This is the Most Sexist App On the Internet, and One in Four College Women Use It
Lulu is a mobile app that allows female users of the social networking service Facebook to make positive and negative evaluations of male users on the basis of their romantic, personal, and sexual appeal. The app allows only female users to access the evaluation system, and evaluations made through the app are attached publicly and anonymously through the app to the accounts of male Facebook users.
[youtube height=”500″ width=”800″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-MZc-zhR8E[/youtube]
Women log in via Facebook, which lets the app verify their gender and gain access to all of the men in their social network in the process. They can then rate any male friend by answering multiple-choice questions about things like their appearance and sense of humor, and by selecting traits from a list of positive and negative hashtags. (Hashtags are pre-written to prevent things from getting too cruel. They're also pink, because this app is for ladies.) Lulu uses an algorithm to give the man a score from one to 10. The algorithm is secret, but we're sure it's highly scientific.
[quote align=”right”]Lulu embodies an insidious kind of sexism made all the more harmful by the fact that it so often goes unnoticed.[/quote]
While men can't read their reviews, they can create accounts to find out how many women have looked at their profiles. Men with accounts can also choose their own hashtags to better represent themselves; for example, a man might want women to know that he's a #DogLover whose turn-ons include #Confident girls who #SmellLikeCookies, and whose turn-offs include #GrannyPanties and #HoBags. These show up in blue (naturally) and don't count towards a man's score.
But before we all run out to slander our exes in the spirit of gender solidarity, we should consider the implications of an app that essentially empowers women by turning them into vindictive gossips. Whereas an app like Hollaback (which lets women across the world report instances of street harassment on the spot) seeks to give women a sense of dignity and control in a situation they typically can't do much about, any control that Lulu grants is illusory. If anything, Lulu actually robs women of agency and sexual autonomy, as hashtags like #CallsOnTime and #F*ckedMeAndChuckedMe suggest that they're constantly at the mercy of a male partner's whims, rather than equal players in a relationship.
[quote align=”left”]I created LuLu because my girl friends and I needed it- Alexandra Chong, Founder[/quote]
Others, like #AlwaysPays, #HotCar, #HandyMan, #OpensDoors, and #LadiesFirst speak to a desire for a #Man'sMan of a long-dead era. In fact, nearly all of the app's hashtag's look like they were torn from a 1950s Cosmo: Women just want #OneOfTheGoodOnes (rare, because men suck), who will deign to do a woman's work (#DoesDishes, #DoesHisOwnLaundry, #PlaysHouse), is in touch with his feminine side (#WillSeeRomComs), and doesn't treat them like shit (#NotADick).
But given that men are often philandering (#SketchyCallLog, #LiarLiarPantsOnFire), immature (#ManChild), sex-crazed (#OneTrackMind), jerks (#TotalF**ckingDickhead), we shouldn't get our hopes up. They also have a lot of #BitchyExes. So much for sisterhood.
It goes without saying that if this were an app for rating women it would have been banned from the App Store. Then again, women are already ranked, dissected, and judged by a set of unattainable standards so often that Beyoncé made a music video about it. But since when is "an eye for an eye" a legitimate justification for anything?
Lulu embodies an insidious kind of sexism made all the more harmful by the fact that it so often goes unnoticed. Empowerment is not achieved through anonymous defamation. Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about Lulu, however, is the fact that it encourages users to think of #RespectsWomen as a major selling point. This suggests that to do so is noteworthy, rather than just expected — because women are, you know, #People.
Download LuLu from Google Playstore
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