Creating a Sense of "Opposite Sides"
It's like girls and boys are on different sides. --Heather, age eleven, discussing her experiences at school
When I first began to wander the Oceanside School playground, with gender on my mind, I came upon a noisy group at the edge of a grassy playing field. A tall, brown-haired girl leaned toward two shorter boys and yelled, "You creeps! You creeps!" Then she laughingly pretended to hide behind a much shorter girl at her side. As one of the boys moved toward them, he asked, "What did you call me?" "Creep!" the tall girl, Lenore, repeated emphatically as she turned and slowly began to run. The boy. Ronnie, loped after her for about fifteen feet and grabbed her ponytail, while she shrieked. Lenore then spun around, shook loose, and reversed the direction of the chase, setting out after Ronnie. In the meantime, Sherry chased after Brad with her arms extended. As they ran, Brad called, "Help, a girl's chasin' me!" When Sherry approached him, she swung her right leg into the air and made an exaggerated karate kick. Then they reversed directions, and Brad started running after Sherry.
I could tell from the laughter and stylized motions that this was a form of play, and I immediately recognized the genre from my own