A plane crash in Texas, a deadly explosion in Iowa, a massive fire in Arizona — elaborate baby gender reveal parties, a growing trend among parents in the US, have taken a nightmarish turn.
“It’s a girl!” After dropping 350 gallons of pink-coloured water, a small plane flying at low altitude suddenly stalled, crashing in a Texas field.
There were fortunately no victims in the early-September crash, but another such party — where expecting parents stage elaborate events to reveal their future child’s sex — turned fatal when an Iowa woman, 56, was killed the following month by shrapnel from a pipe bomb.
American parents are no longer satisfied with the traditional gender reveal method: cutting a cake to reveal, after much suspense, a blue interior (for a boy) or a pink one (for a girl).
With the rise of social media, gender reveals have become more and more sophisticated and “extreme,” according to Carly Gieseler, a professor of gender and media studies at City University of New York (CUNY).
What started as an “intimate, small gather” has become a “much larger spectacle, a much more grand affair,” Gieseler told AFP.
“We’ve gotten to the point where you have explosions and fireworks, skydivers” appearing all over Instagram or YouTube.
It complements another American custom, that of the baby shower — a party, primarily for women, where an expecting mother is showered with gifts of baby supplies.
Although gender reveal parties may have managed to get men involved in the pre-birth festivities, they are also accused of reinforcing gender stereotypes.
Even the woman credited with inventing the trend — lifestyle blogger Jenna Karvunidis, who wrote a blog post about her party in 2008 when she was pregnant with her first daughter — today feels she created a bit of a monster.
“I’ve felt a lot of mixed feelings about my random contribution to the culture,” she wrote in a post on her blog’s Facebook page.