Lulu: an app for girls, by girls




These are some of the hashtags used to describe men on Lulu.

Lulu is a new “girls only” app that connects with Facebook to allow girls to rate, share and comment on men. The app uses the Facebook’s gender information to grant or deny access to the application, which allows girls to rate, “favorite,” or comment on any man with a Facebook profile. It’s making some men uneasy.

“It is kind of disturbing knowing that my profile and information can just be displayed through this app without me knowing about it,” said Dennis Vorreyer, a junior public relations major at Belmont University. “It shows how powerful social media has become.”

Neither Vorreyer, nor anybody else, will ever know who exactly is accessing their info. As the app emphasizes again and again, everything is completely anonymous, and it will not post to Facebook.

In order to rate a man, a female user must first select their relationship to him: crush, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, friend, etc. The men are then rated in pre-selected categories, such as appearance, sense of humor, manners, ambition, and commitment. Each category asks a multiple choice question in order to assign the man a score.

The question “in ten years he will be drinking…,” for example, is used to assess his ambition. The rater can choose from the following tiered answers: draft beer, well drinks, craft microbrews, the trendiest vodkas or Dom Perignon bottle service. For some, the ridiculousness of it is appealing.

“It keeps me entertained for days,” said Hillary Unis, a senior entrepreneurship major, with a hint of embarrassment. “It is kind of degrading when you think about it, rating people—but it’s mindless entertainment.”

The process certainly isn’t empowering.

Users assign predetermined hashtags to the profile of each man. The list of hashtags available for use is predetermined, lengthy and baffling. Examples include #GrillMaster, #QuestionableSearchHistory and  #GoneByMorning.

When looking for a man, women can narrow their search by flipping through a number of convenient categories: hot guys, guys near you, your guy friends, sexual panthers, great kissers, smart guys, loyal guys and wild cards.

Each guy’s thumbnail is displayed with his picture and overall average score. By clicking onto his profile, a more extensive stat card shows how many girls have viewed, reviewed and “favorited” him. Some girls are objecting the objectification.

“I downloaded it because I heard about it from a friend,” said Kate Tully, a senior English major at Belmont University. “I would never use it though, because I think it’s degrading and I would be offended if boys did that to us.”

Though the site is proudly girls only, there is a single guy on the site: The Dude.

Women can solicit his advice through the Dear Dude column. He provides his insightful answers to questions like “on a first date, should I pretend that I have not Googled you, or just come clean,” and “how far should I go with him on dates 1-4?  Just lay it out for me because I never know!”

Naturally, men other than The Dude have attempted to access the app.

“Actually, every three people that register to Lulu, we have at least one boy trying to get in,” said Alexandra Chong, Lulu’s creator, in an interview with The Stanford Daily.

In response, Lulu Dude has been created.

Lulu Dude allows men to see what women are saying about them—positive or negative. Through their side, men can prompt female users to review them, and attempt to increase their score. They are also awarded badges for hitting certain benchmarks.

Through Lulu Dude, men are also able to remove their profile altogether. Once this is done, they will no longer appear on Lulu. Vorreyer is certain pleased to hear so.

“I think that having the ability to remove your profile from this app is a good thing,”
said Vorreyer. “I worry about how many people actually know that that is an option, or even know that such an app exists.”

It seems that people are finding out fast.

In the first week of its release in early February, the app topped 100,000 downloads. Hundreds of thousands of reviews have since been written. What started out as an experiment at the University of Florida has erupted into a national phenomenon.