A recent gender reveal in Iowa turned tragic when Pamela Kreimeyer was killed by pipe bomb debris, The New York Times reports. Kreimeyer and other family members were standing about 45 yards away from the improvised explosive when it went off. While this is the first time a death has been reported in connection to a gender reveal, it’s not the first time these increasingly over-the-top ceremonies have gone very, very wrong. Minor injuries and fails have become far too common; you may recall the gender-reveal forest fire we reported on in 2018, which required 800 firefighters to contain and cost $8 million in damage.
Of course, all of this begs the question: When is enough enough? When can we put this dangerous — and clearly harmful, in more ways than one — trend of gender-reveal one-upmanship to rest?
Local authorities released a statement explaining how the reveal become deadly: gunpowder was placed in a homemade stand meant to spray colored powder. Instead, tape wrapped around the metal base of the stand created a pipe bomb. The metal stand exploded, creating the flying debris. The family had been experimenting with different explosions since Friday, intending to film it for social media.
“This is a reminder that any time someone mixes these things there is a high potential for serious injury or death. Please do not take these unnecessary risks,” said Sheriff Jason Sandholdt in the statement.
We need a total and complete shutdown of gender reveal parties until we can figure out what’s going on pic.twitter.com/utxv72DbKV
— Jules (@Julian_Epp) October 28, 2019
Recently, the tides seem to be turning against gender reveals (which are actually sex reveals, let us remind you), largely fueled by news coverage of reveals that range from eye-roll-worthy to truly tragic. And this year, the inventor of the tradition, Jenna Karvunidis, admitted to SheKnows that she regrets even coming up with the idea.
“The original inclination to have the ‘gender reveal’ party,” Karvunidis told SheKnows earlier this year, “was to latch on to the only real ‘fact’ I had about the baby I wanted for so long and couldn’t wait to get to know.” She also says she cared so much about the baby’s sex because it “wasn’t 2019,” going on to say that she now knows that focusing on a baby’s sex assigned at birth is limiting. Karvunidis’ own gender reveal also seems charmingly quaint by today’s standards: a simple homemade cake. No exploding, paint guns, or elaborate Instagram shoot.
So, to recap. Gender reveals: based on harmful gender binary, with the potential to be harmful in more immediate ways as well. This is a trend we’d happily agree to leave behind in 2019 once and for all.