This week, yet another gender reveal stunt turned deadly after a small plane, with an attached sign reading “It’s a girl!” abruptly crashed into the Caribbean Sea. On Monday, the plane’s two passengers were both found, but one was already dead; the other died of injuries while receiving first aid. The incident took place off the coast of Mexico, about 40 miles from Cancún, and is currently under investigation by Mexican aviation authorities, according to The Daily Beast.
In a video shared by the New York Post, a group of family and friends are heard cheering from a boat as the plane, a Cessna 206, flies overhead. One attendee even jokes that a plane crash would be terrible, just moments before the aircraft nosedives into the water. “It’s all good as long as it doesn’t end up crashing into us!” they are heard saying.
Even the more harmless gender reveal parties add an unnecessary emphasis on the gender binary and, more often than not, stereotypes. They often end badly, even if they don't end in death. And this week’s party gone wrong is just the latest example of how dangerous these gimmicks can get. In 2019, another plane crashed after dumping gallons of pink water onto the ground. The same year, a woman died after she was hit with a piece of metal from a pipe bomb that an expectant couple accidentally created. And then, the very next day, another couple set off an explosion that started a minor earthquake in Iowa.
Jenna Karvunidis, the blogger who threw the first known gender reveal party, has expressed several times that she regrets the phenomenon she inadvertently started when she filled a cake with pink icing. “It just exploded into crazy after that. Literally — guns firing, forest fires, more emphasis on gender than has ever been necessary for a baby,” she wrote in a 2019 post. “Who cares what gender the baby is? I did at the time because we didn't live in 2019 and didn't know what we know now — that assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of their potential and talents that have nothing to do with what's between their legs.” She also added that her child, the subject of that original gender reveal party, frequently opts to buck gender norms.
Karvunidis spoke out again after a 2020 gender reveal started a major forest fire in California, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate. “Oh my god NO. The fire that evacuated parts of California is from a GENDER REVEAL PARTY,” she wrote on Facebook. “Stop it. Stop having these stupid parties. For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid’s penis.”
There’s a lot to celebrate about pregnancy, and a lot of ways to do it. But igniting wildfires, crashing planes, and causing freak accidents in the name of announcing an unborn child’s genitalia is at once strange, harmful, and life-threatening. There’s nothing wrong with a normal baby shower.