Performing Childlore and Gender Roles in a Public School in Metro Manila

Gerry M. Lanuza


The present study, based on my participant observation among selected elementary school students in a public school in Manila, seeks to investigate the reproduction of gender roles in the performance of play by children. Observing the performance of popular childlore and analyzing the lyrics, it employs Huizinga’s phenomenological approach to play, Vygotsky’s socio-cultural approach to child development, and poststructuralist feminist theory of identity, in analyzing rhymes and actions involved in child’s play. The study attempts to explicate how children are socialized into the adult’s gendered universe of meanings, while at the same time emphasizing the contradictory nature of childlore. That is, while childlore, especially chant games, initiates children into the gendered world of adults, it also offers children liminal spaces where children can suspend rigid gender roles.


Childlore, gender, play, feminism, performance

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