World’s first gender reveal party baby is now ‘a girl who wears suits’
The mother who held the first gender reveal party in 2008 has admitted she has “mixed feelings” about starting the trend now she has a daughter who wears suits.
Jenna Karvunidis, a parenting blogger from the US, wrote about her party on her blog and a parenting forum in July 2008.
She was then interviewed by pregnancy magazine The Bump, and the ‘tradition’ of gender reveal parties was born. YouTube says the first gender reveal party videos started appearing a year later, and the trend began gaining traction in 2011.
“I’ve felt a lot of mixed feelings about my random contribution to the culture,” Karvunidis wrote on Facebook.
“Who cares what gender the baby is?” Karvunidis continues.
“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.”
The proud mum then reveals the “plot twist:” her daughter, for whom the very first gender reveal party was held, is now “a girl who wears suits”.
At 10 years old, Bianca Karvunidis is a gender non-conforming child actor who can be seen in her family photo wearing a stylish baby-blue suit.
Gender reveal parties can be harmful
Gender reveal parties — in which expectant parents reveal the genitals of a foetus to their friends and family — have been widely ridiculed as examples of ‘straight culture.’
The parties ignore the fact that there are more than two genders, and gender exists on a spectrum.
Although Karvunidis says she invented the concept just 11 years ago, the idea is now widespread and parents often celebrate the occasion with gender reveal cakes, smoke bombs, and even special tyres for cars.
The parties may seem innocent but they can be harmful, says Dr Katie Baratz Dalke, an advocate for intersex awareness who was born with androgen insensitivity syndrome.
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“The popularity of gender-reveal parties speaks to how powerful and central this binary is to our sense of identity,” she said in Marie Claire.
You’re especially doing a disservice to those who are intersex or transgender
“By collapsing gender expression, gender identity, and sex, you’re doing everyone a disservice, because no one buys into the whole package all the time.
“You’re especially doing a disservice to those who are intersex or transgender, who must spend their lives explaining it. It’s frustrating that this is now a commercialised ritual, when it can be so alienating.”
“Some of the themes we’re seeing are so backwards and biased,” added Carly Gieseler, PhD, author of ‘Gender-Reveal Parties: Performing Community Identity in Pink and Blue.‘
“I’m thinking of ‘Tutus or Touchdowns’ and ‘Bows versus Badges.’ Women can’t become a sheriff and wear a badge?” she said.
“At a time when these expectations about gender are eroding, this type of ritual is working against that progress. We’re affixing a label to a child who hasn’t even had a chance to enter the world and assume that identity.”