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Once again a cultural fad has come and gone and I have missed it altogether. In the ’90s it was the Macarena dance craze, which caught me flat-footed at a party in Italy where every other American tourist knew the steps but me. And I find that anyone my age can reminisce about their Sony Walkmans but yours truly.
This time it’s the “gender reveal party.” Even as I was invited to one last month, the inviter was slightly defensive about asking me to a phenomenon that’s “not so popular anymore,” she said, “because of, you know, all the gender fluid stuff going on.” In fact, the affair was later renamed, clunkily enough, a “biological sex reveal party.”
The parents are expecting a baby in six months but expecting to know the baby’s gender in weeks, a latter-day prerogative of the tech age. As I understand it, a trusted friend will extract from the doc the gender of the utero occupant, bring the top secret info to a baker, and on the appointed day deliver a fondant-covered cake that Mom and Dad will slice into, hand over hand, to learn, along with their excited guests, a pink or blue verdict.
Because the biggest terror in our times is to be declared not “woke,” gender reveal parties are dead as a doornail. Oh, they’ll lumber along for a while more till the faithful all get the memo, but honestly, what were the originators thinking a decade ago! A gathering to announce whether your newborn is a boy or a girl? Who are you to make that call? What is anatomy to make that call? Consult the child himself—around age 4 is good.
What a tangled web we weave when we make our aim in life to be modern rather than to think for ourselves.
What a tangled web we weave when we make our aim in life to be modern rather than to think for ourselves, when what passes for thinking is not so much logical processing as mental tics. We become like rats on a sinking ship, listing from stem to stern with every new dictate of wokeness to save ourselves from the ultimate disaster, to wit, the social opprobrium of those we look to for woke cred.
There was a time—20 minutes ago—when a gender reveal party would have been so au courant, so proudly not-your-grandmother’s baby shower. It’s innovative, it’s fun, a break from hackneyed tradition. There is no lack of creative ways to do it: pink or blue innards of a cake; guns or glitter; pistols or pearls; rifles or ruffles; or even taking a rifle to a target ball filled with edible-grade powder in either pink or blue, as the occasion dictates.
As I think of it, there’s enough fodder in that innocent array of choices to stoke the ire of the most self-restrained social justice warrior: the hateful gender color convention perpetuators; the benighted notion of binary reality; the tacit tip of the hat to gun ownership. How did the ill-fated gender reveal fashion not get stillborn right out of the gate?
Being ever on the cultural caboose, I had to bone up quickly. Sure enough, on the selfsame day that I first learned of the gender reveal party I also learned why woke folk find it necessary to drive a stake through its heart. Opinion page after opinion page declared the trend “weapons-grade reinforcement of oppressive gender norms … and blunt-force refusal of the idea that sex assigned at birth does not necessarily equate with gender identity” (Slate).
Sequel to the story: When the cake was cut it was a boy! The room erupted in a cheer. There was no evidence in all the jubilation that anyone was reserved or tentative about the pronouncement, or even entertained the notion that it wasn’t settled science.
I offered my own congratulations on the bringing of a male child into the world. And congratulations were accepted, unqualified. It was a win against the woke pack, who wake up every morning in the fear that someone somewhere might be having fun enjoying life in all its unmuddled simplicity and truth. It was a win for mankind’s innate intuition, dint of the imageness of God stamped on every soul.
Rage, rage against the dimming of the light.