Boy cake, girl cake

Ever hear of Gender Parties?

I suppose I’m a little late to the, er, party on this one, but I just heard about this practice the other day. It’s a gathering where expectant parents invite (re: obligate) family and friends to celebrate the announcement of their child’s gender. The twist is that the parents themselves don’t know yet, either. They’ll typically get the results from the doctor in a sealed envelope, deliver it to the baker, then discover the sex of the baby when they cut into the cake and see blue if a boy and pink if a girl (‘natch).


I read up on the practice a bit. I don’t write for the New York Times, so I won’t insult your intelligence by dishonestly inferring that this is some huge trend that’s sweeping the nation. However, it’s been around for a couple years now and there are enough people doing it to warrant my attention. To wit, there are no shortage of videos on YouTube of parents sharing their exaltation with the whole world, because apparently subjecting a captive audience of family and friends to your narcissism simply isn’t enough.

Okay, that’s mean and perhaps a bit unfair. Still, while I don’t know anybody who’s personally done this, I have to ask: is this where we’re headed? I don’t mean gender parties specifically, but what they represent. Why are these videos on YouTube? Is mine a generation where everything someone does has to be treated with blustery fanfare and exposed to the whole world?  Why do you think strangers on the internet care what sex your baby is? Aren’t there any moments that are private anymore?

My first reaction is to blame reality television or the internet for giving people the mistaken impression that all aspects of their personal lives should be broadcast to the world and celebrated as a momentous achievement. I wonder, however, if we’re not confusing cause for effect, and if reality television and internet overexposure isn’t a symptom of a greater disease; a culture of entitlement that’s been fostered since the baby boom of the 1950s.

The crime of it all is that stuff like Baby Gender Parties take what should be a tender, memorable moment for the parents and twists it into narcissistic minutae for everybody else. If you’re going to post videos, it should be of the baby itself being adorable and cute and doing unintentionally funny things. That’s why people are there and why people are interested: for the baby itself, not because you made one and to see your reaction as you celebrate your ability to procreate. Worst of all, you get strangers and jerks like me on the internet making fun of you for it.

For these parents, I can only hope that this is not an indication of things to come for the Gender Party Baby. If it is, then I have a message for that baby.

To the Former Gender Party Babies reading this from the future: I am so sorry. I’m sorry for what my generation, and specifically your parents, have done to you, which is to take potentially beautiful moments and fetishized them for their own personal validation and entertainment. There are those of us that, if it were within our power and our right to do so, would have stopped it. But hey, it’s a free country, and people are able to make their own choices when it comes to carrying and raising children. Unfortunately, that means you had to suffer through no shortage of embarrassment and tasks forced upon you so they could be recorded for faux posterity, and you likely developed a complex from parents that were disappointed at your inability to produce a viral video. Well, Former Gender Party Baby, I think you’re just fine. Don’t measure your self-worth by how many eyes on the internet are on you and commenting on your videos. Your accomplishments will be measured by less tangible but more meaningful ways, like by those around you that love you (even if they show it in very weird and self-centered ways). More importantly, though, they will be measured in your own feeling of self-worth, which I hope you are able to foster despite your parents pathologically confusing self-esteem for self-delusion.

Now go forth, Future Gender Baby! Do great things and keep your flip phone in your pocket while you’re doing it. Be better than us. Create memories and great moments, don’t manufacture them.


30 Responses to Gender parties

  1. Tony Barbaro says:

    They should wait and have parties when they are 14 and decide what gender they WANT to be ….
    we have a grandchild on the way….I’m calling it “Duke” either way. And ,yes it WILL be a genius, adorable and an honor student, who beats up all other honor students. And will be able to fly.

  2. Renee says:

    I’m in about as mom-ish of a social group as can be and have never been to a gender party or know someone who has had one. The closest I’ve seen is when people invited to a babyshower to know the gender of the child and the parents-to-be don’t. They’re surprised when they walk into the shower and see piles of pink or blue presents.

    But even that has been just a small fraction of the minority of people who still bother to find out the baby’s gender at all. The trend, in my neck of the woods at least, is definitely to be surprised when the baby is born. Finding out the gender beforehand is seen as old fashioned and out of touch.

  3. LM says:

    There might be a bit of interest in the middle of winter when we’re all bored out of our minds. I guess, then, it would be something to do.

  4. Pheobe says:

    The Duggar’s (the family of 20 kids and counting on TLC) had their own Gender Party on the Today Show as they cut into the cake revealing the gender of their baby. Weird but tasty?

  5. Rob Madeo says:

    I think I’d rather be the guest of honor at a root canal party.

  6. D2 says:

    Next thing you know, they’ll be having First Response parties. Pee on the stick and quickly put it back in the box. Have friends come over that evening for the “reveal”. No cake just lots of booze…either for celebration or drowning your sorrows. (Don’t forget to kepp the test strip for babies scrap book!)

  7. al says:

    that cake looks tasty.

    I’ve never heard of this. I have heard of people having the doctor write it down, and then the couple opening it together over a nice dinner, to avoid the awakward moment with the ultrasound tech in the doctor’s office.
    People are translating the overhyped wedding preparations into baby preparations. so ridiculous.

  8. Renee says:

    In response to D2, I haven’t seen first response parties but there is a very popular thing right now where people film themselves getting the pregnancy test response and post the video on Youtube- often before they even tell their souse or family. I think even NPR may have done a segment on it recently.

  9. Em says:

    I enjoy having my pregnant friends pee on a First Response and then mailing it to my boss’s husband with a note that says. “Oops, sorry”

  10. Ann says:

    I guess. If you go for that kind of thing. I don’t. I like parties at which I can talk to interesting people. I don’t think Baby Gender Party falls into that category -not that there wouldn’t be interesting people, but that the talk would be all BABY.

    Besides, the reaction has to be elation regardless of whether the cake turns out to be blue or pink. Otherwise, they shouldn’t be having a kid!

  11. EZ says:

    I was more interested when I thought this article was about gender panties.

  12. ThinkAndDo says:

    Conception Parties are always engaging, although the Peeping Tom statutes and police are somewhat of a nuisance.

  13. EZ says:

    Truer words were never said.

  14. m says:

    I agree with everything you’ve written. I think people are just getting used to sharing every intimate detail of their lives through facebook/youtube. It’s the “norm”, which is scary. It really bothers me when I see women posting pictures of their ultra sounds on facebook. Shouldn’t that be something for your family to see? Not 400 of your closest “friends”….390 of which you don’t talk to? Is nothing sacred anymore?

  15. K.Judge says:

    I figure this is way better than sharing it with Maury you are not the father Povich, and by the way it’s a girl.

  16. Jen says:

    On the outside, I definitely agree with you Kevin.

    However, a few of those videos may not necessarily be up there for the enjoyment of strangers, rather for people who cannot make it. Speaking as someone who has lived on both sides of the country and has dearly loved people on either side, can I honestly say that if I were pregnant and chose to do this, people in CA would attend? No. Can I say that there’s at least the off chance they would be interested? Yup. Some might insist they were able to view it, and the easiest way I can think of is to upload a video to You Tube and post a link to my FB account. Would you care? Not in the slightest, because we don’t know each other. I have you on my feed to catch your TU posts because I love your blog.

    There are folks with family members on the other side of the world. Can they be assured all of those family members have FB accounts? Probably not. Is it easy to pass a link around to family members that might not otherwise see the footage? Yup.

    Granted, this reasoning cannot be attributed to all the videos you found. If you’re posting it just to post it, there’s probably something wrong with you if you think that the rest of the world cares if you’re having a boy or girl. The broad brush on this just irked me for the moment. Keep on keepin’ on my favorite TU blogger.

  17. Ron says:

    I suspect that you don’t understand this because its so far from your world. I’m a proud father and I question some of the things that you choose to share.

  18. Mickey says:

    #17: I agree with you and Kevin totally, and to answer your question, no. Nothing is sacred. It is a free country but there once was a quaint old time when people had self-control and curbed their wildest impulses because they actually possessed a self-braking mechanism when indulgences or behavior crossed the line into totally inappropriate. This latest crop of dumb humans seems to have that particular genetic code purged from their DNA. Personally, I see it as another decadent harbinger of The End of Civilization As WE Know It or, as Sports Illustrated is fond of saying a”Sign of the Apocalypse”.

  19. Roger Green says:

    how banal. a party for any blessed thing.

  20. tj says:

    I wonder if it’s required to listen to Toby Keith’s “I Wanna Talk About Me” while cutting the cake. I wanna talk about me, Wanna talk about I, Wanna talk about number one, Oh my me my………………

  21. The Other Lisa says:

    The first time I ever heard of this was a few months ago when my friend had one. I think it’s a really cute idea and see nothing wrong with it. Putting a video of it on YouTube, however – now that is a bit excessive.

  22. lola says:

    @#7 – D2…. LOVE it!

  23. jakester says:

    I’d rather have a knocked up party…

  24. Ann says:

    Blame FAcebook for everyone’s personal crud and “me me me” attitudes being forced on you. Or be a rebel and don’t join!!!!!!

    I just wish there was a blog that had something important to discuss, you know other than baby showers and weddings and who’s your favorite DWTS contender.

  25. JGR says:

    I’m having a pants party later this week. Let’s hear it for pleats and cuffs!

  26. Michelle says:

    this HAS GOT to be the most stupidest thing i have ever heard of..

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