By now, we’ve all seen the photos and videos of blue balloons bursting out of a box, a bite of cake revealing that tell-tale pink filling, or an inconsolable, soon-to-be older sister getting showered in blue confetti.
Then there was that guy who accidentally started a forest fire after shooting at a (blue) smoke-filled target. That foul-mouthed grandma who could not hide her displeasure that the family was getting another girl. The car that burst into blue, then actual, flames.
Love them, loathe them, or just love to laugh at them when they go wrong, gender-reveal parties have been a growing trend for the last decade. But now, an L.A.-based blogger who claims to have started the trend has a reveal of her own: she doesn’t like them at all.
On Thursday, Jenna Karvunidis wrote on Facebook that she has “a lot of mixed feelings about my random contribution to the culture.”
Karvunidis first wrote about her first child’s gender-reveal party in July 2008, she wrote in her Facebook post. From there, she was interviewed by The Bump, she added, which helped popularize the idea.
“It just exploded into crazy after that. Literally — guns firing, forest fires, more emphasis on gender than has ever been necessary for a baby,” she wrote.
“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.”
Finally, she finished with a “plot twist”: her infamous gender reveal was for her daughter, who today loves to wear suits.
Watch: Australian gender reveal goes horribly wrong. Story continues below.
The first gender-reveal party video uploaded to YouTube can be traced back to 2009, HuffPost previously reported. The trend started growing in 2011 and really exploded in 2017.
At the same time, gender reveals have faced backlash for pushing rigid gender norms (pink for girls, blue for boys), and ascribing babies to the limits of a gender binary. People also take issue with the term “gender” in gender reveal, since it’s the sex that is in fact being revealed.
“My kids will live their whole lives in a world defined by gender binaries, so do we really have to start enforcing those stereotypes on a fetus?” Emily Senger wrote in Today’s Parent in 2016.
Experts have said that marketing items to “boys” or “girls” reinforces harmful stereotypes, and a 2017 study found that rigidly-enforced gender expectations are associated with a lifelong risk of physical and mental health problems.
Karvunidis’ post has been shared more than 13,000 times so far, and many applauded her for changing her stance on gender reveals.
“This is wonderful! We didn’t have a gender reveal because popping a balloon full or orange glitter with the words ‘gender is a construct’ inside would have just confused the grandmothers,” one person commented.
“Love, love, love! Thank you for the courage to update the world. Bravo to your child for being their true, authentic self, and Bravo to you for finding the courage and love to support this,” another person wrote.
“Thank you for the humility in this statement. I hope you will continue to speak out even more strongly — as a trans person, I find these parties very upsetting,” wrote another.