Here’s the result of a recent gender reveal event. It’s a. It’s a. It’s a. It’s a plane crash.
Yep, it’s a bad sign when a gender reveal involves the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). But that’s what happened when folks didn’t want to have just a “plain” celebration on September 7 but instead wanted a “plane” celebration to reveal the sex of their forthcoming baby.
The NTSB report revealed what happened in Turkey, Texas, that day: “The pilot reported, that while maneuvering at a low altitude in an aerial applicator airplane, he dumped about 350 gallons of pink water for a gender reveal.” It’s not clear whether pink was used because the baby will be a Jigglypuff from Pokémon or because pink is the stereotypical color used for such events for a girl.
Nevertheless, the report described what happened next: “the airplane ‘got too slow’, aerodynamically stalled, impacted terrain, and came to rest inverted.” The phrase “impacted terrain” is a nice way of saying the word “crashed,” sort of like saying that an MMA fighter’s face impacted a fist.
The report then described the resulting damage: “The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, right wing, and empennage. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.”
Fortunately, no one appears to have been seriously injured. Oh, here’s another detail: “The Federal Aviation Administration inspector reported that the accident occurred during a low pass for a gender reveal celebration. He added that there were two persons on board the single seat airplane.” Um, two people in a single seat airplane is one person too many.
This is certainly not the first gender reveal party to go wrong. YouTube has videos of balloons, balls, and other things with blue or pink substances exploding incorrectly, falling on people’s body parts, or otherwise going awry. This Fox 35 news segment shows a gender reveal that ended up with a car catching fire:
Then there was the gender reveal gunshot in the midst of dry brush that sparked an Arizona wildfire and tons and tons of damage:
And unfortunately just last month a woman in Iowa was killed by flying debris when a couple inadvertently created a “pipe bomb” for their gender reveal event, as Janelle Griffith reported for NBC News.
All of this has led to a number of people question why such gender reveal stunts continue. Gender reveal events have not been around forever. In fact, apparently, they have only been around for about a decade. According to Emma Gray, writing for the HuffPost, the whole trend didn’t even start until 2008 when blogger Jenna Karvunidis held a party for herself complete with a duck-shaped cake that would eventually reveal that she was having a baby girl. In her article, Gray described how this first foray eventually blew up into the trend that it is today. When she first revealed the duck-shaped cake over ten years ago, Karvunidis may not have known that gender reveals would so often involve blowing things up and people actually having duck.
But the trend may now have gotten out of hand. Leave it to people to take an idea and make it dangerous:
While the following tweet is just in jest, I think, it does beg the question of what accidents will happen next:
Sending a text or throwing a party is one thing, but trying to do something spectacular is another thing. In this day and age of social media and “look at me,” you have to wonder how much of these gender reveal stunts are about one-ups-person-ship and trying to get attention. Just as people are risking life and limb to get and post selfies in dangerous positions and doing idiotic things like cementing their head into a microwave oven, what is the purpose of letting caution go up in a puff of smoke just to tell others the sex of your scheduled arrival?
Then there is the question of whether gender reveal events even make any sense. For example, Gray felt that “they reinforce gendered expectations for yet-to-be-born children.” Additionally, some have pointed out that the term “gender reveal” is not even correct and that it should be a “sex reveal” if anything:
Because sex is considered a biological characteristic whereas gender is considered more a role or identify, whose reveal should come much later:
If you are going to have a “gender reveal” party or a “sex reveal” party or any type of party for that matter, don’t include anything that can explode, hurt anyone, or start a fire. It’s just not worth the risk. What are you trying to demonstrate to whom? It isn’t a stupid reveal.
Besides the sex or gender of your baby is just one aspect of your baby and far from the most important. What’s more important is inside your baby: his or her personality, values, morals, and soul. And those won’t be fully revealed in a long time.