American blogger Jenna Karvunidis has apologised for having ‘spawned a commercialised global craze’ when in 2008 she revealed the sex of her unborn baby at a small gathering in her Chicago home.
She baked two cakes, ‘one with blue filling and one with pink’. Her sister-in-law peeked into a sealed envelope with the ultrasound image and brought out the appropriate cake.
Although it was ‘a magical moment’, she didn’t think much about it until her blog on the subject was picked up by a maternity magazine. It kicked off a global trend for ‘gender reveal’ parties. Now she regrets having helped to create ‘an over-commercialised industry, where people pay over the odds for the right “merchandise” and, in some cases, expect guests to bring a gift’. Surely, she says, this is ‘at odds with just sharing in the joy of a new addition to a family’.
Even more troubling, she says, is the potential for ‘gender stereotyping’:
‘Pink for a girl and blue for a boy? Why is this still happening in 2019, when some of us have realise how reductive and harmful this kind of gender stereotyping is?’
She believes that the ‘“pinkification” of girlhood imposes limits on what it means to be female … leaving any girl who doesn’t fit the picture feeling that she doesn’t fit in.’
As she herself notes, while her two youngest daughters are enamoured of pink, her eldest – the child who was the centre of her first ‘gender reveal’ party – is not, which suggests that colour-themed ‘gender reveal’ parties need not scar a child for life.
However, she also laments that creating ‘a spectacle’ around revealing ‘the biological sex of a foetus’ places importance on something
‘where importance doesn’t need to be placed. Having seen how trans and non-binary people have been affected by such thinking over the years, I sometimes feel bad that I have been responsible for releasing something into the world that trades on notions we now know are so out of date. Assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of a child’s potential and talents that have nothing to do with what’s between their legs.’
It may be that excessive sexual stereotyping has been responsible for some cases of gender dysphoria among young people, but prenatal ultrasound scans must be the best demonstration of a basic biological fact: barring rare and exceptional cases, there are only two sexes.
Jenna Karvunidis also fails to mention what must be the most pernicious example of sexual prejudice encouraged by the prenatal scan: sex-selective abortion, in the vast majority of cases used to eliminate baby girls, a far deadlier danger than a pink cake. She herself has three daughters and held her first ‘gender reveal’ party because she had suffered two miscarriages, ‘so reaching the 20-week point with my third [pregnancy] felt like a major milestone for us. It was one that we wanted to mark.’
Clearly that was a joyful occasion but, sadly, the ultrasound scan spells death for many unborn babies because it reveals that they are the ‘wrong’ sex or may have a disability.
However, it has been a boon to the population control movement; as well as eliminating the disabled before birth, the sex-selective abortions of unborn baby girls is a way of curbing the population – as in China, with its millions of ‘surplus’ males and unsustainable ‘top-heavy’ population.
Here, the ‘gender fluid’ craze can act as a sop to parents who restrict themselves to two children, for if they are ‘unlucky’ enough to have two children of the same sex, instead of trying for a third in the hope of getting a child of the desired sex, they can console themselves that their children can decide for themselves what ‘gender’ they want to be. And no doubt among 'woke' parents the ‘gender reveal’ party will give way to the ‘gender fluid’ party.
While ‘eco fascists’ tell us that having children is bad for the Planet, women are encouraged to celebrate their abortions and it has been suggested that the ultrasound scan is dangerous, not because it results in abortions, but because showing a scan to women seeking an abortion can make them change their minds.
Thus it is good to celebrate the existence of a new life – to welcome babies as good news rather than as bad news. But if they could be celebrated for their own sake rather than as a projection of our own prejudices and desires, that really would be something to celebrate.
Ann Farmer lives in the UK. She is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign (CUAP, 2008); The Language of Life: Christians Facing the Abortion Challenge (St Pauls, 1995), and Prophets & Priests: the Hidden Face of the Birth Control Movement (St Austin Press, 2002).