FeaturedSex & Gender

Gender Reveal Party Disaster

Or How My Parents Burned Down California

We’ve covered some mind numbingly stupid parenting issues here at Grounded Parents. From antivax nonsense  to spanking defenders and even the Scourge of the Man-Bun, we have skeptically dissected and/or viciously mocked parenting trends and myths for almost seven years now. But this one, gender reveal parties, is the first to parenting trend to lead to a bona fide natural fucking disaster.

A fire sparked by a pyrotechnic device used during a gender reveal party has grown to nearly 10,000 acres since Saturday.

The El Dorado Fire in Southern California’s San Bernardino County has scorched 9,671 acres and was only 7% contained as of late Monday night, according to fire officials, who say it’s “one of the most dangerous fires” they’ve seen in the area.
The fire was caused by a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” used at a party on Saturday morning in El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, Cal Fire investigators determined.
Sarah Moon and Hollie Silverman, CNN
Now you might think that we are being less than generous to the expecting couple and their party planner. California is suffering from a record heat wave, drought conditions eight out of the last ten years, and has been pretty much consistently on fire for most of our lifetimes. Well no… not only are the people involved being investigated for a variety of felonies for setting off a pyrotechnics device in the middle of a match dry prairie, but this isn’t even the first time it’s happened…
t’s not the first time a gender reveal has started a fire. In 2017, an off-duty US Border Patrol agent shot a high powered rifle at a target packed with an explosive as part of a gender reveal, igniting a fire in Arizona that grew to nearly 47,000 acres and caused more than $8 million in damage.
He pleaded guilty in 2018 to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered to pay almost $8.2 million in restitution.
Sarah Moon and Hollie Silverman, CNN
Blogger blogger Jenna Karvunidis (who actually seems kind of nice?) took to Facebook to call for an end to over the top events her Instagram friendly invention has spawned.
I didn’t know about that last bit… damn Facebook sucks. Why can’t I quit?
CNN’s coverage of this story is actually pretty good and I wanna give them kudos. For instance…
Danger aside, there’s also overwhelming criticism of the parties as a system that upholds the gender binary — that is, it’s either a boy, or a girl.
Karvunidis herself has hinted at this criticism as well.
In 2019, she wrote 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.”
Studies have backed up this same notion.
One such study, published in 2017 by Carly Gieseler in the Journal of Gender Studies, characterized the harms of the gender reveal party like this: “It allows adults to recuperate what they have learned from their own gendered constructions, reinscribing expectations and assumptions onto the unwritten body of the unborn and propelling these ideals into the digital, social, public world.”
As for Karvunidis’s daughter, the focus of that pinnacle pink cake in 2008, she’s “a girl who wears suits!” Karvunidis wrote — meaning to highlight the futility of celebrating these gender norms.
Leah Asmelash, CNN
That’s the kind of smart reporting about gender issues that you would have had to come to some fringy skeptical parenting blog to get seven years ago! 
I seriously don’t want to see the therapy bill for that kid from today’s story…
Hi, I’m Sean. I was identified female 6 months before birth and my parents celebrated by burning down California.

Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at www.flickr.com/photos/blotz/

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