Question: Does girl bullying involve more social aggression more than the bullying tactics boys use?
Answer: Here's the short answer: during the tween years, it does seem that girls use social aggression (or relational aggression) more than boys do. The full answer, however, is a bit more complicated.
We know for sure that girl bullying involves more social aggression than physical aggression. Boys, on the other hand, tend to show the opposite pattern. We also know that tween girls use certain forms of social aggression more than boys do, such as social exclusion, probably due to different social needs.
Research on sex differences in social aggression has produced some mixed results, however, depending on what type of data was collected. For example, using self-report yields different results than peer report, which is different still than teacher report. Some studies have revealed small or nonexistent sex differences, while others have even found boys to act slightly more socially aggressively than girls.
Sex differences also vary with age. The differences tend to be most obvious during the tween years. Before and after that stage, however, it's more difficult to find sex differences in social aggression. By the adult years, sex differences have basically disappeared. Most researchers agree that this occurs because males become more socially aggressive after the tween years, eventually catching up to girls.
So if you think you're seeing your tween daughter act more socially aggressive than the tween boys around her, you're probably right. But this may be partly a matter of perception and will change as she and her peers get older.
Archer, John, and Coyne, Sarah. An integrative review of indirect, social, and relational aggression. 2005. Personality and Social Psychology Review. 9, 3: 212-230.