Yelping Your Hookup? Shut it Down. Why You Should Nix Lulu
Lulu is a new app by tech entrepreneur Alexandra Chong that, in the words of HuffPo, “Lets Women Review Men Like Restaurants.” Unfortunately, there’s nothing hyperbolic about that headline.
BuzzFeed reports Chong came up with the idea during brunch with her girlfriends, while telling them about a guy she had recently gone out with who wasn’t for her, but had enough qualities she liked to recommend him to someone else. Chong then asked her friends (Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda) if there were any takers. They all said, “Nah,” to which she declared, “I must take this to the Internet!” (It was at this point that her friends cut off her unlimited mimosas).
If you hadn’t figured it out, those last three sentences were my completely nonfactual reinterpretation of events.
Lulu allows women to create accounts to review (male) dates and hookups for other subscribers to peruse. To avoid the app becoming a revenge forum, there’s no freeform essay section—guys are rated through a drop down menu of hashtags and multiple choice questions. Lulu has 75,000 downloads and just received $2.5 million in funding.
I have to hand it to Chong, I’ve never come up with a $2.5 million idea over brunch (I am too busy battling my hangover with home fries). That being said, I think it’s terrible—for both men and women. Here’s why:
1. Lack of consent. Lulu lets a woman create a profile for any guy who is her friend on Facebook, thereby equating “friending” with consent to be reviewed. The app further assumes that when a man agrees to a date or hook up, he agrees to have details of the encounter posted to the web. All’s fair in love and war, eh? When men’s assumptions of consent have inflicted pain on so many women, why would a woman’s app and the ladies who use it validate that practice by fighting fire with fire?
2. Violation of privacy. Jezebel says Lulu isn’t a big deal because “almost everyone talks about their hookups openly already.” Yes. To their girlfriends. Not to a guy’s future date, coworker, sister, his mom, your mom, my mom, you get it…
3. #Ladies be shoppin’. BuzzFeed’s Katie Heaney has already pointed out that many of Lulu’s descriptors (#HotCar #CoolThreads #AlwaysPays) are “retro.” Not in the cute way, but the “sexstereotypic” way. Wow, the latest technology paired with regressive gender roles—where have we heard that before?
4. Just what sex needs, more anxiety! I’m the only one who’s going to admit she doesn’t bang like a porn star? Sex definitely has a learning curve, and if I knew people were going to rate my practice, I probably wouldn’t practice at all. I feel bad for the less experienced guys getting lumped in with the just plain lazy/apathetic guys.
5. Bottom line: It’s objectifying. We all know this would be completely insulting if the roles were reversed (pray jebus that does not happen). Chong told BuzzFeed: “Should a guy not do well in a particular category, then they can change their behavior.” Doesn’t sound like telling a lady to cater to her man at all…
Maybe Lulu just needs to reworked so it follows the golden rule, you know, that principal that every society everywhere agrees on. You should only be able to rate if you yourself are OK with being rated. You should only be able to rate people who buy the app. Both sexes should be included, and it shouldn’t be so heteronormative.
I guess there’s only so many times you can reinvent eHarmony.