Lulu app creates an unfair bias

by Briana Alford

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In this digital age, the dating world can be complex. If you’re interested in someone, you can stalk Facebook. If you’re about to go on a date with someone, you can check what he or she has posted on Twitter. And of course, if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you can basically see everything they’ve liked on Instagram.

In this technological world, we are automatically giving people the ability to track our every move. While we have the ability to choose what we give off to the world, the Internet also has the ability to perceive what it sees.

Websites such as Yelp, Zagat and Urbanspoon enable people to create and view online recommendations for restaurants. Although these online recommendations are helpful, there is a new type of online suggestion app that is a little more risky.

[quote]With that statement, I give you Lulu.[/quote]

I found out about the app through my best male friend, Sam, who asked me to rate him to raise his overall score. I was curious to see what it was all about and understand why he was so frantic for me to help him out.

For a little historical background, Lulu is an app created by London School of Economics and Politic Science graduate, Alexandra Chong. After a terrible Valentine’s Day date, she was inspired to create an app where she could discuss men that she dated and figure out a way to share details with other women who were potentially interested in the same men, according to the Huffington Post.

After working for a few start-up companies and testing the app at Florida State University, Chong launched the app nationwide in February 2013, according to

The Lulu app has a dashboard similar to Tumblr, where women can view men to rate them. Once I saw one of my exes, I decided to try out the app.

The review starts off with women choosing what type of rater they are. You can choose from ex-boyfriend, hook up, crush and even friend.

You then answer a series of questions based on the man’s humor, manners, appearance, ambition, commitment and of course, intimacy.

At the end of the review you’re able to go through a massive amount of pre-written hashtags to describe his best and worst qualities.

Some of the best qualities, such as, #DudeCanCook and #ChristianGrey are flattering, but the worst category hashtags include #CheaperThanABigMac and #HygenicallyChallenged.

These hashtags can leave burns on a man’s ego that he didn’t even know existed.

After seeing my friend Sam’s profile on the app, I realized why he was so upset. He had one rating, but 1,500 profile views. His review had #NoComment on his best qualities and almost every bad hashtag displayed.

Even though there was only one review, Sam had more than 1,500 women that could judge him and assume something that they saw on the app is true. I knew the “review man” had no similarities to the man and friend that I know offline, but how was he supposed to explain himself to a potential crush?

None of the girls that laughed at his profile when it read #CheaperThanABigMac could have guessed that this was related to his strive to save money because his parents have to support his University of California education, as well as those of his brothers and sisters.

And with #MommasBoy in the bad quality section, most women would assume him to be a man-child when the truth is he loves and is devoted to becoming the best political science major so he can get a international relations job to help his mother’s family in Afghanistan.

After viewing more Lulu profiles, I bumped into more guys that I knew or heard about and saw that many of their reviews were indifferent to who they were off screen.

I understand the vision Chong was trying to create–she was trying to help other women stay away from the “bad guys.” But after reviewing it, I realized the app is a double standard and sexist.

For years, women have been fighting to eliminate clubs or societies that only allow male members. Now, Lulu has female-only membership and members have to join through Facebook to confirm gender.

If there was a website equivalent to Lulu but for men only, it would have many feminist groups in uproar. Most women would declare that all men care about is how women are in bed and their physical appearance.

Even after seeing some of the reviews, the app reminded me of Yelp reviews that have a cynical tone. Like a business, if a patron had bad service at that particular time, the business (or person) was terrible all together.

I understand the comedic mood the app is supposed to have, but hashtags such as #WorkInProgress and #DeathBreath can be offensive and demeaning.

[quote]Our society encourages men to be unaffected by crude remarks but these hashtags can be wounding to men who don’t get to speak for themselves. It could become an unfair and biased social media community.  [/quote]

If Lulu is to ever get to the point of popularity such as Instagram or Facebook, men everywhere could deal with faulty reputations.

Although First Amendment rights to free speech protect women, they could still be accused of defamation and confronted with possible lawsuits.

For the dating world, Lulu is not the worst option. While one can see what a person is all about, knowing exclusive details about him is invasive. We can have pre-conceived notions about someone before we hear his history. And finally, we can only see one side of the testimony between the rater and ratee.

The Internet can definitely be your friend. You can Google the answers on your study guide and you can keep tabs of what’s going on with your favorite celebrity. But when it comes to deciding who your next potential other half could be, I would stick to the basics and figure it out for yourself without help from the World Wide Web.

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