To look at this from the much less theoretically interesting but practical point of view… My Perfect Non-Reader is now seven. She has long hair, her favorite color is pink, and she certainly presents to my eyes as a girlie sort of girl. On the other hand, she does like action/quest sorts of books, plays with knights-and-spearmen dolls instead of clothes-and-housekeeping dolls, and has other interests that evidently present as boyish. Her classmates have called her weird because, as she puts it, she is a girl who likes to do boy things instead of girl things. She's putting a lot of work into the performance of girl (including having her hair brushed and braided every morning, which she hates), but it isn't enough—in a classroom of kids that are not sex-segregated in any substantial way.
So. Here's a thing that struck me as very odd about her place in gender/language/performance. After hearing that she was being teased for insufficient gender normativity, I gave her a copy of Harvey Fierstein's The Sissy Duckling. In conversation after she read it, she averred that it was worse to be called weird than sissy, because sissy is something that is only bad for boys, but weird would make anybody feel bad.
I don't think this was just whining (although she does some powerful whining); I think there was a basic conceptual sense that there is a hierarchy of gender-related insult that is unfathomable to me.
And this in a generation that follows transformative change in gender roles.
To tie this back to your question of work or of mode of work… I think perhaps a way to think about it is that in a society that has less rigidly separated gender roles, like second grade, it takes more creativity not only to perform gender but to enforce gender. It's a more evolutionary process, if you will. I don't understand the gender politics of second grade (which is evidently largely different from my own experience) (when I was called weird for other reasons) in part because their gender-stuff culture has evolved rapidly.
Or not. But I think that creativity is involved, and that it's not only involved in the performance side but in judging and enforcing; that was my point, if I had one.