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On Saturday, 26 October 2019, a woman died at a gender reveal party in Iowa, USA. She was fifty-six years old and her name was Pamela Kreimeyer. A homemade explosive was used at the party that would release smoke to signify the gender of a baby. Blue smoke for a boy and pink smoke for a girl. Things went awry when a piece of shrapnel from the explosive hit Kreimeyer in the head and killed her.

Gender reveal parties have become a popular trend in the US and have recently spread to other countries. The trend originated in 2008 when a woman named Jenna Karvundis baked a cake with pink icing on the inside to show she was having a girl. She wrote about it on her blog which then garnered a lot of attention online. The use of cake to reveal a baby’s gender has continued to be the most common way to divulge the sex of a baby. However, people have also taken to more creative and dangerous ways since 2008.

At an Arizona party in 2018, an explosion rigged with coloured powder triggered a 47,000-acre wildfire which burned for a week and caused $8 million worth of damage. Recently, a video went viral online of a Louisiana man feeding his pet alligator a watermelon filled with blue jelly inside to reveal his baby was a boy. This video has since sparked safety concerns as well as concerns about the animal’s welfare. Another party in Australia planned to use a car that would emit blue or pink smoke but disaster struck when the car burst into flames.

Gender reveal parties have not only sparked physical concerns but also concerns over societal gender issues. After hosting that first gender reveal party in 2008, Karvundis herself has since spoken-out against them. She said on Facebook, “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”. Karvundis has described how her baby girl now prefers wearing short hair and suits which has only strengthened her beliefs on gender.

A woman named Helen, the mother of a transgender child, agrees with Karvundis. She believes these stereotypes could prevent women from working and studying in traditionally masculine fields such as math and science and could also fuel outdated ideas that men shouldn’t express emotion.

Although some people have criticised gender reveal parties, other’s believe they should not be taken offensively. A woman named Sara from the UK who suffered a difficult pregnancy said her party only gave her fond memories and was an invaluable way to keep her going during a strenuous time. She does not believe they reinforce outdated stereotypes.

Since the list of detrimental gender reveal parties continues to grow, so does the debate of their existence and inquiries into whether or not governments should create sanctions on them.

Difficult words

Awry (adj): For something to go wrong and/or unexpectedly.

Shrapnel (n): A small piece of metal from a bomb, bullet or explosion.

Garner (v): To gather or collect.

Divulge (v): To make known.

Rig (v): To assemble or adjust.

Emit (v): To release or discharge.

Strenuous (adj): Requiring a great effort or difficulty.

Detrimental (adj): Causing harm.

Sanction (n): Official approval or permission for an action.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Match the Synonym!

1. Awry A. Reveal
2. Shrapnel B. Difficult
3. Garner C. Permission
4. Divulge D. Gather
5. Rig E. Release
6. Emit F. Go wrong.
7. Strenuous G. Harmful
8. Detrimental H. Arrange
9. Sanction I. Piece of metal.

True or False?

1.  A woman died at a birthday party. T / F

2. An explosive went off at the party. T / F

3. Gender reveal parties started in the US in the early 70s. T / F

4. A woman’s blog received a lot of attention after her party. T / F

5. A wildfire caused more than $5 million worth damage. T / F

6. The woman who started gender-reveal parties fully supports people who have them. T / F

7. Karvundis daughter does not conform to traditional gender stereotypes. T / F

8. Some people believe gender reveal parties are not offensive. T / F

9. The woman names Sara did not have any complications during her pregnancy. T / F

10. People have been debating gender reveal parties. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. was / at / A / party / explosive / the / used / homemade

2. popular / Gender / reveal / become / have / parties / a / trend

3. her / She / wrote / on / about / blog / it

4. didn’t / I / live / did / the time / at / in 2019 / because / we

5. not / She / believe / stereotypes / outdated / reinforce / does / they

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Suffered Attention Stereotypes
Jelly Dangerous Create
Outdated Homemade Potential

On Saturday, 26 October 2019, a woman died at a gender reveal party in Iowa, USA. She was fifty-six years old and her name was Pamela Kreimeyer. A (1)_____________ explosive was used at the party that would release smoke to signify the gender of a baby. Blue smoke for a boy and pink smoke for a girl. Things went awry when a piece of shrapnel from the explosive hit Kreimeyer in the head and killed her.

Gender reveal parties have become a popular trend in the US and have recently spread to other countries. The trend originated in 2008 when a woman named Jenna Karvundis baked a cake with pink icing on the inside to show she was having a girl. She wrote about it on her blog which then garnered a lot of (2)_____________ online. The use of cake to reveal a baby’s gender has continued to be the most common way to divulge the sex of a baby. However, people have also taken to more creative and (3)_______________ ways since 2008.

At an Arizona party in 2018, an explosion rigged with coloured powder triggered a 47,000-acre wildfire which burned for a week and caused $8 million worth of damage. Recently, a video went viral online of a Louisiana man feeding his pet alligator a watermelon filled with blue (4)_________ inside to reveal his baby was a boy. This video has since sparked safety concerns as well as concerns about the animal’s welfare. Another party in Australia planned to use a car that would emit blue or pink smoke but disaster struck when the car burst into flames.

Gender reveal parties have not only sparked physical concerns but also concerns over societal gender issues. Since hosting that first gender reveal party in 2008, Karvundis herself has since spoken against them saying on Facebook, “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 (5)______________”. Karvundis has described how her baby girl now prefers wearing short hair and suits which has only strengthened her beliefs on gender.

A mother of a transgender child agrees with Karvundis. She believes these (6)________________ could prevent women from working and studying in traditionally masculine fields such as math and science and could also fuel outdated ideas that men shouldn’t express emotion.

Although some people have criticised gender reveal parties, other’s believe they should not be taken offensively. A woman named Sara from the UK who (7)_____________ a difficult pregnancy said her party only gave her fond memories and was an invaluable way to keep her going during a strenuous time. She does not believe they reinforce (8)______________ stereotypes.

Since the list of detrimental gender reveal parties continues to grow, so does the debate of their existence and inquiries if governments should (9)__________ sanctions on them.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Have you heard about gender reveal parties?
5. Do people have gender reveal parties in your country?
6. Do you think gender reveal parties are good or bad?
7. Are gender stereotypes discussed in your country?
8. Do you think genders are treated differently in your country?
9. Do you think it’s okay to assign colours to certain genders?
10. Do you think gender stereotypes stop people from doing what they want?
11. Do people prefer to have either gender when they have a baby in your country?
12. Are there any laws about gender equality in your country?
13. Is it legal for a person to change their gender in your country?
14. Do children’s toys affect gender stereotypes?
15. Do you think gender roles are changing?
16. Should governments create limits on gender reveal parties because of danger?
17. Do people do dangerous things at parties in your country?
18. Are there any special traditions when someone is having a baby in your country?
19. Have you ever felt treated differently because of your gender?
20.  How would you choose to reveal the gender of your baby?