The Lulu app, launched in April 2013 by Alexandra Chong, is a forum for women over the age of 17 to rate their male friends based on appearance, personality and behavior. Additionally, the Lulu app allows girls to submit anonymous evaluations of their experiences with boys they know, such as their conversations, dates and hookups.
Chong thought up the concept after a post-Valentine’s Day brunch with a coterie of female friends, in which they openly discussed everything from their love lives to careers.
“If you even put one guy into the mix, the candor of the conversation changes,” Chong said in an email. “We thought there was a real opportunity to tap into girl talk.”
The Lulu website encourages guys to download the application as well, so they can work on their profiles and see their overall ratings in order to increase their “Lulu popularity.” Although men have the ability to create a profile, only female users can rate men and write reviews.
To rate men, Lulu users fill out multiple choice questions about what they like or dislike about a particular guy. After answering several multiple choice questions, users can choose hashtags that describe the man in question.
Some of the hashtags that a user might add to a positive review are #CleansUpGood, #GreatWithMom, or #RespectsWomen. If a user has had a negative experience with a particular guy, she can rate him and use hashtags like #StillLovesHisEx, #Can’tTakeAHint, or #CheaperThanABigMac. The Lulu app compiles the reviews and tabulates the results to give each reviewed man a score between one and ten, with ten being the highest.
The Lulu app is gaining popularity among female college students because it enables them to learn a little more about their crushes even prior to talking to them. Lulu’s website states that the purpose of the Lulu app is to “empower girls to make smarter decisions on topics ranging from relationships to beauty and health.”
However, some Marlborough girls believe that not as many high school students use the app because it would be hard to explain their intentions.
“If a girl had the app on her phone, people might think she has some weird guy complex,” Emma ’15 said.
Nonetheless, the app claims to have at least one million female profiles and expects that number to grow over the next year. And, despite its growing popularity, many men have responded negatively to the Lulu app, calling it mean, sexist and objectifying. Some even argue that the app makes them feel insecure about their appearance and personalities.
Rolling Hills Prep senior Ciaran said, “It wouldn’t bother me too much if girls talked about me on the app, but I wouldn’t want to date a girl who used it.”
Annie Bruss, employed at Lulu, recognized the controversy over the app with enthusiasm. “Lulu is definitely provocative! And we think that’s a good thing; it means we’re creating a product people find compelling and useful,” she said.