Conflicting Female Status Hierarchies at Work

I keep noticing that quite a few women seem to have a problem with working together. Just like back in high school, there is a facade of all of them getting along just fine, but then they talk badly about each other behind their back. You can even encounter highly unprofessional behavior like women trying to build “alliances” against a perceived competitor. This is often comical as they do not seem to realize that work is not so much about perceived popularity but primarily about getting things done, at least in field where results are quantifiable.

There is one particular aspect women seem to have a really hard time with, i.e. company status hierarchies not matching their societal status. This means that an older or even an equally old but less attractive woman may try to undermine a peer or subordinate who is far better locking and thus much more competitive on the sexual marketplace. At the peer level, this can lead to the less attractive woman trying to exclude her hotter competition from key information. Amusingly, I also observed that women in leadership positions may indeed be inclined to preferentially hire women, but for some strange reason never women who are clearly better-looking.

It also seems to be the case that women do not get along so well if some of them are in a relationship while others are still single, deliberately or not. Among college-aged women, you can even come across cases of attached women trying their best to prevent their single friends from meeting their boyfriend, due to the perhaps justified fear that they may try to steal him. This also tells you something about how much women trust each other. At work, women also often shoehorn-in their boyfriend in casual conversation, when other women are present. I suspect that sometimes this is done to rub it in the other women’s face that they are single.

The most venom, however, seems to get spit when there is a mismatch in socioeconomic status. For instance, a hot young female entry-level analyst who is dating a very successful man tends to drop a lot of hints about it, if not outright brag about their lifestyle. She will assume that her partner’s status is hers and thus believe that she is well above a female who is officially at the same hierarchy level as her. This can also be quite a source of conflict with a superior. Imagine the worst case where the hot young analyst is married to a doctor but her (female) manager is either single or has a boyfriend who is in a non-managerial position and may even make less than she does, which is of course often a side effect of affirmative action. As you can imagine, women who face such a discrepancy in real-world vs. work status hierarchies tend to not get along very well. It may also negatively affect their productivity, but we are not supposed to notice this.

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