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After the latest wildfire, the woman who popularized gender reveal parties says enough already

Jenna Karvunidis has been called the "inventor" of gender reveal parties. In a Facebook post, she pleaded with families to be more responsible.

After the latest wildfire, the woman who popularized gender reveal parties says enough already
Image Source: Getty Images/ Apple Fire In Southern California Forces Evacuations. (Photo by David McNew)

The latest wildfire in California, the El Dorado Fire, was set off by a family hosting a gender reveal party. The family had utilized a "smoke generating pyrotechnic device" which caused the calamity. The El Dorado Fire has since grown to over 8,600 acres, forcing several neighborhoods in the area to evacuate completely. Following the news of what caused the disaster, the woman who popularized the gender reveal party has spoken up. Blogger Jenna Karvunidis asked California families to "stop having these stupid parties" in an impassioned Facebook post, CNN reports. Over the past few years, gender reveal parties have been the target of much criticism, this is only the latest critique.



"Stop it, stop having these stupid parties," Karvunidis stated on the social media platform after she discovered the cause of the wildfire. "For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid's penis. No one cares but you. It was 116 degrees in Pasadena yesterday and this tool thought it would be smart to light a fire about his kid's dick. Toxic masculinity is men thinking they need to explode something because simply enjoying a baby party is for sissies." Of course, one of the main criticisms of the gender reveal party is that it encourages toxic masculinity. In many instances, fathers have thrown tantrums after discovering that their incoming child will be a girl.





This is but a symptom of the root problem of gender reveal parties: the fixation on the gender binary. The blogger herself recognized this when she wrote in 2019 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." Karvunidis did not acknowledge this in her most recent Facebook post, but did reveal that she was once again receiving hate messages for being the "gender reveal inventor." She shared, "Of course I'm getting hate messages. Excuse me for having a cake for my family in 2008. Just because I'm the 'gender reveal inventor' doesn't mean I think people should burn down their communities."



In addition to being harmful to the discourse about gender, gender reveal parties have been more tangibly dangerous. Though many of these parties are simple celebrations with either a blue or pink, much like Karvunidis' party was, others are on the extreme side. In 2017, for example, a wildfire spanning 47,000 acres was set off when attendees at a gender reveal party shot a makeshift target scrawled with the words "Boy" and "Girl." The target, packed with the highly explosive material Tannerite, immediately exploded and ignited the surrounding brush. The guilty parties were charged with $8 million dollars in restitution for the damages that they had caused.



Most ironically, one gender reveal party, in particular, has even caused the death of one person. What was supposed to be a celebration of life took a darker turn when a family in Iowa unintentionally built a pipe bomb. The explosive did not just emit blue or pink gun powder, it exploded entirely, sending shrapnel flying everywhere. A grandmother standing about 45 feet away was hit by a piece of metal. It ultimately killed her. Karvunidis's warning, therefore, is more than just an ashamed blogger's attempt to erase her role in popularizing the concept of gender reveal parties. It is, rather, a desperate plea.



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