Justice

These Parents Are Refusing to Take Part in This Popular Baby Trend

May 26th 2017

By:
Danielle DeCourcey

Although they've been popular in certain regions of the country for years, gender reveal parties for pregnancies are gaining popularity across the United States. A reveal party typically happens half way through the pregnancy, when the mother or parents find out the sex of the baby. The sex is then revealed at an event typically accompanied by games and gifts. To be clear, this is not a baby shower. This is typically done before and in addition to a baby shower.

baby

Gender reveal parties sound cute and fun right? Well, not everyone agrees.

Here are three reasons parents are refusing to have gender reveal parties:

1. Gender and sex and are not the same thing.

The World Health Organization says that sex refers to "biological characteristics" but it defines gender as the "socially constructed characteristics of women and men – such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men."

Sarah Murphy, who lives in New Orleans area and recently delivered a newborn, told ATTN: that gender reveal parties don't actually reveal gender.

"You don't find out your baby's gender from an ultrasound. You find out a baby's sex," she said. "When you are pregnant it's pretty cool to have a peek at anything that's going on in your body, because you just don't get to see a lot of it and you are so eager to know more about your child."

However, Murphy said she wont be forcing other people to sit through any reveal parties. "I wouldn't have a party to reveal my child's eye color or height," she said. "The only people that really care about knowing that level of detail about an unborn child are their parents."

2. We already place a lot of gender norms on children, why start before they're born?

Some people feel that gender reveal parties force a gender on a child before they're even born, and even if the child continues to identify as a given gender, it could encourage parents to enforce restrictive gender-based expectations.

Murphy said the parties are problematic for both children and parents.

"A gender reveal party just feels like a celebration of gender essentialism and a disturbingly early way of projecting expectations of gender performance on your child," she said. "They are, at their heart, transphobic."

In a 2016 article called "A Word of Caution on Gender Reveal Parties," Martie Sirois an advocate for gender diversity, wrote about her experience with her own daughter in the Huffington Post. Sirois wrote that in the early years of her daughter's life, she constantly rebelled against stereotypically female clothes to the frustration of her mother.

"On her first birthday, our little girl can be seen on home video repeatedly ripping the tiny pink hair bow from her hair, heaving it in protest to the ground, and instead allowing her growing bangs to hang in her face and completely cover her left eye," she wrote.

However, Sirois said a few years later she stopped trying to force her daughter to dress like the expectations for her gender.

"My daughter paved her own way and walked her own path, and I finally quit fighting the clothing battle one day when my husband asked me, 'Does it really matter? She’s independently picking her own clothes so that you don’t have to do the extra work of laying them out, and she is dressing seasonally appropriate. Why would you create more work for yourself?'" she wrote.

3. Gender reveal parties can be expensive.

Danielle Quinn, a mom in Middleboro, Massachusetts is currently in the last month of pregnancy with her second child.

Danielle Quinn and her daughter.

She said that although she's seen them grow in popularity, gender reveal parties are another way to pressure people into spending money.

"I decided not to have a gender reveal party because I did not have one with my first child, and I also personally feel that gender reveal parties lead guests to feel pressured to purchase a gift in addition to a shower gift," she said. She said the industries surrounding parenting are constantly developing new products that parents feel pressured to buy.

"In the almost ten years between my children, they have come out with a lot of new things," she said. "I raised my first child just fine without things such as 'wipe warmers,' so I personally don't think they are necessary."

money

The global baby care industry is projected to reach $66.8 billion in 2017, and Americans spent $23 billion on toys, formula, and cribs, and grooming in 2013. Economist Neil Howe wrote a piece in Forbes that said baby care industries are growing partly because parents feel pressure to spend more on their kids.

"Today’s parents are spending more per baby. Why? Today’s children are deemed more worthy of protection than they used to be," he wrote in 2016. "For Xers, this is out of guilt: 'What if I could have prevented my child from getting hurt?' For Millennials, this is out of shame: 'What if others think I’m a bad parent?'"

Quinn said that having a baby shower and a gender reveal party is excessive.

"I feel that baby showers are adequate for receiving items for a new baby," she said. "You register for what you want and need, and what you don't get you can purchase yourself."

RELATED: These Hilarious Comics Are Breaking Down Gender Norms