Despite being outrageously popular in the last few years, gender reveal parties have received quite a bit of backlash from feminists, the trans, and intersex communities, and people who are just plain sick of them. According to critics, gender reveal parties put way too much of an emphasis on the idea of gender, when they're actually celebrating the baby's sex (and yes, there is a difference between the two). These parties may also entrench sexist divides between girls and boys by assigning outdated beliefs about gender roles.
Do girls always wear bows and prefer pink? Do boys all like football and gravitate to blue? Of course not, but traditional gender reveals perpetuate many gender stereotypes that you may want to avoid, particularly if you plan on raising kids without restrictive gendered expectations. Luckily, there are many ways to celebrate your new arrival that don't involve outdated gender perceptions! Here are 10 Gender-Neutral Alternatives To A Gender-Reveal Party.
10. Zodiac Party
Does no one know when your baby is due? Does your baby's due date fall close to the cusp of two astrological signs? Have a zodiac party! Given that every birth date has a designated zodiac sign that predicts everything from personality traits to future events, this is a fun and lighthearted way to celebrate in a gender-neutral way. Have your guests place bets on which way it will fall and let the winner read the baby's horoscope (and make sure you give them a prize, people love free stuff).
9. Scavenger Hunt
Instead of sending out invites to a "gender reveal party," why not host a scavenger hunt? Seriously, how many people get invited to a full-fledged scavenger hunt after the age of 10? Even better, make sure no one knows what they're setting out to find (be it the baby's sex, name, or just the fact that you're pregnant).
The more epic the hunt, the better. Get creative with the clues, but don't give anything away until the very end. Split your friends and family into teams and wait to see who the winner is.
8. Rainbow Themed Party
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1440"] via CoOp[/caption]
Celebrate your baby with all the colors of the rainbow! Guests can be asked to wear rainbow-themed clothing and they can guess the sex by putting a jellybean (of any color) into a jar marked either male or female. Instead of cutting the cake to reveal pink or blue filling, make a rainbow cake and fill it with skittles (and a little piece of paper naming the baby’s sex). This party theme rejects the idea that there are gender-specific colors and we love it.
7. Parent Vs. Parent
Do you and your partner have a house divided? Whether it's by sports, Gryffindor vs. Slytherin, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, or Harvard vs. Yale, both parents can pick a side to represent the sex. Ask your guests to "dress your guess" according to the theme, or get stickers for guests to wear: Team Giants vs. Team Jets, for example. This is a fun way to make a reveal party about more than just pink or blue, or you could even just be guessing which side the new kid is going to join when they get older! Plus, it's just a good excuse to have a party and celebrate the joy and excitement that a new baby brings.
6. Gender Neutral Baby Shower
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="2500"] via Snappening[/caption]
With the arrival of gender reveal parties, baby showers have kind of taken a back seat, but why not host one anyway? Baby showers are just a fun way to celebrate the upcoming arrival with friends and family, without the expectation of a big reveal. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be like your grandma's baby shower, full of pink or blue and cringe-worthy party games! Include men and families, serve alcohol, make it a drop-in event, host it outside, or just think outside of the box. Not all baby showers have to be lame.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="2000"] via Kigali Reading Center[/caption]
Instead of hosting an expensive reveal party or baby shower, why not throw a dinner party to celebrate your baby and raise money for an organization that's near and dear to your heart? If you're opting out of a gender reveal party because you find them offensive on behalf of the transgender/intersex community, why not ask your guests to bring donations for the National Society for Transgender Equality or The National LGBTQ Task Force? Feel free to pick a fun theme and ask guests to dress accordingly (make it fun and think outside of the box).
4. Delivery Day Surprise
A 2012 study found that 69 percent of pregnant women (and 77 percent of their partners) surveyed in 2009-10 wanted to know the sex of the fetus before the delivery, and I imagine that number has only gone up thanks to the popularity of gender reveals. Although knowing the baby's sex in advance is certainly tempting (and obviously popular), why not go against the grain and wait to find out the sex on the baby's birthday? Ditch all the pink and blue garbage, the insensitive gender-related comments, and Grandma's awful stereotyping!
3. Holiday-Themed Reveal
The people pictured above had a St. Patrick's Day Reveal and their guests had the choice between green and gold (and they tied it in with a fun, boozy holiday)! Not all gender reveals need to involve pink or blue, and some can just be a good excuse to get together during the holidays! Why not have a Christmas gender reveal and hand gifts to family members with the sex or name of the baby inside? Easter would also be a funtime to celebrate fertility!
RELATED: 15 Gender-Neutral Nursery Ideas
2. Pregnancy Announcement
Are you tired of seeing lame gender reveals and don't have the energy to plan a baby shower? Simply announce your pregnancy in a gender-neutral, creative way. There are TONS of unique pregnancy announcement ideas on the internet, so start Pinteresting and brainstorming! You can tailor your pregnancy announcements for partners (they should definitely know first), friends, coworkers, grandparents, etc! Not everyone has to find out the same way (or on the same day). You can use t-shirts, mugs, photoshoots, Christmas cards, Christmas presents, and even involve the family dog!
1. Name Reveal Party
Instead of focusing on the sex, why not have a party that reveals the name? One couple came up with eight girl names and eight boy names (there were 16 people at the party). They wrote them all on nametags, and at the beginning of the party, everyone drew a name from a bowl. Then every 5 minutes they crossed off a name from the list, and the person who drew the real name was the winner! I've always been excited to find out a baby's name, so this can be a lot of fun, particularly for close family members who are secretly hoping the baby is named after them.