Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Opinion: Gender reveal parties only reveal ignorance

Hunter Berube

An over 10,000 acre wildfire in El Dorado, Calif., broke out on Sept. 5 as a result of a pyrotechnic device used at a “gender reveal party.” It has destroyed several structures and forced many people to evacuate. 

Using a fire-related device to announce whether or not parents will be imposing gender roles on their child is reckless, both in practice and in theory. For one, it is physically dangerous and puts people and the planet at risk. It also shows a genuine misunderstanding of what gender really is.

A gender reveal party is a festivity where family and friends come together to find out what the biological sex of an infant will be. They have become a societal staple in America in recent years. To some, they are cause for celebration and enjoyment. However, they are often physically destructive and dangerous.

They are notorious for injuries and disasters. Several wildfires, like the one that is destroying El Dorado, have been the result of gender reveal parties that use pyrotechnic devices. In less destructive cases, when pink or blue balloons are released into the air, they pop, fall and land somewhere that an animal could find and choke on.

In November 2018, a target filled with blue powder exploded after being shot with a gun, creating a 47,000 acre wildfire in Arizona.

In October 2019, a woman was killed at a gender reveal party in Iowa when she was hit by a piece of flying debris from an explosion.

People use such sophisticated and risky means to announce and celebrate the “gender” of their soon-to-be child. Yet, they don’t recognize that gender is not what’s being celebrated at all. By definition, they should be called “sex reveal parties,” because that’s what they are. And they are distasteful and ill-informed.

When these balloons say “It’s a Boy” or “It’s a Girl,” they especially miss the mark. Who’s to say what that child’s gender will be, besides the child itself. Genitalia does not dictate gender.

Regardless of what some may still think or believe, sex and gender are not the same thing. Sex is biological. Gender is not predetermined – it is formed. It is a series of continuously lived experiences that occur after birth – not before.

When a baseball filled with pink or blue powder is swung at and hit by a bat, causing the ball to release the powder, nothing of merit happens. It’s literally just hitting a baseball. 

Color has no gender.

When a cake is cut into and pours out pink or blue sprinkles, it is merely an overload of sugar.

Pink and blue are colors-that’s all. They do not determine anything with regard to gender. They never have and they never will, because gender reveal parties only reveal biological sex.

Furthermore, not every person is a boy or girl. Placing gender norms on a child before they are born could create serious inner turmoil down the road if they are not part of the gender binary, either in identity or expression.

The gender binary assumes that there are only two genders, men and women. But not everyone is one of these two genders. Though literature on the topic is limited, a study conducted in 2016 found that 25-35% of transgender individuals identified as nonbinary.

These social functions are yet another example of how ignorance runs rampant in America. Gender traditionalism-or imposing conventional and expected gender norms on someone-is harmful. Gender reveal parties are a hallmark example of this.

It is unethical to tell someone’s story who does not have the opportunity to tell it themselves yet.

Stop using pink and blue for gender reveal parties-and stop calling them “gender reveal” parties at that. Call them what they really are: a mark of ignorance.

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About the Contributors
Ashley Ness, Opinion Editor | she/her
Ashley is a senior from Jacksonville, Florida. She is majoring in psychology with a minor in women’s and gender studies. In her free time, she enjoys going to record stores, collecting funky socks, and playing solitaire. You can also catch her cracking puns. Ashley plans to become a mental health counselor one day.
Hunter Berube, Cartoonist/Staff Writer | he/him
Hunter is a senior broadcast journalism major at Suffolk University who hopes to be a producer in the future. He has created two student-run shows through his work study position at Suffolk's Studio 73. Through his internship at Dirty Water Media, Hunter produces his own live show that streams on NECN. When he's not drawing or on the ice, you can find him eating poutine at Saus. Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterBerube Email him at [email protected]

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Opinion: Gender reveal parties only reveal ignorance