Opinion: Lulu App Proves to Be Both Sexist and Hypocritical - App Week


By Dane Feldman

Alexandra Chong, a co-founder of Lulu. Photo courtesy of Siim Teller.

At this point, you may or may not have already heard about Lulu, an application designed to aide women in privately rating and seeking information about men they have dated. What you may not know, however, is just how controversial this app has become.

Since its launch, Lulu has drawn criticism from both men and women and has been considered somewhat destructive and even wildly sexist. The Lulu site boasts that it is the “first database of men, built by women, for women,” but The Vagenda, a women’s blog, notes that this elicits some potent memories of Paul Ryan’s “binders of women” comment.

With age-old sexism playing a role here, the implication is women can get away with the likes of this far more often than men now can.

If this is true, shouldn’t women who fought for suffrage be largely against an app like Lulu? Well, actually, this is largely what The Vagenda is addressing. Creating an app “for women” in this sense is suggesting that men can and should do the same, but how would women feel if men were publicly submitting information about them to an app that allows only other men to view it?

How many women would be comfortable with men knowing whether or not they are “#KinkyInTheRightWays” or if they shave below the navel? This is fairly chauvinistic of Alexandra Chong, Alison Schwartz, and the other women who are behind Lulu, which frankly is extremely hypocritical and counterproductive.

Their homepage claims that Lulu is not a place to trash talk, which is hypocritical in itself because women can choose “#TotalF**kingD**khead” and “ObsessedWithHisMom” when critiquing. Although men cannot see who rated them or what their reviews say, they are eligible to receive advice about the “mysterious world of women.” This suggests that all women are the same and that any statement made about the “world of women” can be applied to all, or at least most, women.

What a bold statement to make!

Isn’t this exactly what women have been fighting against for so many centuries? Not only is Lulu suggesting that all women are the same, but it also suggests that all men are the same by featuring an advice column called “Dear Dude.”

The face of Dear Dude is a hunky, blonde shirtless male sporting jeans, a set of washboard abs, and a tough guy attitude. In the one Dear Dude post, a woman asks for advice regarding her boyfriend who wants her to lose weight.

He responds to a woman’s questions with violence, saying that he would like to punch her boyfriend in the stomach “until he cried like a baby and probably threw up” because he should love her for who she is. If Dear Dude is supposed to be the face of the mysterious world of men, it demonstrates an extremely macho and remedial view of today’s masculinity.

Meanwhile, Chong says that men who receive negative feedback should feel encouraged to change their behavior. Wait, so men should change for women, but men who want women to change are “f**king trashbags?” Why the double standard?

Schwartz says Lulu is “about female empowerment and collective wisdom,” but mostly this has proven rather counteractive.