Gender Reveal Parties: Setting Boundaries for our Unborn Babies
Surprise! You’re pregnant, and it’s almost time to find out the sex of your future child! So you begin planning a fun-filled gender reveal party, full of themed games centered around the assumed gender of your unborn baby. You’ll cut into a cake and discover the inside is blue if you’re having a boy, and pink if you’re having a girl. It doesn’t stop there; you will go on to raise your child in respects to their assigned gender, from the color you paint their room to the language you choose when speaking to them.
Gender reveal parties represent a real issue with gender norms and roles. Gender roles are the set behaviors that are considered acceptable based on a person’s perceived sex. A mother discovers her fetus has a penis, and she begins buying toy-trucks and t-shirts with dinosaurs on them. Perhaps he will enjoy these things, but it’s not fair to assume so because of his genitals. Gender roles are not only external, but internal as well. We raise boys to be aggressive, strong, a “real man.” While we raise women to be “ladylike,” and always sit with your legs crossed. Whether we realize it or not, we enforce these restrictive, binary boundaries. We fail to recognize that the sex we are born with does not define the gender we identify as.
Since these gender roles are placed on us before birth, they are often considered natural. These roles that we perform are laced in absolutely everything we do, but it is learned. In fact, it’s probably the first thing we learn in life. Even our own names are often divided into the two categories: boy and girl. This idea of sex and gender as binary is very misguided, and it’s harmful for those who don’t fit into the typical portrayals of masculine or feminine. 1 in 100 children are born neither male or female, and 150,000 American teenagers identify as transgender. In fact, there are currently 63 recognized genders. Things operate much more on a spectrum, in reality.
Listen ladies, I can absolutely understand the excitement of being a new parent. It’s okay to celebrate your baby-to-be! My question is, why be more excited or celebrate differently based on your childs sex? The genitalia of your child should not waver the way you decide to dress or discipline them. We should challenge ourselves to raise our sons and daughters the same way, with grace and strength. Let’s not place boundaries on our children, or ourselves. Maybe these gender reveal parties seem harmless, but they do reinforce gender roles, and these gender roles keep us from real freedom of our identities.