British Columbians were shocked earlier this month when an ill-planned gender reveal party on Baldy Mountain near Oliver sparked a blaze that could have easily devastated the high-fire danger area.
Fortunately, community members and passersby were able to extinguish the blaze, and the incident is relegated to a growing log of similarly frightening occurrences.
The fire was caused by a Tannerite detonation, an explosive made from ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder and intended to be used as a small exploding target for shooting practice.
The employment of Tannerite in gender reveal parties in the United States and other countries over the past few years has resulted in massive wildfires destroying property, displacing families and costing millions of dollars.
Gender reveal parties have been trendy for about 15 years.
Traditionally an expectant couple will invite their family and friends to watch them cut open a cake to show pink or blue icing, blast coloured confetti or release balloons.
In 2018, a Louisiana man shoved a watermelon in the mouth of an alligator, so it bit down and exposed blue gel.
The alligator’s name was Sally.
The truly crazy element of gender reveal parties – because we are all waiting for something truly crazy – is that they are completely at odds with society’s developing attitudes and understanding of gender itself.
It’s about more than chromosomes and bits and pieces of anatomy.
It’s also about freedom of personal expression and determination that is constantly knocking up against crushing social constructs.
In other words, the gender of a fetus doesn’t matter.
It’s premature to start forming expectations of a human being that isn’t even a human being yet based on the results of an ultrasound.
When do we start picking out careers for embryos?
The DeMeers have committed parenting four times. Even in the dark days of the 20th century, the technology existed to identify gender and we took a hard pass each time.
We were curious, sure. But did we care? No.
It can’t all be about painting the nursery, or sugar and spice and everything nice, also snakes and snails and puppy dog tails.
Jenna Karvunidis, the California blogger who started the gender reveal phenomenon in 2008, has stated publicly and repeatedly that she regrets it.
“Who cares what gender the baby is?” she posted to social media in 2019, while also sharing that the world’s first gender-reveal-party girl prefers wearing suits to dresses.
Regardless of anyone’s personal ideas about gender, please don’t blow anything up or set any fires.
Judging by the accumulation of pink powder on Baldy Mountain, the happy but incredibly irresponsible couple is expecting a girl.
Perhaps they will consider naming her ‘Sparkle’.
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