Dr Belle Tindall shines a light on the gender-reveal parties that reveal a dark attitude towards women and girls


I have just fallen down the most depressing social media rabbit hole. 

Baby gender reveals are a whole thing now, aren’t they? Expectant parents gather their family and friends, set up a camera (because if it’s not on Instagram, did it really happen?) and announce the gender of their baby via a burst of pink confetti or a cloud of blue smoke. Apparently, keeping it to yourself is the party-pooper option now. 

And listen, I’m a big believer in taking the art of celebration incredibly seriously. The more parties the better, I say. Plus, I get it. For the most part, these parents are just excited about the new bun who’s cooking away in the oven, out of sight but never out of mind. And so, they’re desperate to get to know, and celebrate, a little something about them. The fact that these elaborate reveals are happening is not the depressing part – invite me to a gender-reveal party and I’ll be there…provided there’s cake. Obviously. 

No, the depressing part of the videos that I just spent 45 minutes watching (procrastination – 1, Belle – 0) is the scary number of men who couldn’t hide their disappointment at the prospect of having a daughter. 

Are we seriously still in a place where having a baby girl is inferior to having a baby boy?

A burst of pink confetti has these men physically deflating, groaning, face-palming, even crying. I’m not exaggerating. Trust me, I wish I was.

I saw one dad-to-be throw the confetti canon at the poor person holding the camera, another started pulling down the party decorations in a fit of rage, while a third guy dropped an exasperated F-Bomb right in front of his two young daughters. 

That’s the depressing part. The fact that these men are visibly disappointed – angry, even – is pretty scary. Not to mention incredibly sad. 

Are we really still there?

Are we seriously still in a place where having a baby girl is inferior to having a baby boy? Are daughters still valued this lowly; regarded as the consolation prize, mourned as the sons that never were? Of course, this used to be the legal case, the economic case, the political case – and while such official discrimination no longer exists, these videos have got me pondering – is it still the cultural case? Because, trust me, I scrolled through a lot of these videos and never, not once, did I see a parent react this way to a pop of blue confetti.

I know what you may be thinking: “Come on Belle, lighten up. This isn’t sexism, it’s just preference. Put your phone down, stop procrastinating and move on.” 

I hear you. I do. And maybe you’re right. 

This world of ours is stronger because of every woman born into it

It’s just that, I noticed the faces of the mothers-to-be who were left celebrating alone after their partners had stormed off, and I picture the reactions of the baby girls who may one day watch these home videos. I think, too, about those two daughters who heard their dad curse at the prospect of having a third. 

I’m just not convinced that these men can be plunged into such visible dismay because of a light-hearted preference, because they pictured a little ‘mini-me’, because they just ‘get boys’ more than girls. I think it’s deeper than that. And their daughters deserve far better. 

Because it’s not only that these men are disappointed about an aspect of their baby’s identity, it’s also that they’re happy to let that disappointment be known – they’re even happy for it to be filmed. These fathers are OK with the world knowing that they’re frustrated with who their child is. 

Honestly, the mind boggles. 

There’s nothing disappointing about girls

It’s so completely opposite to everything that I know God thinks about and feels toward those baby girls. Those children who are, at the very moment that their dad is angrily pulling down decorations, being fearfully and wonderfully knitted together in their mums’ wombs. What’s the sillier notion, do you think? The idea that we can sum up everything that a child will be with the pop of a confetti canon, or the fact that these totally fantastical assumptions are being met with such disappointment? 

The irony, of course, is that these dismayed fathers wouldn’t exist had it not been for the ‘puffs of pink smoke’ that came before them.

There is nothing remotely secondary about having a daughter; there is nothing about her female identity that warrants disappointment. This world of ours is stronger because of every woman born into it – surely, we’re passed having to say that? 

So, here’s the bottom line: if I’m at your gender-reveal party, and your lovely partner freaks out that the middle of the cake turns out to be pink…I can’t promise that he won’t end up with it on his face. 

I’m joking. Kind of.