Do you have an ex who is so gross, so allergic to commitment, and so bad in bed that he should come with a warning label? There’s an app for that. Lulu lets women all over the world do their fellow ladies a solid by establishing a rating system for men. All you have to do is sign in through your Facebook account (no dudes allowed), and start dishing. According to their website, “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.” Women are asked to rate their friends, exes, and even relatives based on criteria such as manners, looks, and ambition, and then assign them hashtags like #NotADick or #GoneByMorning.
Alexandra Chong, Lulu’s founder
Does that sound like sexual harassment to you? According to The Cut, a vocal group of Redditors (#LonelyAngryMysogynists) has engineered a backlash to this app, claiming that it promotes the objectification of men. One Reddit user complains, “Wow. This is straight-up harassment. It invites women to make publish electronic slander about people. I wonder how society would react if I made an app that let men rate women they knew and gossip about how slutty they are.” In addition to not being able to spell, it seems like this commenter can’t read, or at least hasn’t bothered to read any of the countless misogynistic threads on Reddit. As another commenter rightly retorted, “Guys publicly shame women for their breast size, ass size, body type, and appearance all the time. And they do it on public venues, like Reddit, for example. Take a quick browse through /r/pics or /r/video sometime and see how long it takes for you to find a thread that scrutinizes a woman the same way.” A third commenter proceeded to list the numerous sites and apps that came up when she Googled rate my ex-girlfriend, in response to the many commenters who were claiming that there was no male-run equivalent to Lulu. At BUST we’ve covered the horrifying trend of revenge porn—videos and pictures of women in compromising positions being posted online without their consent. But, obviously, that’s nowhere near as disgusting as a woman calling a man out for being noncommittal.
But this Lulu rage isn’t limited to a few disgruntled Redditors. A Total Frat Move post attacked the app, complaining that, “Any of the endless slores who have had the privilege to randomly blow you now have the power to describe with detail the pros and cons of your genitalia… the real world application is nothing more than a way for spiteful ex-hookups to spew menstrual hatred upon those that have wronged them.” These sweet sentiments (just in time for Valentine’s day!) seemed to have permeated the Internet. Even Slate titled their article on Lulu “Rating Men on Lulu Isn’t Empowering, It’s Creepy.” Now I love the Internet as much as any other procrastinating college student, but I’m going to have to challenge it on this one. Lulu isn’t creating gossip or smack talk, it’s just virtualizing and streamlining it. Furthermore, its design is more precious than malicious: the app ensures that women can only offer certain categories of commentary; “good in bed” is allowed, but sexual details and sordid secrets are largely verboten. All in all, this app is pretty tame: it doesn’t have the malicious intent of a revenge porn website, or the non-existent filter of a Reddit thread. So why is the Internet angrier than when Beyonce lip-synched at the inauguration? Probably since Lulu is one of the few virtual forums where women actually have the upper hand.
Images via Itunes, Lulu, and GeekWire