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Celebrations turned tragedy; the dangers of gender reveal parties

Photo of the unidentified couple celebrating right before the plane crash.
@aviationbrk on X, formerly known as twitter
Photo of the unidentified couple celebrating right before the plane crash.

According to news site NPR, a woman named Jenna Karvunidis popularized gender reveals by cutting into a cake with pink icing to reveal the gender of her unborn baby girl. However, within the past five years, this innocent celebration has spawned a multitude of accidents and disasters resulting from baby showers that have occurred and gone viral online. Tags such as ”Ban Gender Reveals” and “Gender Reveal Disaster” have gone viral as a result of the disasters. 

The most recent case that brought the topic of gender reveal parties back up occurred on Sept. 3rd.. The gender reveal party of an unidentified Mexican couple used a plane to reveal the baby’s gender. Much to the dismay of everyone at the party, the reveal didn’t go as planned. The plane ended up crashing due to the pilot’s inexperience, ultimately proving fatal for the unidentified pilot as they sustained heavy trauma to their brain.  

Over the top gender reveal parties can also be disastrous on a large scale. In Sept. of 2020, a wildfire was sparked in San Bernardino, California as a result of a gender reveal party. The expecting couple, Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr and Angela Renee Jimenez, decided to use a colored smoke bomb as a means of announcing their unborn baby’s gender while also doing something special and memorable. Unfortunately the Jimenez family chose a scorching hot day to attempt the stunt, and the dry shrub in the area easily caught fire. 

The ensuing fires raged for 23 days, claiming around 23,000 acres, 5 homes, 15 other buildings, and the life of firefighter Charles Morton. As a punishment for starting the disaster, the Jimenez couple were both held responsible. They were charged with one felony count of involuntary manslaughter, three felony counts of recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury, four felony counts of recklessly causing a fire to inhabited structures and 22 misdemeanor counts of recklessly causing fire to property of another. 

Photo of a firefighter fighting the fires caused by the Jimenez family’s gender reveal party in Sept. 2020.
(Wally Skalijj/LA Times/Shutterstock.)

Not only have over the top gender reveal parties caused tragedies, the way that they’re conducted normally can also cause harm. 

A common practice for gender reveal parties is to set off balloons of either blue or pink for boys and girls respectively. This practice of setting off balloons has a negative impact on the environment. The waste that drops when the balloons finally come back to the ground ends up adding to the near 12.7 trillion pounds of plastic that resides in nature and landfills, according to a study published by the University of Georgia. 

As a result of all of the disasters and environmental concerns brought up by gender reveal parties, many people are reevaluating the way we celebrate a newborn baby’s gender.

“As a woman who has been around to see the evolution of gender reveal parties we should go back to simple icing on the cake celebrations.” said Sendy Zarco, a 46 year old mother of three. 

Like Zarco, many have taken up the idea that gender reveal parties need to be re-simplified. As we reflect on these environmental consequences and tragedies as a society, we need to decide what we’re going to do to end gender reveal disasters. 


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