'Gender Reveal' Parties: Attention Whoring or Fun Trend?

Amy Kuras
20

cupcakesI love a good party as much as the next person, but the Gender Reveal Party ... seems a bit much. 

If this little trend hasn't made it to your neck of the woods, they are parties thrown by expectant parents-to-be after the 20-week ultrasound to reveal whether they're having a boy or girl.

Sometimes the parents themselves don't know until party time; one way this reveal is done is to make someone bake you a cake with pink or blue batter (glahhh) so you won't know until you cut into the cake what the big answer is. Other times, it's to let friends and families know in a "cute," "fun" way, even if you already know yourself.

Personally, I think this takes pregnant self-absorption to a whole new level.

I found out the sex of my child both times ("gender" is actually a social construct that doesn't have very much to do with the plumbing, and for Pete's sake, you presumably HAD sex somewhere along the process of getting pregnant, so you ought to be adult enough to use the word in its more innocent context). "Sex Reveal Party," however, sounds a little too X-rated.

So ... finding out the sex was a lovely, very sweet, and private moment between my husband and me (we both cried, both times), and it was so exciting and touching to call our parents right after and hear the catch in my dad's voice and the excitement in my mom's. Making a big semi-public spectacle out of this moment is incredibly egocentric and attention-craving.

Throwing this kind of party for yourself, especially, just seems so, well, presumptuous. A Google search for "gender reveal parties" turned up cutesy ideas like a list of names so people can vote on them, requests for guests to wear pink or blue depending on what sex they think the baby is, food tables featuring only the cravings of the mom-to-be (okay, that's kind of cute for a shower maybe, but if I'd done this for my son, it would have been one bare table because everything grossed me out!), and color-themed bottles of soda and lemonade.

Hello, if you're making me get out of my PJs to make a big fuss over you, there damn well better be vodka in that lemonade!

One blogger even bragged that "we had a houseful" and she spent a whopping $25. And I noted that in many of the pictures from the parties, the guests generally didn't look like they were having much fun.

Also, not to be Debbie Downer, but I know more than one person who got really awful news at that 20-week ultrasound. Maybe I'm superstitious, but the idea of having a bunch of people over to my house for a silly party right after what is, after all, really meant as a medical test sounds way too much like tempting fate. And what if you're disappointed in the sex of the baby? Do you really want everyone to see?

I understand wanting to celebrate your baby in every way possible, and I've been to my share of baby showers (and had more than one -- different hosts and guests at each one, though, so I only belong a little bit in etiquette hell), which feel like a nice way to help someone you care about launch their family and only rarely like a gift grab. I've even attended a gift-free baby blessing, where everyone gathers in a circle around the parents-to-be and offers a prayer for the baby. My husband and I certainly celebrated when we found out our girl was a girl and our boy was a boy, but it was a special day for us; we didn't presume anyone else would be as excited by this news as we were. And I guess that's what bugs me, that presumption that finding out the sex of your baby is super-extra-mega exciting for anyone else but you and your partner. It's like the pregnant equivalent of bridezilla behavior.

Did you have a gender reveal party? Do they seem like a fun idea to you?


Image via clevercupcakes/Flickr

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