The mother who helped give birth to the gender-reveal craze now wants everyone to stop obsessing about gender reveals — especially when the fallout includes sparking massive wildfires.
Jenna Karvunidis, who blogs under the name High Gloss and Sauce, helped popularize the trend of unveiling whether “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” — usually via some sort of stunt that culminates in a flash or pink or blue — by baking a cake to celebrate the pending arriving of her first child back in July 2008. The sweet treat had a pink icing core, which signaled to friends and family that she was going to have a girl. She blogged about it, and the parenting website the Bump interviewed her about it — and “then I started noticing people having the same party,” she wrote in a Facebook post last summer.
Indeed, a YouTube representative has told MarketWatch that gender-reveal videos were first uploaded to the Google-run GOOG, -2.11% site in 2009. YouTube saw a 60% bump in views for gender-reveal videos by 2017. Party City PRTY, -5.38% launched a gender-reveal line in 2016 that has grown to include more than 75 different products, and Amazon AMZN, -2.18% and Etsy ETSY, +2.70% boast dozens of pink and blue reveal-themed products. Gender-reveal offerings are among the latest entrants to an online baby-product market that IBISWorld values at $7.5 billion, with parents-to-be spending an average of $200 to $1,000 on baby showers.
But Karvunidis, 40, has been having second thoughts about the gimmicky trend whose explosion into the zeitgeist she is partly responsible for — especially after a gender reveal party sparked a California wildfire over Labor Day weekend that has burned more than 8,600 acres. The family started the blaze in El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa with a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device, Cal Fire revealed in a press release.
And this is not the first massive fire fanned by a gender reveal gone wrong. In 2017, a similar mishap ignited a 47,000-acre Arizona wildfire.
“ “For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid’s penis. No one cares but you.” ”
“Oh my god NO,” Karvunidis wrote on Facebook on Monday. “Stop it. Stop having these stupid parties. For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid’s penis. No one cares but you.”
What’s more, the trend-setter revealed that she’s been getting hate messages in the wake of the latest fire. She also wrote that just because she’s the gender reveal “inventor” doesn’t mean that she thinks “people should burn down their communities.”
In fact, Karvunidis revealed she’s grown cold toward the trend she helped spark in an earlier FB, -2.05% post last summer. “I’ve felt a lot of mixed feelings about my random contribution to the culture,” she wrote at the time. It’s been an explosion, she observed, in a sometimes literal sense, with “guns firing, forest fires, more emphasis on gender than has ever been necessary for a baby.”
Social media has encouraged increasingly over-the-top gender reveals — with, by way of example, alligators biting into balloons filled with blue Jell-O, crop dusters filling the air with pink vapor, and big-league players hitting baseballs that burst into pink or blue powder.
Related:Oh, baby: Lasagna, exploding baseballs and bath bombs are part of the booming gender-reveal industry
And one of the most problematic parts of the gender-reveal concept, Karvunidis added, is placing so much importance on the sex of the baby in the first place. “Who cares what gender the baby is?” she wrote. “I did at the time because we didn’t live in 2019 and didn’t know what we know now — 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.”
She added that, “PLOT TWIST, the world’s first gender-reveal party baby is a girl who wears suits!” Indeed, her oldest daughter (now 12) stands front and center in a photo accompanying the 2019 post, wearing a slim-fit baby-blue suit.
Karvunidis joins a list of inventors who regret the creations they unleashed upon the world, most of which must have seemed like good ideas at the time. They include the K-Cup creator John Sylan, who told the Atlantic he “feels bad” about the amount of trash the single-pod coffee containers sold by the Keurig Dr Pepper KDP, -2.16% Keurig brand produce. Architect Victor Gruen, considered the inventor of the modern shopping mall, is sorry about his role in developing these “land-wasting seas of parking.” And 401(k) mastermind Ted Benna has admitted he “created a monster” and “would blow up the system and restart with something totally different” if he could.
Related:The man behind K-Cups joins these 7 inventors with regrets
This article was originally published in July 2019, and has been updated with the El Dorado fire and Jenna Karvunidis’ comments in response.
Originally published on MarketWatch