The Woman Who Popularized Gender Reveal Parties in 2008 Wants Them to End
One of the world's first gender reveal party babies is a ten-year-old girl who loves to wear suits
When the oldest millennials first started becoming parents in the late aughts and early 2010s, gender reveal parties quickly became one of the earliest and most recognizable trends of millennial parenthood. These days, one Los Angeles blogger credited with launching the trend back in 2008 is now among one of the gender reveal party’s most vocal detractors. While Jenna Karvunidis probably didn’t singlehandedly invent the concept, she’s taking the fall and encouraging the next generation of expectant parents to retire the trend.
The event typically involves a cake or balloon that expectant parents slice or pop in front of friends and relatives to reveal either a pink or blue substance (usually frosting, candy or confetti), thus signaling the sex of the unborn baby. Like most millennial trends, the gender reveal party’s popularity was fueled by internet and social media coverage, where it was met with as much admiration and mimicry from fellow young parents as it was scorn and confusion from older generations.
Flash forward ten years, and the gender reveal party is still divisive, but for entirely different reasons. Rather than a confusing trend to annoy baby boomer grandparents, however, gender reveal parties are now more likely to attract criticism from members of the younger generations who popularized the parties in the first place. From 2019’s perspective, the trend that once signaled the height of modern parenthood seems dated at best, with gender reveal parties often facing criticism for reinforcing gendered stereotypes and forcing children to subscribe to a binary concept of gender before they’re even born.
In a recent Facebook post, Karvunidis explained her change of heart, announcing that the baby girl she publicly welcomed into the world with pink frosting is now a chic ten-year-old who prefers to wear suits.
“I did [the gender reveal party] 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,” she wrote in the now-viral post.
In a recent interview with Elle, Karvunidis was quick to add that she’s not interested in shaming anybody. “People want to have their parties and I don’t want to pick people apart for that. Hell, I’m the one who did it in the first place,” she said, before suggesting that expectant parents of today consider a less gender-centric approach to their celebrations. “It would be great if people could do a different party,” she said. “Maybe have a party when you’re ready to make your pregnancy announcement and the surprise is ‘yay we’re having a baby!’ Cakes of all colors!”
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