Gender Reveal Party Creator Regrets Inspiring Idiots To Set Sh*t On Fire
Big parties are reportedly fueling a second surge of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles, and now a gender-reveal party is the cause of one of the 23 major wildfires currently burning through Southern California. Who's to blame when the parties really get out of hand?
According to the California Department of Forestry and Protection, the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County started because some fool set off a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device." This is worse than Mrs. O'Leary's cow, because milk serves a constructive purpose. Gender-reveal parties don't. Also, cows are idiots and incapable of shame or embarrassment. This kid's not even born yet but will have to live with knowing this party in honor of its penis or lack of penis charred more than 10,000 acres and forced the evacuation of at least 20,000 people. And biology doesn't even determine gender so the whole affair was a big waste of time.
Slate reports that this isn't the first gender-reveal party to have tragic results, and we don't just mean subpar catering.
In 2017, a border patrol agent started a 47,000-acre wildfire that caused more than $8 million in damage in southern Arizona. Two years later, an explosion at a gender-reveal party killed an Iowa woman in October 2019. In November of that year, an elaborate gender reveal party led to a plane crash in Texas as a plan to dump 3350 gallons of pink water went wrong. Only minor injuries were reported in that case.
Saturday's catastrophe led to an interesting Facebook post denouncing the entire gender-reveal racket.
Blogger Jenna Karvunidis is the actual, patented (probably not) inventor of the gender reveal party, and like Alfred Nobel, she fears she's "released something bad into the world."
Back in 2008, Karvunidis baked a cake with pink icing inside to reveal her child's gender to friends and family. Her motivations were sympathetic. As she told The Guardian last year, the reveal was intended to celebrate a major personal milestone.
KARVUNIDIS: I had had several miscarriages. It was like, "Oh yay, I'm finally at a point in my pregnancy where I know if it's a boy or a girl" rather than "Let's saddle this kid with a whole identity." I don't think anybody was thinking like that in 2008.
Conservatives might knock Karvunidis for her newfound “wokeness" but she's right. Parents shouldn't proactively declare their child's gender identity before they've had a chance to take their body for a test spin and come to their own conclusions. Karvunidis's daughter, who identifies as a girl, defies most gender norms: She wears her her hair short and feels "more comfortable in suits and blazers than in dresses."
The pregnancy magazine The Bump did a story about Karvunidis's gender reveal, which sparked (sorry) a craze. It wasn't long before she had second thoughts about the monster she'd inadvertently created. And that was before the murders began.
Watch: Border agent's gender-reveal explosion is the moment a massive Arizona wildfire started www.youtube.com
In her 2019 interview, Karvunidis mentioned the epic fail at a Tucson, Arizona, gender reveal when Border Patrol Agent Dennis Dickey "shot a target that contained Tannerite, an explosive substance designed to detonate when shot by a high-velocity firearm." This was supposed to generate blue smoke for a baby boy. Instead, there was just red flames like at Rosemary Woodhouse's baby reveal.
Like the people who throw Gatsby-themed parties, the whole point behind Karvunidis's original event was lost and everyone fixated on the spectacle. If you have to make a big fuss over your child's gender, just go with stereotypically color-coded baked goods. Let your child, regardless of gender, set the world on fire by themselves ... and only metaphorically.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."