"When women are depressed they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It’s a whole different way of thinking."
~ Elayne Boosler
What I've observed ties in with what Heim & Murphy describe: women play in groups, but if one woman becomes “pushy" or “uppity," she is excluded from group activities, or she is pulled back down with the rest. If one girl advances, she becomes the target of attacks to put her back into her place. It’s an unfortunate sociological activity common to groups of women called the “dead-even rule."
Before you dismiss the “dead-even rule" look at our current society; doesn’t it seem that society is harder on women who dare to rise above? We like women of power to sport egg on their face, from Oprah’s weight issues to Martha’s stock incarceration. We find entertainment value in it. For instance, the obnoxious Real Housewives series (which I abhor. Why do we allow these ladies into our homes?).
But these psycho Bravo ladies and the dead-even rule fail to explain the stained interaction of female physicians and the predominantly female nurses―none if it explains why women wish to see each other fail.
Let’s look at another angle—one of admiration and support. Specifically, a 2004 article in Academic Medicine, where researchers interviewed 28 female nurses and 21 female residents in various specialties in a large Midwest teaching hospital. The doctors and nurses were interviewed separately in groups by specialty.