Video game sounds filled a Huntsman Hall auditorium on Election Day as students gathered for a conversation on gender in the election.
The feminist video game featured women fighting against sexist male co-workers in the office, featuring offenders like the “Manterrupter’” — a male co-worker who speaks over his female co-workers —and the “Mansplainer” — the co-worker who repeats what his female co-worker said.
Jessica Bennet, an award-winning columnist for The New York Times and author of Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace, spoke with Wharton professor Cade Massey on the role of gender in the 2016 election.
Despite the playful manner in which Bennet tackles sexist male co–workers, at the heart of her message is a call to recognize and combat sexism in the workplace.
She said the labels like "mansplainer" and "manterrupter" serve an important linguistic purpose.
"They put a name on behaviors that have been really hard to name before," she said. "It also makes it easier to recognize the behavior and recognize if you’re doing it."
The book is exactly what it sounds like: a guide on how to combat sexism for women in the workplace. Tactics she recommends in combating sexism include resting bitch face, camaraderie between female coworkers and "verbal chicken," which she said means talking until your male coworkers stop talking.
The inspiration behind this book came from her own "feminist fight club," which she said she started with a few friends years ago in order to vent about sexism they faced in the workplace.
Bennett expressed her desire for more research on the way class, race and sexism all connect to foster a different experience for women of color. The topic of intersectionality in feminism prompted questions about race and the significance of the first female president being a white woman who is often seen as representing all women.
An audience member expressed her hesitance in accepting the optimism Bennett projects in her book on equality for all women.
Symbolically, however, Bennett believes that electing Hillary Clinton as the first female president is a really big deal.
“I think it will be tricky for her because she will be representing all women and not herself,’ she said, adding, “I think it will be good for women."
Bennett believes that this campaign has embodied much of what she includes in her book. She noted that in a debate back in September, Clinton interrupted Trump seventeen times, while he interrupted her fifty-one times.
“Everything she does is so critiqued," she said. "It’s sad that [Clinton] is competing against someone with qualifications way below hers, and people are still questioning if she is qualified."