Gender reveal parties have become a modern tradition for many. Seton Hall students have mixed feelings about this trend, however, especially after a recent gender reveal party is to blame for a California wildfire.
“I think they’re absolutely ridiculous,” Dana Bell, a junior political science major, said. “Just send out an email. Plus, why is it a ‘reveal?’ That’s weird. They should be called genital reveal parties. That’s all they are, but calling them that would make us realize how creepy they are.”
Isabella DiCosmo, a senior ecology and political science major, said gender reveal parties have become a toxic way for parents to enforce gender roles on their children.
“I’ve seen videos where it’s a girl, and the dad gets really upset because he has to ‘give up’ things like sports and guns because it's not a boy,” DiCosmo said.
DiCosmo said she has seen gender reveal parties online. She explained a certain party in which two people were dressed up in baby costumes and fought until one was left standing and another where a grandma took off her own wig to reveal a pink or blue one. However, she said she suggests that people should stick to baby showers.
“Gender reveals only reveal the sex of the baby and not the personality that the baby will grow to have,” DiCosmo said. “Forcing a baby into a specific gender restricts them to the gender binary and enforces gender roles on the baby, from clothing and toys to ‘match’ the baby’s sex.”
DiCosmo also said that she would have a baby shower without mentioning the child’s sex.
“[There would be] no talk of gender and [we should] allow for all colors of clothing,” DiCosmo said. “When people say gender-neutral, everyone does brown stuff, but color should not be gendered in the first place.”
Others said they do not find anything wrong with gender reveal parties. Jasmine Silvestre, a senior psychology major, said she would have one.
“I would appreciate being around my loved ones to know the sex of my incoming child,” Silvestre said. “Gender reveal parties are a great way to unite your family and friends together in a loving manner.”
Nataly Areosa, a senior biochemistry major, said gender reveal parties are a nice concept and her extended family in Uruguay holds them to include her family in their festivities.
“Baby showers and gender reveal parties are more meant for the parents,” Areosa said. “I think if they want to do one, go right ahead. But my hope is that when they bring that child into the world, they allow them to explore who they are with unconditional love and support because that’s what a parent is meant to do.”
Some gender reveal parties have sparked controversy as one recently was to blame for the deadly El Dorado fire in San Bernardino, which killed 39-year-old U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Charles Morton on Sept. 17. According to CAL FIRE law enforcement investigators, this wildfire was caused by a pyrotechnic device at a gender reveal party.
“Gender reveal parties can be dangerous, but I think stupid people are even worse,” Bell said. “California is always one spark away from setting on fire. There are so many ways we can start a wildfire without realizing it. There needs to be more education on that.”
Bianca Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.