A wild new gender reveal video is making the rounds online this week, and it might be the most unique one yet!
Bridgette and Jonathan Joseph found out they would be welcoming a baby boy with help from a hippo named Tank. At the Capital of Texas Zoo in Bastrop County, TX, Tank chomped down on a watermelon filled with blue jello. The colorful ooze signaled the male gender of the Josephs’ newest addition, and father-to-be Joseph fist-pumped the air and thanked God they were going to have a boy.
Filmmaker Ana Bretón shared footage on Twitter with the caption, “I did it. I found the worst gender reveal.” And many on the internet agreed.
Extreme Gender Reveals
For those who don’t know, a gender reveal party is a celebration where parents, family, and friends learn the sex of the unborn baby. These events typically happen near the middle of the pregnancy and often employ color tropes of pink for girls and blue for boys — often with the color hidden inside something, like a cake.
Since the practice was popularized by expecting mom Jenna Karvunidis in 2008, gender reveals have become more elaborate and widespread. While Karvundis found out about her daughter with pink cake frosting, other gender reveals have taken it to extremes.
Before Tank the hippo broke the news to the Joseph family, there were already dozens of animal-assisted reveals online. Some of these are relatively tame — getting the family dog involved is common, for example. Some of them, however, go much further, including multiple reveals involving alligators.
While involving large, aggressive animals is risky enough, some couples have found a way to bring firearms into the mix. Firing bullets into explosive targets filled with colored chalk has become a popular reveal with gun lovers. While undoubtedly memorable, these reveals don’t always end well. One in Arizona produced a 47,000-acre wildfire after the father shot a target full of highly explosive tannerite. The event caused more than $8 million in damages, and the father was charged with a misdemeanor violation of US Forest Service regulations.
Re-examining the Trend
Karvundis seems to agree that some people take gender reveals a little too far. In a Facebook post from this past July, Karvundis said, “I’ve felt a lot of mixed feelings about my random contribution to the culture. It just exploded into crazy after that. Literally — guns firing, forest fires, more emphasis on gender than has ever been necessary for a baby.”
Besides gender reveals becoming too extreme and dangerous, Karvundis feels that the trend has led parents to focus too much on gender. “Who cares what gender the baby is?” she continued on Facebook. “I did at the time because we didn’t live in 2019 and didn’t know what we know now — that assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of their potential and talents that have nothing to do with what’s between their legs.”
Still, even with a backlash growing against gender reveals, plenty of people still think they’re cute and fun. Even Bretón ended up walking back her criticism of the Josephs. In a follow-up tweet, Bretón wrote, “While I’m not a fan of gender reveals, it was not my intention to bring darkness to their special day.”
To be clear, Capital of Texas Zoo officials knew the gender reveal was happening and helped facilitate it. Likewise, the zoo director came forward saying that feeding gelatin to zoo animals is not uncommon or harmful. In a statement, Bridgitte Joseph talked about the couple’s fertility journey while assuring worried animal lovers that Tank, the gender reveal hippo, was fed a watermelon filled with safe, organic jello, and he “was more than happy to have the treat.”
While the online community may not fully approve of the Josephs’ reveal method, to them it was still “one of the happiest days of [their] lives.”