Playing aggression: The social construction of the 'sassy girl' in a peer culture play routine

Samara Madrid, University of Wyoming

Copyright © 2013 by Symposium Journals

Abstract

The ethnographic analysis presented here examines a play routine that centered on two four-year-old female children constructing and being 'sassy girls'. Data was gathered over the course of six months in one preschool classroom by acting as a participant observer, videotaping, audiotaping, and conducting formal and informal interviews with the teacher. The analysis consisted of taking a broad contextualized ethnographic view of the children's play themes in the daily life of the classroom, followed by a focused eight-week observation of the reoccurring sassy girl play routine. Patterns and themes that emerged from all data sources were triangulated and interpreted through feminist and peer culture theoretical lenses. Results revealed that the girls used this play to create gendered affiliations, perform 'meanness', explore power, and resist the school culture rules about aggression in the classroom.