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Surprise! The Gender Binary is a Hazard

In early September, a gender-reveal party went awry.

The pyrotechnic involved at the party caused a massive fire. Next thing it knew, El Dorado, California had itself a fire that spanned over 10,000 acres. 

Of course, I don’t think that a gender reveal is to blame for the fires. That only further circumvents the collective responsibility that has led to years of climate change and the deterioration of our Earth. 

Blaming a gender reveal party for the fire takes away from the rightful accountability that wealth hoarding corporations and big-time executives must actually take. But that’s another discussion. I say all this to make it clear that I’m not here to make the point that these fires were caused by a mere gender reveal party. 

I am here to make the point that these fires only further cemented the fact that gender reveal parties are 1000% unnecessary. These fires also made me think about the fact that the social construct of gender is 1000% hazardous to the ideas about gender that are perpetuated within our society, a society that would thrive off of the elimination of the gender binary. If anything, these fires served as a sort of messed up metaphor — that gender reveal parties are quite literally and figurately destroying humanity. 

The official definition of gender involves characteristics associated to a particular gender that are socially constructed. Socially constructed. The delineations surrounding gender are shaped by conversations about what is considered masculine and feminine, and these conversations were shaped and created by cis, straight, mostly white men who wouldn’t understand anybody different from their own. The concept of gender today is the product of colonization and the ideas of white men and a part of decolonizing our society means changing the ideas we have surrounding gender.  

Even Jenna Karvunidis, the woman who popularized gender revel parties, is asking for these gender-reveal parties to stop. 

In an interview with the Daily News, Karvunidis expressed her detestation for these parties, and she’s right. These parties are harmful to transgender and nonbinary people and everyone else on the gender spectrum. 

What’s even worse is that these parties spread the false narrative that gender is determined and set into stone before and at birth. The truth of the matter is every individual has the right to define and determine their own gender and these parties propagate the denormalization of this fact. For adults to think otherwise is a disservice to their own unborn children and a flaw in the way that society chooses to communicate the idea of gender to children and young people. 

To me, it looks like expecting parents are taking ownership of something that is their child’s even before the child has been born. 

I’m tired of seeing pink and blue bombs and birthday cakes. While I understand that it’s exciting for new parents to find some way to celebrate the life that they are bringing into the world, this “excitement” we’ve brewed as a society surrounding the genders of unborn babies is toxic to the very life that we all want to celebrate. 

Celebrating the very life you bring into the world means respecting the many different nuances and aspects of that life. It means celebrating that that life will be able to explore and determine their own gender and the way that they express it. I’d rather we have parties commemorating the fact that there is more life to love, regardless of how that life lives and grows.  

Anushka Dakshit is a first year journalism major who is starting her first semester with HerCampus as a Features Writer! She sees herself in the future writing about film/music and socio-politics amongst many other subjects and would eventually like to become an editor. You can find her on Instagram @anushkadakshit
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