Since the invention of smartphones, a variety of different apps have been created to give their users additional conveniences in their everyday lives. While many apps are great, there are some apps that are so unbelievable and seemingly unethical, that it really makes me question the morality of the people that invented them. The app Lulu is one of those in question.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Lulu is an app that allows female users to “review” males, specifically ones they are Facebook friends with. This includes everything from rating a male’s looks to selecting their important qualities, such as whether or not they pay for dinner or what they will be wearing in 10 years. Only females can use Lulu, as the app checks their Facebook account to ensure they are both female and over 17.
I am not just targeting Lulu. Lulu is one of many of this type of app and isn’t even the worst, as it thankfully doesn’t allow for users to make their own comments. Males that find that they don’t want to be presented like an item on Ebay can also contact Lulu to have their particular review removed, though the only way a male can know if they are on Lulu is if a female friend tells him. However, for the purposes of this article, I will be using Lulu as my primary example of why apps such as these are so ridiculous.
While there are some benefits to apps like Lulu, the problem with these kinds of apps is the way they objectify people. Males on Lulu are seen as objects, and users can flip through the different people reviewed and “shop” for the best looking or most wealthy guy. In many ways it violates the privacy of the people reviewed, and the commentary users provide can often be unwanted or even untrue.
Users of Lulu aren’t even getting that much benefit from Lulu, as relationships started through Lulu are often started for the wrong reasons. Girls get their advice from anonymous reviewers, and while some of the qualities listed on Lulu are actually good qualities, many are very superficial and aren’t good reasons to start a relationship. Additionally, many of the attributes males are given on the app are very general and do not give a true indication of the character of the person.
It is also worth noting that many of the reviews on Lulu will contain an obvious bias and can’t really be trusted. The reviews from close friends will obviously be biased and will likely be a little too positive. Then there are, of course, the reviews from ex-girlfriends, many of which are likely very bitter and often shouldn’t be trusted either.
The worst aspect of Lulu is how creepy it is. Males often don’t know they are being reviewed, and the qualities that are available to be selected about them are often very sexual. Why anyone would want to rate the men in their life, specifically their friends, as “#KinkyInTheRightWays” is beyond me. If someone said this to another in person, it would likely be considered sexual harassment.
“This app asks women to publicly sexualize and shame the men in their lives without their consent,” Slate’s Amanda Hess said in an article about the app.
Lulu and similar apps are the equivalent to writing who they found attractive and who they didn’t inside high school bathroom stalls. Such apps as Lulu really don’t have many redeeming qualities. They reinforce offensive stereotypes, violate people’s privacy and treat people like objects.
If in the future your partner asked you why you initially had interest in them, and you replied “because you had a great rating on Lulu!” they probably wouldn’t be very flattered. Lulu and similar apps really should be just left alone. The best relationships will always occur from more natural, personal interactions and not creepy apps.
Nick Ulferts is a junior English education major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to email@example.com.