Love in the Time of iPhones: What Does Lulu Say?

by Rachel Furst

Are you on Lulu?

Launched early in 2013, Lulu is an app that allows women to rate men. The app connects to the user’s Facebook and other social media networks, uploading all males from those sources to Lulu’s database. The profiles can be found on the Lulu dashboard, where women can peruse through images of men rated by other women. The best part is that it is only for girls. Because the app connects through Facebook, anyone registered as a male on the social media site does not have access to the app. Essentially, Lulu is a secret sisterhood-society of sorts, with the intent of looking out for your gal pals by giving them an insider scoop on guys before actually going out there and trying them out yourself.

To create a review, you must first identify your relationship to the guy (while the identity of the rater always remains anonymous, other users will see that a ‘friend,’ ‘hookup,’ ‘crush,’ etc. has rated the guy of interest). Next, you are prompted to answer a series of quirky questions about appearance, humor, manners, sex, first kiss, ambition, and commitment. As the reviewer, you are supposed to select the answers that best describe your guy. Each answer corresponds to a numerical value that is later tallied. But before the score is revealed, you are supposed to select a series of hashtags, first positive (#AmazingCuddles, #SelfMadeMan, #EpicSmile, etc.) and then negative (#HygienicallyChallenged, #SketchyCallLog, #HitItAndQuitIt, etc.) that describe your man. After completing the whole review, your score is revealed: a composite of all the questions combined, and then individual scores for each section of questions – very much like the SAT/ACT if you remember those! At the top of the review is the list of hashtags. Other girls can either agree or disagree with your review, favorite a guy, and write their own reviews.

If the roles were reversed, would you be down?

Lulu, however, has received a lot of backlash as a sort of cyberbullying app. Let’s face it: if there was a version of Lulu for guys out there, us women would be pissed. We would declare it misogynistic, degrading, and hurtful. So what makes it okay for us women to use the app shamelessly?

Truth is, many women have berated the app for the service it provides and have decided to not use it, dismissing it as undignified. As a person who actually was serendipitously recruited to potentially intern for the app (an internship that I actually didn’t see to fruition for various reasons) I was enlightened to the app’s mission and the service they are trying to provide. When speaking to a representative from Lulu, she explained to me that many people misunderstand the true intent behind the app. The rep defended Lulu saying that the mission is twofold: the first being a system for women to illuminate the true character of guys so as to prepare a friend before embarking upon a relationship, and secondly as a way for the “underdog guy” to shine. What did she mean by this? She described him as the guy who is never able to get the girl because of a lack of confidence, and Lulu allows his friends to uprate him to generate interest, something that his shy nature would impede him from doing in real life.

But while this might be the intent of the app, has it been misused? Through personal experience I can tell you that yes, it most definitely has. A very good friend of mine is listed on Lulu. I noticed the horrible review he had been given, and completely disagreeing with what was said, decided to write my own review. Within a few hours of my (praiseworthy) review being posted, someone else gave my friend another terrible review. I couldn’t help but think that this person had a vendetta of sorts against my friend, and began to doubt the validity of the reviews on the app. Maybe the reviews were just a conglomeration of bitter hookups and ex-lovers who just wanted to bash guys because they felt hurt. While I was quick to jump to that conclusion, I couldn’t bank on it because there were guys with great reviews that had been written by hookups, crushes, friends, and others.

So I guess my advice is to proceed with caution. Don’t believe everything you see and read on Lulu, but don’t dismiss everything either. Think of the app as a loose guide to understanding your love interest, but by no means make any real decisions based on it. At the very least, Lulu makes for a fun activity when you’ve got nothing else to do—it’s especially fun to read “Dear Dude” which are questions submitted by other women and answered by men. The one thing that I do ask, ladies, is to please not be petty. If you’re feeling ill will against a guy for breaking up with you or not calling you or whatever the case may be, cool off, reevaluate the situation later to see if you’re justified or not, and only then create a review. After all, you’d want the same treatment if the roles were reversed. Amiright?

Rachel Furst is a junior at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of Lulu and flickr.

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