“You invited us here to celebrate genitals, Karen”

The blurb for this cake says: “Wheels for boys or heels for girls?…boys love cars and girls love heels”.

Here’s a fun question for you. Which group of people is so obsessed with enforcing regressive gender stereotypes that they’ve killed a woman, injured several others and set fire to various bits of land?

Is it:

(a) LGBT+ people?
(b) The straights?

It is of course (b), thanks to one of the most awful facets of modern culture: the gender reveal event. Because a baby shower isn’t enough, some parents are trying to get others excited about the genitals of their imminent children in increasingly elaborate ways. And those ways are dangerous and sometimes lethal.

Julie Beck in The Atlantic:

At least one human life has already been lost as a direct result of the widespread obsession with turning the sex of one’s unborn child into an explosive (often literally) spectacle. In October, an Iowa woman was killed when her family inadvertently built a pipe bomb as part of their gender-reveal party—a gathering at which expectant parents dramatically and colorfully announce the sex of their baby.

What started off with blue or pink cakes has become much more elaborate and dangerous. In recent months we’ve seen gender reveal plane crashes, gender reveal pipe bombs, gender reveal wildfires and many other examples of sheer genital-obsessed idiocy.

Jenna Karvunidis, the blogger credited with starting the craze more than a decade ago deeply regrets it, not least because her own child is gender non-conforming. “I started to realize that nonbinary people and trans people were feeling affected by this, and I started to feel bad that I had released something bad into the world”, she said this year.

That’s because you don’t need to blow up grandma or crash a crop-duster for gender reveals to be idiotic and regressive. There’s a distinct whiff of sexism to the whole thing. Beck:

Not only does the very idea of gender-reveal conflate gender with biological sex, but many parties reinforce masculine and feminine stereotypes with themes like “touchdowns or tutus?” and “guns or glitter?” [CM: there are many more, such as “wheels or heels?” and “riffles or rifles?”] (These regressive overtones have made hating on gender reveals just as commonplace as the parties themselves.) Trouble can also ensue if a parent was hoping for one sex and their disappointment ends up immortalized online.

The sheer wrongness of the whole thing is best summed up in a single tweet.

If you’re gonna do a gender reveal party, don’t play coy with colored smoke or whatever. When you blow up that cake, I expect to see a giant sign saying “IT’S A PENIS!” Showers of dicks raining down like confetti. You invited us here to celebrate genitals, Karen. You wanted this.