Author: Shivani Sharma
Student Of Information Science Engineering, BMS Institute of Technology & Management, Bengaluru
“Twinkle twinkle little star, how we wonder what you are” imagine entering with this quote into a room decorated with blue and pink balloons, curly ribbons; an incredible row of desserts again all in blue and pink colors followed by a bunch of toys, gifts and accessories; people dressed in either blue or pink color attires, some holding nipples in their hands imitating babies and then there is this big banner asking “Boy or Girl ?”. Yes! You are attending a gender reveal party.
Gender reveal party is a celebration held during pregnancy. The primary aim of this party is to embrace the new life entering a couple’s life, by revealing the gender of the baby. It is an auspicious event for not just the couple but also for their loved ones. As all get to welcome the baby and also get an opportunity to get their predictions right about the gender, which is ultimately another game in this party.
A box filled with balloons or confetti-filled balloons or confetti cannons or desserts filled with colored surprise or simply an envelope with a colored card, unleashing the surprise of the moment. Where blue color is for baby boy and pink is for baby girl. This event of seconds sometimes brings immense joy in the party and sometimes a huge disappointment which you can view in YouTube videos as compilations of gender reveal fails.
It is such an important event for a couple and a family that the planning starts from the day of pregnancy reveal. Some keep it personal and memories are made to keep within the family and close ones. Whereas some make it a global deal and make everyone talk about it. For instance, recently, on 9th of September, 2020 a UAE based Syrian influencers (or YouTubers) with over 7 million subscribers on their YouTube channel “The Anasala Family” held their gender reveal on Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Where the couple had the words “It’s a boy” projected on Burj Khalifa. This stunt didn’t cost them much more than $100,000. It cost them very less, right? Of course, it didn’t. But now, you might estimate how much gender reveals mean to the couple.
Have we Indians been part of any such gender reveal party in India? Answer is No! We haven’t. Reason being that prenatal sex discernment is banned in India. Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (Prohibition of Sex Selection) came in India after sex ratio was going down at an alarming rate. When the search begins for the reasons for that, it was found that many couples aborted their baby girl after the sex determination and many murdered their baby girl. Poor infant and the foetus that couldn’t have asked for life at that time.
But why were they doing so? Well for a long time in India girls were considered a liability for the family. Someone who has come to their life with a huge bill of raising, marriage and the most unsatisfactory part of this bill was dowry. In short, they considered girls as a property with high maintenance and no return. Ironically, at the same time, a girl was someone who was considered Lakshmi for the family, someone who brings prosperity, wealth and health in the family. (Well! They are still considered as Lakshmi.) Whereas, a boy according to them was someone who progresses descendant of the family and someone who brings more than spent on him to the home, in the form of his income and dowry after his marriage.
There were instances where men forced their wives to get the prenatal determination of the sex of their baby. And killed the baby inside the mother’s womb if the baby was found to be a girl. And if she wasn't detected, then she was murdered by her father, once born as they were considered an insult on their manhood. And a spine-chilling representation of this mourn in the family has been portrayed in many movies and series. So, the reasons behind the sex determination and female foeticide weren’t just financial states or illiteracy but were male (/family) ego also. Thus, the government had to ban prenatal sex determination and prohibit sex selection.
But sex determination isn’t that worst because if it was then those countries which celebrate the gender of babies must have banned it too. Sex determination helps to set up a financial plan of the family as one can plan what to do and what to not before the baby arrives, according to being a baby girl or baby boy. Imagine getting gifts and arranging your house believing that it’s going to be a baby girl and when the baby arrives you find that it’s a boy. Boom!! all the expenses went in vain. It is also helpful for a middle-class or lower-class family to plan their families. A 2006 survey found that 42 per cent of IVF clinics in the US that offer PGD have provided it for sex selection for non-medical reasons. Nearly half of these clinics perform it only for "family balancing", which is where a couple with two or more children of one sex desire a child of the other, but half do not restrict sex selection to family balancing. That’s why predetermination of gender helps in managing stuffs way before the baby arrives. And another advantage of sex determination is that it helps to determine genetic disorders with sex linkage, for example, X-linked diseases. So, you are prepared in advance for the diseases that your baby might suffer from after his or her birth.
After so many years of the ban on sex determination sex ratio of India have increased much satisfactorily. But still, there are cases of illegal sex determination and forced abortions in India. Somewhere in some remote area, there are still people who consider girls as a liability and treasure of family which one has to keep safe. Thus, still there are female foeticide cases, the murder of innocent souls. And hence, there is still much time in the removal of this ban. So, taking pity on us, we will be deprived of the joy of blue and pink colors in balloons, cakes, confetti and what not. We will be deprived of the adventure and the surprise hidden in games and props of the party. We will be deprived of the celebration of the gender of the new member of our family. We will be deprived of paying crores and the feeling of owning the Burj Khalifa for a few minutes.
Sanya Jain, Dubai Couple Hosts Gender Reveal Event At Burj Khalifa. Video Is Viral, NDTV.COM (September 11, 2020 11:05 am IST) https://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/dubai-couple-hosts-gender-reveal-event-at-burj-khalifa-video-is-viral-2293739#:~:text=UAE%2Dbased%20Syrian%20influencers%20Anas,gone%20viral%20on%20social%20media.
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