Cosmopolitan, best known for giving obsessing over sex tips to its readers, is now shaming pregnant women for having "gender reveal" parties. These events are a relatively new trend for parents-to-be that center on the surprise announcement of their baby's gender. But writer Diane Stopyra is sick and tired of it, because she believes this contributes to the culture of transgender-shaming:
... I cannot stomach the latest fad of the knocked-up set: gender-reveal parties. The It's A Boy/It's A Girl fetes have been an economic boon to stationary companies and party supply stores nationwide; a search for "gender reveal" on Etsy yields 46,711 results. One former supervisor of a high-end bakery in Champaign, Illinois, told me she received queries about gender-reveal cakes once or twice a week. But despite the popularity, the ritual is a lot like a rousing game of Pin-The-Umbilical-Cord-On-The-Newborn: cutesy in theory, taxing in practice. At a time when work, family obligations and, you know, the dismantling of patriarchal social structures are stretching us all thinner than Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables, why are we focusing our energies on yet another afternoon of baby bagatelle? Laugh as we throw sperm confetti at mom-to-be! Eat from this bassinet-shaped fruit tray! Cast your vote for the sex of our fetus!
All this builds suspense for That Magical Moment when the future parents jointly cut into fondant cake, gasping at the surprising sight of pink or blue filling. Or pink or blue balloons are released from an artisanally hewn box. Or a rifle is fired at explosives packed with pink or blue chalk. Because nothing speaks to the miracle of life better than target practice, amirite?
But my discomfort with the gender-reveal party goes beyond my standard objection to fanfare surrounding gestational markers—which is primarily that, because we don't celebrate non-pregnancy-related milestones with the same enthusiasm, we're reinforcing the archaic notion that a woman's value rests squarely in her ability to grow tiny humans. The issue with gender-reveal parties in particular is: Aren't they potentially damaging to said tiny humans?
Um... no, they're not. Not even close. The writer goes on to explain that the themes at the parties are just too gender-focused... as they would be, since they are actually about gender. The party themes they objected to are 'Bows versus Badges' or 'Tutus or Touchdowns' -- since these reinforce traditional general norms. Even the colors of pink and blue are suspicious to feminists, who believe that genders should not be represented by either color. "Projecting gender perceptions onto a fetus becomes especially thorny when you take into consideration that, globally, one in every 1000 to 1500 children is born with a visible form of Difference of Sex Development (DSD)," she writes. "Which means being neither entirely male nor female, since the chromosomal/genital makeup falls somewhere in between—an enlarged clitoris capable of erections, for instance."
Okay, so the next time you're invited to a gender reveal party, maybe you should cite those statistics in lieu of an RSVP? Perhaps Matt Walsh has the best advice to the magazine after reading their article:
Image Credit: Mack Male on Flickr