Someone once Tweeted, “Yelp.com: explore where local illiterates have recently stopped eating.”
If you are one of the many people who find Yelp to be a source of valuable information (not in the social anthropology sense), however, you may be receptive to this new Lulu app, which is to men as Yelp is to restaurants. All you need is a Facebook profile confirming your femaleness and you can go on Lulu and review exes, crushes, hook-ups, current loves, friends and relatives. Like meat, but with abs.
According to founder Alexandra Chong, she “created Lulu because my girlfriends and I needed it.” But also because people will download and use such a service, seeing as how any technology that promotes and cultivates human vileness tends to be very popular.
Here is a description of Lulu for you, by Lulu:
Lulu is the smart girls’ app for private recommendations and reviews on guys.
Lulu takes its cues from the real world: we meet a guy and think he’s cute, but want to know if he’s the charmer he appears or really a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So we ask our girlfriends, and look him up on Facebook and Google. It’s a private, fun ritual we all indulge in, often complicated by the fact that we don’t want the guy to know we’re checking out his creds.
Enter Lulu—the first database of men, built by women, for women. Through Lulu, you can read and write reviews of guys, which are pulled from a variety of tools, questionnaires, and fun features. The reviews show numerical scores across a number of categories, putting the emphasis on collective wisdom.
First of all, we can’t believe that in 2013, people could use that “for x by x” construction and take themselves remotely seriously. Also, even just the sentence “you can read and write reviews of guys” sounds like it comes from some nightmarish dystopian wasteland, in a “he has thick, muscular thighs, so when the grain silos are destroyed by marauding bandits we will feast” kind of way.
For what it’s worth, they do claim some social responsibility:
The vast majority of reviews are positive—ex-girlfriends, sisters, and friends helping other girls discover the guys they believe are keepers. To be clear, Lulu isn’t a place to trash-talk: Lulu’s review system makes it impossible for a vindictive ex to reveal the size of a guy’s itty bitty friend or claim he gave the Herp to 1,000 women.
That’s awful nice of them to include but… they can’t possibly vet every review for lies or hidden agendas. The most they can do is remove the explicitly cruel. Proclaiming that someone gave you “the Herp,” however, isn’t more slanderous than the numberless other awful things users could make up.
Buzzfeed‘s Katie Heaney actually had the tenacity to open up an account, and discovered how the men are assigned a numerical score after users complete a questionnaire. Get ready:
The quizzing system Lulu uses to review guys is decidedly Cosmopolitan, big “C”: you’ll be asked about his looks, his sense of humor, his predilection toward impressing a girl with flowers, his career prospects, and his ability to commit. (The exact quiz questions vary, but they’re generally around these themes.) From a user’s answers, Lulu will convert a guy’s credentials into numerical scores, 1–10.
After the multiple-choice portion, users can select a number of hashtagged “best” and “worst” things about the guy in question — among “bests” are #BelievesInLove, #AlwaysPays, #Man’sMan, #SweetToMom, #RespectsWomen, and, in damning with faint praise, #NotADick. (Worst qualities include #NoGoals, #LoserFriends, #NoCar, #NapoleonComplex, #CheaperThanABigMac, and #Boring.)
Feel like we could take any of those hastags and spend a few minutes parsing how they are all uniquely awful, whether in terms of being subjective nonsense (#BelievesInLove?! Elsewhere, #GrillMaster, #MomOnSpeedDial) or in reinforcing completely horrible stereotypes… about both genders (#AlwaysPays, #Man’sMan, #NapoleonComplex).
But there are obviously bigger and grosser aspects than the stupid hashtags. Namely, this whole thing is really objectifying. People aren’t movies. Or restaurants. They shouldn’t be reviewed and then ranked, publicly, according to their score. That’s what Maxim does.
It’s also impressive how poorly Lulu manages to reflect on both genders. Not every woman internet stalks dudes and then gabs with her “girlfriends” about it over lemon drops or half-caff beverages or fat free stuff because life isn’t the first act of a fucking romcom. Moreover still, not everybody’s straight (though Lulu is only concerned with them). Things just harken back to a simpler time with the Lulu app, a time when men were men (with lots of money and cars and love-believing!) and women were kind of sad and desperate with no real personality to speak of. Per the brand’s press release: Lulu aims “to create a discreet, private space for girls to talk about the most important issues in their lives: their relationships.” The worst.
Though we’re certainly more used to seeing stuff like this with women as the target, we’d like to emphasize this sucks when it’s done to anyone. Regardless of gender, we’re not in favor of anything that offers a space for people to say mean things about other people* under the guise of helping… though the glossy, airheaded faux female empowerment makes it even harder to swallow.
(Lulu via Buzzfeed Shift)
*Unless they’re, like, famous and on red carpets or whatever.