Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Viral tweet shows how baby shower cakes can gender stereotype

Who would describe a baby as a ‘stud muffin’?

Sabrina Barr
Tuesday 20 February 2018 17:52 GMT
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

From a very young age, children are conditioned to adhere to gender stereotypes.

As an example, many boys are often encouraged to pursue an interest in football, whereas girls are enrolled in ballet lessons.

A child’s sex shouldn’t determine what hobbies they decide to partake in, what colours they prefer or their aspirations in life.

However, a person on Twitter has pointed out just how absurd and sexist gender reveal cakes can be, as they lay down gendered stereotypes for babies before they’re even born.

A Twitter user who goes by the name Onson Sweemey has shared a series of photos of eccentric gender reveal cakes that have been presented by expectant parents at their baby showers.

One cake disturbingly reads: “Will it be a cupcake or a stud muffin?”, while another has been embellished with an American football pitch on one half and a ballerina-esque design on the other.

One person’s baby shower has even been decorated with a strange sign that reads: “Pistols or pearls,” with accompanying images of a gun and a crown.

Sweemey’s tweet has been retweeted 43,000 times and liked 137,000 times, with many people commenting with expressions of disbelief and their own examples of odd baby shower cakes.

“I went down the rabbit hole on this earlier today,” one person wrote. “There are a LOT of ‘Guns or Glitter’ and ‘Pistols or Pearls,’ and like… why is this all a thing please someone make it stop.”

Another individual put forward an alternative suggestion, saying: “Still need to open my Etsy store with various gender reveal party accessories that all say ‘Congratulations! It’s a social construct!’”

According to experts, children don’t typically develop a sense of gender identity until they’re at least a few years old.

“Between the ages of three and five years, children develop their gender identity and begin to understand what it means to be male or female,” wrote researchers in an article published in 2011 in journal Dimensions of Early Childhood.

Although there’s no reason why parents shouldn’t feel excited about the prospect of finding out their baby’s sex, that doesn’t necessarily means it’s right to associate their baby with specific stereotypes from the get-go.

When writer Julia Pelly became pregnant, she struggled with the question of whether it was right for her to hold a gender reveal party as a feminist.

“These parties, while sometimes cute, have always grated at my feminist consciousness - why act as if a baby’s genitalia has anything to do with who they’re going to be,” she wrote for Parent Co.

However, when she found out she was pregnant, she found herself questioning her beliefs when on the brink of finding out her baby’s sex.

“Faced with the prospect of finding out by phone, and on my own, whether my baby was a boy or a girl, I suddenly began to understand the power and the pull of the gender reveal party,” she wrote.

“I understood the allure of the suspense and the joy of finding out, with all those you love around you, whether a son or daughter will be coming your way.”

In the end, Pelly concluded that “there simply was no ethical way to hold a sex reveal party,” as she didn’t want her other son to grow up believing that it’s ok to reduce a baby to “a slab of blue frosting or a gathering of pink balloons."

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in