Miriam’s Musings

Why I hate those ‘gender reveal’ parties

I never watched Made in Chelsea – the now defunct E4 reality TV show that came to an abrupt end due to coronavirus restrictions. However, I’m familiar with the conveyor belt of privileged prats whose entire lives, relationships, dramas, binge-drinking, cheating, and manipulative blame-shifting are all laid bare via this car-crash series.

One of those spoiled drama queens is former cast member Ashley James, a party girl who’s famous for, well, being ‘papped’ every time she turns up and leaves the opening of an envelope. Now, normally when I come across a feature tagged with her name (or any of the MIC cast’s names), I move on. However, when a few ‘red tops’ reported that Ashley said she was ‘disappointed’ at her new-born son’s gender, allegedly announcing that “men are trash,” I read on. I mean, why would this woman reportedly make such a hurtful statement?

Well it appears the diva was disappointed by her baby’s gender because she didn’t want to ‘bring another man into the world,’ due to having had ‘such bad experiences with men’ ­– and that’s something I find upsetting for two reasons. Firstly, she’s wrong, men are not ‘trash’, and secondly, by generalising in this manner, Ms. James is stereotyping, pigeon-holing, accusing and harshly judging an entire gender, based solely on her own unfortunate experiences.

Now if this new mother was simply an ordinary-run-of-the-mill individual like you and me, i.e. someone who lives their life out of the spotlight, this remark may not have had much impact. However, as she’s an ‘influencer’ whose website boasts ‘277k Instagram followers, 72k Twitter followers, and 196k+Youtube views,’ from individuals in her age bracket, I’d imagine such statements about men could do more harm than good; and that’s highly unfair to the weaker sex (sorry lads, only joking).

It turns out though that poor Ashley’s not really a ‘man hater’ and was sadly dealing with a condition common to a lot of new mothers – she was experiencing gender disappointment. This is a normal, natural emotion, whereby your heart is set on having a baby boy/girl, but genetics and Mother Nature decides otherwise.

Now for me (as is the case for most parents), having a healthy child was enough, but for some, sadly the tears begin to flow the second that ultrasound scan reveals that the baby’s gender isn’t what they’d hoped and prayed for. This is dreadfully upsetting, both for the new mother and for her baby, because a child needs a parent/parents who are physically and emotionally available to them. And while I totally empathise with Ashley and with any new mam/dad struggling with this heart-breaking situation, it’s my opinion that any parent preoccupied with their own disappointment may find it difficult to meet the many needs of their new-born infant.

Not only is this poor mother/father grieving the loss of the imagined ‘perfect’ child they thought they’d have, they’re also grieving the loss of that child’s specific gender. This is why I hate those ‘gender reveal’ parties! Or as my dad hilariously refers to them… ‘sex parties’.

My eldest daughter (the mother of my beautiful 14-year-old granddaughter), is wonderfully and miraculously in her first trimester, expecting a much longed for second child. The entire family is ecstatic. And despite the fact she’s only ten minutes pregnant, myself and my youngest (her sister) have been stockpiling every single item of ‘gender neutral baby stuff’ we can get our hands on, for the simple reason that nobody cares if this bundle of joy is a boy or a girl – my daughter simply wants a healthy child and a safe delivery. We’re just an ordinary close-knit family (separated by lockdown), now being pulled even closer together by the impending arrival of our precious new crew member whose gender will be revealed the second he/she enters the world!

I’m not being critical or dismissive of Ashley James, nor of anyone experiencing gender disappointment. Their feelings are very personal, very real and very valid. I wish them every bit of joy, happiness and peace possible.


I’m not lovin’ it Justin!

Following a backlash from viewers of the Framing Britney Spears documentary, her former boyfriend Justin Timberlake has issued what’s been called ‘an apology’ for his past behaviour regarding their break-up. In the aftermath, Spears – who was accused of cheating on the pretty boy – was unfairly treated like a promiscuous hussy, with Timberlake being hailed as the harmed hero.

However, instead of defending her back then, or even keeping his mouth shut, Timberlake, in an arrogant, self-serving move, cashed in on the cheating allegations by releasing his hit single ‘Cry me a River’, which featured a Britney lookalike. In short, Justin weaponised his solo career to make his vulnerable ex look like the baddie… and to be honest, if I were Britney, I’d tell him where he could shove his pathetic apology… sideways!

Justin’s remorse does not appear genuine. Rather, it appears to be more of an acknowledgement of how he’d behaved towards Spears. Yes, he says, “I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right”, but these are just words without substance.

Timberlake’s career benefitted from those Britney-bashing years. He sat back while the likes of seasoned broadcaster Diane Sawyer hurled harsh words at the then 21-year-old Spears, probing her, during a ‘sit down’ interview regarding her alleged cheating. Timberlake enjoyed a front row seat to Britney’s downfall; he witnessed the damage and did nothing. He’s had years to speak up, yet it’s only when he’s come under fire for his past actions that he’s realised an apology (or as I call it, an acknowledgement) is necessary in order to try and repair the injury he’s caused.

Well Justin, it’s too late to apologise, and it’s too late to make nice. Why? Because when I read your lengthy and feeble public statement, it became abundantly clear to me that you are in no way genuinely affected by Britney’s pain whatsoever. Diane Sawyer… you also need to realise that you too messed up! Time to get your hands dirty lady – own your mistake and apologise to Britney.


The importance of integrity in sales

I’m sure you’re familiar with the famous Zig Ziglar (motivational speaker), quote: ‘If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you’. Now for me, it’s absolutely essential for any business to hold trust as one of its core values. This brings me to Mr. Alan Kelly from Tommie Kelly Electrical in Roscommon (other electrical supply stores are available too).

Last week, I contacted the store online asking about their range of fridge freezers, explaining my own one had literally died!  Alan happened to answer my query and he phoned me. What followed was an interesting conversation whereby this gentleman, instead of getting money out of me, managed to save me the cost of a new fridge/freezer by offering me advice regarding my ‘broken’ one’s storage location.

By being trustworthy and having integrity, Alan didn’t make any financial gain from my enquiry, because, as it turns out, I didn’t need a new domestic appliance after all. However, what Alan did manage to sell me was his trust, and that’s something you simply cannot buy because it’s priceless.

Cheers Alan… you could have said nothing and made a sale, but instead, by focusing on me as a person and not as a potential sale/customer, you offered me advice and a solution that saved me money. Thank you! In the words of The Terminator… I’ll be back!