It’s a fact of human nature that women are judged by their physical appearances more than men are, and therefore it’s easy for a feeling of competitiveness to arise in this area. When a girl would arrive at the office wearing a tight little outfit that commanded everyone’s attention, there was an unmistakable—though unspoken—feeling that a competition had been initiated. Even among the women who couldn’t care less about engaging in office beauty contests, who even pitied the scantily-clad girl for drawing the wrong type of attention to herself, there was a vague feeling of resentment that she had tried to initiate this “game” in the first place. All of these interactions remained below the surface, but they were very much present.
To describe how it felt to be a woman in that culture, imagine if men walked around displaying their annual incomes on nametags. To allow no-holds-barred competition in an area where men are particularly sensitive to judgment would inevitably poison their relationships with one another. And so it is with women.