Couples throw "reveal parties" to divulge unborn baby's gender
First, an admission: we chose to know -- and share -- our second child's sex in 1985, when "knowing" was still fairly rare. There were a variety of reasons, ranging from fairly rational (our four-year-old daughter was fairly adamant about her preference for a baby sister) to the truly childish (it really annoyed me that our already-arrogant OB-GYN would know something we didn't). What neither my husband nor I believed was that knowing our baby's sex would tell us much about its personality or abilities. I was a tomboy who had truly expected to grow up to be a cowboy; he was a talented pianist with a degree in theater. Moreover, I had already been studying gender and sexuality for nearly a decade, and had a pretty good understanding of the complexities of gender identity. So I don't believe that everyone who throws a reveal party is essentializing their unborn child or longing for a return to the Mad Men era.
But I wonder. When all you know is your child's sex, based on a test that reports it only as either M or F, what do you actually know? Consider:
- some babies are born with ambiguous genitalia, which may or may not agree with the test results
- knowing an individual's sex predicts nearly nothing about them as individuals
- sex is not gender is not sexual orientation
I am pretty sure I would still be inclined to "find out" if I were pregnant today. After all, I was the sneaky kid who ferreted out the hidden Christmas presents and carefully unwrapped (and re-wrapped) them. I'd probably share the news with friends and family. I might even throw a "reveal party", because I LOVE parties. But I would still let my son be a person first and foremost.