Have you heard about Lulu? I hadn’t either until Diane Duane reblogged a link to an article about it on her Tumblr. Lulu is an app for women to offer their opinions and share their experiences with the men in their lives, most notably the men they’ve dated. The article makes it sound like the app’s aiming to become a giant database of references that women can look at when considering whether to get involved with or even go on a first date with a guy.
I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing1. What I do think is problematic, however, is how Alexandra Chong, Lulu’s CEO and founder, is pitching it:
My vision has always been to create a discreet, private space for girls to talk about the most important issues in their lives: their relationships.
Um, what? Is Alexandra Chong really suggesting that for every single woman out there, the most important thing in her life is her relationships? As opposed to her education? Her schooling? Her family? Her dreams of being the next CEO of her own company? Any health issues she might have? I’m having a hard time believing it. I think women are much more individually complicated and collectively diverse than that.
I’m also troubled by the suggestion because, let’s face it, we already have plenty of sexist people — especially sexist men — who think that a woman’s worth and importance is primarily and even solely defined by the men she is related to, whether it be romantically, biologically, or even just platonically. So pitching any sort of relationship app in a way that reinforces that notion and suggests that women should see themselves in that same light strikes me as troubling.
On a semi-related note, I’m a bit weirded out by “Dear Dude,” which is apparently Lulu’s advice column on relationships and sex. Seriously? You create an app that’s strictly for women to share about their relationships and you think a guy — a “Dude,” no less — is the best person to offer your all-female userbase relationship advice? Is this more “Mars/Venus” bullshit? Because that’s the vibe I’m getting.