Fact Sheet

A party to reveal your baby's gender?

Some expectant parents are inviting guests to share their reaction to the "boy or girl" news — a trend some commentators call "presumptuous" and "narcissistic"

Though expectant couples traditionally learn the sex of their fetus from a doctor, some are choosing a more festive route — and getting the big news from a cake. The concept of inviting friends and family to share one's reaction — at a "gender reveal party" — first gained popularity after the "Today" show asked Josh and Anna Duggar to cut a white-frosted cake on-air, revealing a pink interior and, thus, the sex of their daughter-to-be. (Josh Duggar is one of the 18 children of "Today" staples Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.) Recently, Associated Press writer Greg Bluestein documented his own gender-party experience, inspiring a new round of interest. Here, a quick guide to the trend:

Why have a gender party?
To celebrate with loved ones, but also to avoid learning such momentous news in a cold, clinical setting. "My wife Sheryl and I never hesitated on whether we wanted to find out the sex of our baby," says Bluestein, "but we also knew we didn't want the news to come at our doctor's office."

How does it work?
Typically, parents have someone at their doctor's office write down the baby's gender and seal the news in an envelope. Vowing not to peek, the parents deliver the envelope to a bakery, which prepares a cake, cupcakes, or other dessert with a color-coded filling (or prize) inside — blue for boys, pink for girls. One blogger invited guests to wear blue or pink shirts to reflect their personal predictions; another pair of hosts even set up a board for people to vote on the gender. Elaborate, color-coded decorations are popular.

How has the blogosphere reacted?
With a mix of enthusiasm and dismay. Some people disdain the idea of learning such private news in such a public setting. "I think presuming that all of my friends will be as excited as I am to learn the sex of my unborn child is a little, well, presumptuous," says sandymaple at Babble. I can see the concept's appeal, says Theresa Walsh Giarusso in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but, personally, I'd prefer to "deal with the emotion [such news might trigger] with my husband and not with an audience." Leo Hickman of the Guardian does not mince words, calling gender parties "self-indulgent and narcissistic" and making an appeal to his fellow Brits: "We still have a chance to repel the advances of such an abomination: let's unite in ignoring this trend."

Sources: LilSugar, ABCNews, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, MamaBuzz, CreateMyEvent, Babble, Guardian

Recommended

The Check-In: New rules for visiting the UK, securing your house while on vacation, and more
A front door.
Feature

The Check-In: New rules for visiting the UK, securing your house while on vacation, and more

The Week contest: Anti-aging quest
Supplements.
Feature

The Week contest: Anti-aging quest

Did Dry January accomplish anything?
Drinking glasses.
Picture of Harold MaassHarold Maass

Did Dry January accomplish anything?

6 amazing homes with domes
House
Feature

6 amazing homes with domes

Most Popular

Yale honors Black girl who had the police called on her for spraying lanternflies
Spotted lanterflies
black girl magic

Yale honors Black girl who had the police called on her for spraying lanternflies

Eye drops recalled after being linked to drug-resistant infections
The bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa under a microscope.
recalls

Eye drops recalled after being linked to drug-resistant infections

McConaughey took movie role due to fortune teller's advice
Matthew McConaughey
how to cast a guy in one day

McConaughey took movie role due to fortune teller's advice