Back in 2008, Jenna Karvunidis had a gender reveal party for her one-year-old and triggered a viral trend in the process. The mum who had a blog at the time baked a cake with pink icing for family and friends, a celebration that has been consistently adopted by parents ever since, in one case prompting a forest fire. Today, however, Jenna is offering a different point of view.
Gender reveal party
Jenna wrote about the party at the time and was interviewed by Bump magazine, an article which she now has framed. But the mum had no idea of the overall impact her actions would have. “I had had several miscarriages before finally staying pregnant long enough to learn her gender, so I was more celebrating a pregnancy milestone than anything,” she recently said on Facebook about the event.
A weird thing came up on Twitter, so I figured I'd share here. Someone remembered it was me who "invented" the gender…
A different outlook
However, now in 2019, Jenna has a different take on the matter and took to Facebook to update her many followers. Particularly when she saw someone on Twitter referring to her as the one who “invented” the gender reveal party. “I’ve felt a lot of mixed feelings about my random contribution to the culture,” she wrote. “It just exploded into crazy after that. Literally – guns firing, forest fires, more emphasis on gender than has ever been necessary for a baby.”
Who cares about gender?
For Jenna, the emphasis is not on gender. “Who cares what gender the baby is?” she wrote in her post. “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.”
MORE Gender Reveals
While the gender reveal party idea went crazy, Jenna began to question its value. “I started to realize that non-binary people and trans people were feeling affected by this, and I started to feel bad that I had released something bad into the world,” she told The Guardian.
Not only that, things are shifting for Jenna, as her daughter grows up. Now aged ten, her daughter Bee prefers to wear suits and often chooses to have her hair short. “I’m letting her lead me,” Jenna reported in The Guardian. “She has her opinions about there being many genders and she is informing me about things. She was biologically born a female and she is still ‘she’ and ‘her’ and says she’s a girl, but she is still doing things her way.”
Messages of support
Jenna once again has inspired an overwhelming response. Her followers appreciate how her views have developed and that she has taken the time to share with the world. Many have thanked her for her honesty and offered compliments on both her approach and her family.
“This is a fascinating twist to this story!” writes one “Thank you for writing such an inspiring post about it. ❤️ Your family is beautiful.” Another said, “Absolutely love this. I love the evolution of thought and feelings related to gender. My heart is full.”
Meanwhile, for others, such as this follower, it struck a more personal chord: “Thank you for sharing! As a transgender woman, I’ve become more and more annoyed with the popularity of these gender reveals. At first it was cute and clever, now, not so much. With the awareness of transgender people growing, I would think this would have faded.”
Jenna kicked off the notion of the gender reveal party at a time when no one was doing it. Now many years later, she and others have moved on, and it seems that her own daughter is helping to lead the way. But Jenna doesn’t want to stop others from celebrating gender, merely offers her advice on focusing on what’s important.
“Let your kids just be who they are,” she told The Guardian. “If you enjoy having a party, there’s no stopping that. Parents get enough flak as it is, and I’m not trying to stop anyone from having a good time. But maybe not setting up such an expectation, that’s all. And maybe not setting off fireworks and burning down a forest.”