has already burned more than 14,000 acres and evacuated hundreds of people from their homes, adding insult to injury, since the reason it started was completely unnecessary. Even the woman who is largely credited with inventing the gender reveal party, blogger Jenna Karvunidis, has spoken out about the ways in which what started as a cute, fun event for family has morphed into chaotic, sometimes hazardous situations, saying “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.” I couldn’t say it better. But I’m happy to add my own twist to the breakdown of why gender reveals, as they stand as now, need to end.
1. It’s Not Even A Gender Reveal, It’s A Sex Reveal
You’re not even calling it what it really is! You are announcing what genitals your baby has based on your doctor’s best guess with an ultrasound probe. Gender, on the other hand, is literally the cultural and social expression of a person’s sex, which can be revealed in a wide variety of ways and to different degrees. Girls liking pink and boys liking blue is an example of a stereotypical gender assumption that we’ve largely grown past (well, some of us). There is no way to assume or predict the way your child’s gender identity will assert itself until they’ve been, ya know, BORN, and had time to figure that out on their own. But it freaks people out to call it a sex reveal because it sounds creepy and weird, which should tell you something. And that thing is: Announcing your baby’s genitals with a powder cannon you shoot into the air is weird and creepy.
2. Celebrating (Or Being Disappointed By) Your Baby’s Sex Is A Privilege
If I had a nickel for every man in a viral gender reveal clip who throws his hat on the ground as pink confetti falls down around him, I’d be able to buy that inflatable hot tub I’ve had my eye on since the beginning of quarantine. The fact that you’re pregnant at all is an accomplishment and a big one. As a gay woman, I can attest to that. Some of us have to actually pay money and visit a lot of doctors and use a stranger’s genetic material to achieve what a healthy, straight couple can do for free any night of the week in between Selling Sunset episodes. I’m not bitter, or anything, but yeah it stings a little. And it’s not just an ordeal for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. There are plenty of heterosexual couples who struggle with infertility, or who have to search for alternative methods to create a family for any number of reasons. The point is that yes, healthy pregnancy and a foreseeably healthy baby is absolutely worth celebrating. For some people, a healthy baby is a miracle, period. The sex, and later on, the gender of that child is secondary to that baby’s general health and wellbeing. Being able to be disappointed or excited about your baby’s sex is a privilege that we don’t all share, and that should be recognized.
3. We All Know You’re Just Doing It For Attention
Yeah, I said it. I know this might surprise some folks, but you can find out your unborn baby’s sex, be excited either way and share that news with your family without setting anything on fire or buying a cake with fugly pastel pink fondant. But people can’t resist the urge to share a personal event on Instagram and watch the hate-likes roll in. And that’s fine; in fact, it’s more than fine. I am completely on board with your need for attention, as attention is something I don’t hate either. But disguising it with a genitalia announcement makes it weird. Would you buy a sign that said “VAGINA!”? No? I didn’t think so. Then maybe think again about doing essentially that for online attention. And if you would buy that sign, then go for it. At least you’re acknowledging that it’s a sex reveal and not trying to act like it’s something else.
Images: t.max / shutterstock.com
If you’re having a kid, mazel. If you’re having a kid and insist on throwing a giant gender reveal party, please exclude me from that narrative. Remember how there used to be a time where we didn’t have a party and Instagram photo op for everything? Simpler times. But thanks to social media, we just can’t have nice things anymore. Let’s just call a gender reveal party what it is: yet another opportunity for an expecting couple to squeeze more money, gifts, and Instagram likes out of their family and friends. Truth be told, the only time I will support a gender reveal is if it goes horribly wrong or is so tacky that I get the chance to roast it in my group chat or any one of the Facebook groups I belong to that’s dedicated to that specific purpose. I’m real fun at parties, promise. I’ve taken it upon myself to research the biggest gender reveal fails in the history of gender reveals (or, more accurately I guess, the history of the internet), and I’ve compiled them here for all the people who, like me, revel in the misery of others. I told you, I’m great at parties!
I want to thank God, I want to thank the internet, and I want to thank you, overzealous parents-to-be, for providing these absolutely golden gender reveal fails that are prime examples of what not to do when you’re expecting.
Here are my top (in no particular order) favorite gender reveal fails.
1. The One That Almost Burned Down A Whole State
This is, by far, our clear-cut winner of the worst gender reveal fails to ever happen. Expectant dad and Arizona resident Dennis Dickey fired a rifle at a box full of Tannerite, an extremely flammable explosive powder, mixed with a colored powder that would reveal the gender of the marksman’s spawn. Because of the amount of powder and the 40 mph winds, the Tannerite ignited a fire that burned 47,000 acres. The Sawmill Fire, as it came to be known, is expected to cost more than $8 million in damage. Dickey paid $100,000 upfront and will pay $120,000 in monthly installments of $500 for the next 20 years—costing more than his kid’s college tuition and general upbringing. Btw, it’s a boy.
2. The One With An Alligator
What do you do when the lady is preggers and you’re both trained alligator handlers living in Louisiana? Naturally, you grab a goddamn ALLIGATOR, fill a hollow watermelon with either pink or blue Jell-O, and invite the alligator to smash said watermelon, adorably revealing the gender of the future animal wrangler. First of all, why involve the alligator in this at all?? I’m sure he had better things to do that day. Second of all, if you actually watch the video, the whole reveal is actually pretty uneventful. Thankfully (and somewhat surprisingly), no one was maimed, but it was still one of the most redneck things to happen in history.
3. The One With The Wrong Balloons
This cute couple decided to keep things simple for their gender reveal, and asked a balloon company to fill a box full of helium balloons according to the gender (which the company knew and the couple did not). Somehow, these v simple directions were lost in translation, and the box was filled with rainbow balloons in every f*cking color. The balloon company even lost the card with the baby’s gender on it, so the couple couldn’t just tell the guests themselves! I love the absolute look of defeat on mom’s face.
4. The One That Sent Guests Screaming
A couple in Philly decided that shooting off fireworks for their gender reveal would make for an explosive time (kill me). Unfortunately, they shot the pink (yay, a girl) fireworks right into the crowd of onlookers, leading to a lot more running and screaming than most people expect at this kind of event. A few adult suffered some minor burns from this hilariously bad idea. This is why you need to have to pass some kind of test to be able to procreate.
5. The One That Didn’t Quite Nail The Delivery
Don’t leave your gender reveal in the hands of the greasy 17-year-olds hawking cheap pizza. This idiot couple learned that the hard way when they decided to spell out IT’S A over three pizzas, but it turns out that pepperoni and sausage do not great lettering make. It’s kind of close—if you tilt your head sideways and squint a little bit, you can kind of tell what they were going for. Guess this couple should have called the pizzeria from The Princess Diaries and used M&Ms instead of cured meats.
6. The One That Ended In A Nasty Injury
Yep. These Rhodes Scholars decided to shoot their gender reveal out of a cannon filled with colored powder. First, the cannon was homemade, which should tip you off to there being a problem (and that this couple probs shouldn’t have bred to begin with). Second, said homemade cannon jammed, and someone needed to hit it with a hammer to get it going. Thankfully, it wasn’t the mother-to-be, but it did result in a pretty cool injury.
Images:Victor Dueñas Teixeira / Unsplash; Joe Krummel, Alecs Strayer, New York Post, Arizona Daily Star / Youtube; teachingadventuresin3d / Instagram; Melody Kliebert / Facebook
There’s a lot of irritating trends out there right now, but the over-the-top “gender reveal party” is one we can hope fizzles out soon. Not only does it worship the gender binary, but it also forces all your friends and family to shell out more money for yet another party involving your pregnancy. There are only so many tiny socks and penguin onesies to give, people!
In case you aren’t bitter, though, and love parties designed to frustrate well-meaning bakers everywhere, gender reveal parties can be adorable and exciting excuses to celebrate a new addition to the family. Or, at least this is what a U.S. Border Patrol Agent named Dennis Dickey thought…
Dickey, 37, of Arizona pleaded guilty in federal court in September for igniting a colossal wildfire that started as an elaborate stunt to announce that his wife was having a son. According to authorities, the “sawmill fire” in April 2017 destroyed more than 45,000 acres of land. What it worth it, Dickey? Because you could’ve just gone for cupcakes, confetti, balloons, paintballs, or I don’t know, literally anything else. In a video obtained by the U.S. Forest Service through the Freedom of Information Act, a display with “boy girl” is shot, blue smoke emerges and then a full on fire erupts.
Even before the display is shot, it’s clear that there is a ton of dry brush, sticks, and grass at this gender reveal/arson party. I’m not a Boy Scout, but I’m pretty sure it’s not safe to set off explosives when you’re surrounded by a field of thirsty wood. According to the Justice Department, the cause of the fire was a (surprise!) highly explosive substance called Tannerite that Dickey placed inside the display and then shot with a rifle. In case you missed it before, this man is also a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. Are you feeling safe yet?
When he was sentenced to five years of probation in October, Dickey agreed to pay $100,000 and another $120,000 in monthly payments of $500 over twenty years. In other words, when Dickey’s son is about to celebrate his 21st birthday, Dickey will hopefully have learned his lesson about expensive and dangerous party mistakes. Better luck next time, Dickey, maybe things would’ve turned out better if the smoke had been pink…
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