One of the most terrifying fires in the history of California, which is currently ravaging the West coast of the United States, was started by an innocent gender reveal party on September 5th, in southern California. As this issue has been widely spread lately through “meme” culture, some view the Californian wildfires as fake news or facts fabricated for entertainment. However, the 28 wildfires, including the “El Dorado Fire” that the party started, have claimed 26 lives as of September 18th.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, over 18 500 firefighters are now fighting the fires, which continue to gain power due to the continuing temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in California and its dry climate. Of course, given that the “Creek” Fire that erupted on September 4th burned more than ten times the size of the “El Dorado” Fire, which began at the gender reveal party, it is difficult to conclude that the situation was caused entirely by the expecting parents’ carelessness. Nevertheless, as the “Sawmill” Fire from April 2017 (started by a Border Patrol agent shooting firecrackers for a gender reveal near an Arizona forest and causing $8 million worth of damage) showed the world, gender reveal parties have often stirred controversy.
Furthermore, as such incidents have sparked public criticism on social media lately, Jenna Karvunidis (who created the gender reveal trend in 2008 with her post on the cake filled with pink icing) joined the conversation as well, sharing her regrets on starting the trend. In an op-ed for The Guardian, after revealing that her view on gender has changed due to raising her daughter (who, despite her pronouns being she/her, enjoys going over the gender norms), she suggested reducing the size of the party for future parents.
Originally Published on www.bandersnatch.ca Vol.50 Issue 02 on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020