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Parenting

Woman who popularised gender reveal parties says enough is enough after latest disaster causes destruction and devastation

Emma Powys Maurice September 8, 2020
A firefighter has died in the wildfire caused by a gender-reveal party

Wildfires sparked by a gender-reveal disaster in California. (Screenshot: BBC/YouTube)

After the latest gender reveal party disaster sparked a 9,600-acre wildfire, the woman who first popularised the trend is begging for parents to please, please stop.

More than 20,000 Californians have been evacuated from their homes as firefighters struggle to control the devastating blaze in San Bernardino County, which was started by a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” used in a gender reveal stunt.

Now the woman credited with creating the idea, beauty blogger Jenna Karvunidis, is calling for an end to the madness.

“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,” she wrote on Facebook.

“It was 116 degrees in Pasadena yesterday and this tool thought it would be smart to light a fire about his kid’s d**k. Toxic masculinity is men thinking they need to explode something because simply enjoying a baby party is for sissies.”

Addressing the “hate messages” she’s received for starting the parties, she added: “Excuse me for having a cake for my family in 2008. Just because I’m the gEnDeR rEvEaL iNVeNtoR doesn’t mean I think people should burn down their communities.”

Karvunidis has spoken out several times about the “monster” she inadvertently created in 2008, which began with simple blue and pink-iced cakes.

Gender reveal
Heteronormative gender reveal cake (@GerryRessler/Twitter)

The concept of celebrating an unborn child’s genitalia with family and friends gained popularity mainly among straight parents, who quickly turned the trend into a bizarre arms race of blue lasagnes, smoke-emitting tyres and jelly-filled watermelons thrown into hippos’ mouths.

Unfortunately as time went on many of the parties ended tragically, including a terrifying plane crash, a pregnant mother struck in the face with a baseball bat and a pipe bomb explosion that killed a grandmother.

Aside from the obvious harm caused by thousand-acre wildfires, many LGBT+ people and allies have criticised the parties for reinforcing restrictive gender-based stereotypes.

No one is more aware of this than Karvunidis herself, who is now the proud mother to a gender non-conforming child.

“Who cares what gender the baby is?” she said. “I [cared] 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.”

More: are the straights ok, California, El Dorado wildfire, gender reveal party, Jenna Karvunidis, toxic masculinity

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