Posts Written by Sarah

Wedding and baby showers should be co-ed affairs

This was originally published in the Women’s Issues blog on

Last weekend I attended – pardon, co-hosted – a baby shower to celebrate the upcoming arrival of a dear friend’s first child. With just those details alone, you can probably envision the event with surprising accuracy: the cupcakes, the pastel-wrapped gifts, the punch bowl (non-alcoholic, of course) and the summery, yet modest, dresses.

Just a guess: you likely were picturing the shower guests all being of one particular gender, right?

Baby and wedding showers have a well-established tradition of women-only guest lists. In a time when people rarely get together for formally-scheduled events – much less with snail mail invites, RSVPs and trays of finger foods – showers are some of the rare opportunities to resurrect the social propriety of years past. Like tea parties, for grown ups.

And that’s exactly what these traditional showers feel like – grown-up women playing some kind of unspoken pretend dress-up game. The on-command “oooh”-ing and “aaah”ing at the opening of gifts containing diapers and onesies or blenders and coffee pots. The feigned interest in discussions about baby care and cake batter mixing. The mutually-understood dress code of skirts and cardigans.

The baffling part about it all is that many women don’t particularly enjoy these events, and the traditional showers do not do justice to what the real goal should be: celebrating a couple’s upcoming wedding or the impending birth of a new baby. To the best of my understanding, it ...

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