According to its website, Lulu is the "first-ever app for girls" and "a private network for girls to share insights on love and life." My understanding of Lulu is that it is an app designed exclusively for heterosexual females to select pre-written, less-than-insightful hashtags and apply them exclusively to males, presumably also heterosexual, whom the female is either friends with or related to, or wants/has tried to bang, or has banged. [I'm writing like an immature moron on purpose. You'll see.]
The question thus becomes: if Lulu isn't exactly the new face of "grrrl power" what is it? And what does it mean for all of us?
Up front: I think this app is ridiculous. Shallow, misrepresentative of both genders, potentially hurtful, divisive, invasive, and entirely inevitable. When first introduced to this app, maybe a year ago, I thought it was a pretty good idea. It still is a good idea, as a matter of fact, but Lulu itself is a poor execution of concept. That every individual will someday have a Yelp rating is inevitable and, if Lulu is any indication, becoming a reality sooner than we may have expected.
Consider: Social Networking's birth of "The Selfie" transformed Social "Networking" into Social "Media" and made every person the star of their own reality show. Now: Google Glass is one step away from placing a Social Media filter between us and everything/everyone we see in our day-to-day existence. The full scope of this is impossible to realize at present but certain conclusions draw themselves. Obviously there exists the type of person who can't wait to get home and Facebook/Twitter/Instagram stalk the potential love interest they just met, yeah? Well, soon they won't have to wait to get home.
If Lulu is the platform with which we make the transition into such a world... I can't even finish that sentence. It's unthinkable. Let's back up to something with which we're already familiar, Yelp. Yelp isn't perfect but one thing it has going for it is people are writing their own reviews, in their own voice, telling us maybe more about themselves than they realize. For instance, go look up your favorite restaurant on Yelp and read the negative reviews. How many are imbued with disgusting levels of entitlement? Do you get the sense that the people writing many of these rants are generally dissatisfied with their own lives and projecting that out into the world? Maybe this isn't the person you want to be stuck talking to at the office New Year's Eve party? Lulu is missing that element by which we can intuit the personality of our reviewers, removing each woman's individual voice and replacing it with that of a thirteen year-old girl who has the vocabulary, sexual experience, and maturity of the author of 50 Shades of Grey. ["His pointer finger circled my puckered love cave"? Really, lady? Is that what happened?]
Right now you might be wondering how I know so much about Lulu and am able to post these screenshots of my reviews, since dudes aren't supposed to be able to see behind the curtain. [I'll address the wrongheadedness of that later.] The answer is simple: I have a spy. *GASP*
A traitor to her gender!
Well... Not really. I'm not the only one who thinks Lulu is shameful. Personally, since I am a man in a happy relationship, Lulu doesn't affect my day-to-day life as an individual in society. But just because I'm not a terrorist doesn't mean I'm cool with the NSA recording all of my personal communications, as it's that principle of allowance which sets the precedent for more invasive things to follow. [If you happened to hear something unfamiliar while reading that last sentence it was probably the sound of this blog being red-flagged on to a watch list.] But if I were a woman, Lulu would irk me to no end. Lulu reduces a woman's full range of expressing herself down to pithy "hashtag" speak, turning every female into the kind of person who says "LOL," out loud, with their mouth, in a conversation, with a real-live person. It's horrible and inaccurate to my daily experience of conversation with women.
I refuse to believe that this is the way women older than fourteen talk to each other in private. I don't have a clue what half of these hashtags are supposed to mean (and I guess I'm not supposed to even be seeing them) but, from what I can surmise, the priorities of this theoretical Lulu Woman are disappointing, disturbing, and, sometimes, downright weird. I don't grow my own vegetables and if that's some kind of euphemism then it's beyond me. "#Giving..." is a pretty harmless example of the double-entendre many of Lulu's hashtags employ. A more offensive example seen in a different review: #BigFeet. One imagines that the opposite of that hashtag also exists, which goes beyond casual invasion of privacy into the territory of cruelty and sexual harassment. This isn't constructive, at all. This isn't helping anyone's love life. Nobody is being done a service here. [This article attempts to avoid leaning heavily upon the obvious "this is sexist" argument against Lulu. That argument only furthers the us-versus-them mentality running rampant in discussions of the app. However, just imagine for a minute that there existed an app like this for men to discuss women. Now imagine there was a way to use this app to imply that a woman had a more-spacious-than-usual "love cave." #SuitableForSpelunking, it might read. A high school boy uses the app to say this about a female classmate and stigmatize her for the rest of her high school career, etc.] Maybe it's fortunate, then, that, without a spy, this is the entirety of what a man can see of his standing on Lulu:
I received no response from the Lulu team. [At least they didn't respond to me with a message composed entirely of hashtags?] Maybe they're just busy, working hard to address all of the shortcomings of their app. Maybe not. What's important is that someone will make the app that Lulu could have been, so you'd better stop acting like a jerk and be nice or no one will want to play with you.
Thank you for your time. Are there any questions?
Thank you for your time. Are there any questions?