By Jackson Santy ’13
Nobody thinks twice when rating a movie or a new album, giving it a 10 if they thoroughly enjoy it or a one if they were nauseated by it—this is a perfectly normal expression of personal preference.
But what happens when you change that movie or album to a human being, specifically a student you know?
“Lulu,” an app run through Facebook with this very purpose, allows female students to anonymously rate male students based on categories like looks and personality.
As each girl assesses a particular boy, the boy is given a numerical rating based on the average of each category.
The final number results in somewhere between a 4.0 (the lowest) to a 10.0 (the highest) and that number remains on the boy’s page.
Despite the fact that the creators of “Lulu” enabled the site to only be accessed by females with Facebook accounts, the males have found ways to access and see their numbers.
But I can imagine the creators saw that coming.
However, what the “Lulu” administrators don’t see is the fact that they have developed something truly dangerous.
They’ve given teenagers a harbor for blatant sexism and an easy opportunity for cyber bullying.
Despite the fact that girls can only comment using a selection of prewritten hashtags (i.e. “handsome,” “loves his mother,” and some other more suggestive options), this doesn’t mean people won’t get hurt.
Upon it’s burst of popularity, “Lulu” became the talk of almost everybody on campus, spreading like a disease.
I’ve heard many fellow students discussing their ratings, vigorously comparing with others who were voted higher or lower.
The bullying aspect comes when you strip this app down, it becomes a simple yet vicious way of saying “you’re not good enough” or “he’s better than you.”
Soon enough, there will be an equivalent of “Lulu” for a male to rate females and thus another problem arises.
If two opposing apps exist where both genders can rate each other, it leads to severe tension between the genders.
When on the surface it may feel like a stupid, juvenile app, “Lulu” could potentially be responsible for lowering the self-esteem of others, creating tension among genders and even go as far as drive somebody to suicide like we see so often on the news.