Streaming Media


This feminist research project examines how identity is formed within the cultural practice of quinceañeras in contemporary Nicaragua. This research takes a qualitative approach as 30 interviews were conducted in four regions of Nicaragua: (1) Managua, (2) Puerto Cabeza, (3) Waspam and (4) San Carlos. These interviews were both conducted personally in Nicaragua as well as phone conversations. With the theoretical frameworks of Judith Butler (1990), Michael Foucault (1977), Anzaldúa (1994), Patricia Hill Collins (1986) and Uma Narayan (1998) I sought out to find how identity has been influenced by quinceañeras. I have found that contrary to popular assumptions of Latin@ culture, quinceañeras are individually different. The complexities that were uncovered within the quinceañeras mirrored the same complexities that exist within identities seen through the theoretical framework of performance, performativity, policing and intersectionality. What was found was that individuals’ both consciously and subconsciously perform their gender performance that is established socially, and culturally essentialized. By adhering to these scripts with the help of globalization, these participants have shown that there still exists an internal conflict that has placed these individuals identities in the borderlands, as theorized by Anzaldúa (1994). By this localized research, it has been proven that it is nearly impossible to homogenize cultural practices that continuously change over time.


Dhar, Debotri

Second Advisor

Guillén, Jennifer


Sociology and Anthropology; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Gender and Sexuality | Latina/o Studies | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Quinceañera, quince años, coming of age, rite of passage, gender, cultural practice, Nicaragua, Latin America, Central America, performance, performativity, policing, intersectionality, cultural essentialism, womanhood, girlhood, gender performance, cultural complexity, identity formation

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Ashley Melissa Chavez-White