“Girl With a Pearl Earring” in full face make-up. The first Queen Elizabeth contoured upward from her ruff. Severus Snape with jet black hair extensions. Sasquatch wears a smoky eye.
These are just a few of the altered images shared by YassifyBot, a Twitter account that showed up on people’s feeds this month.
To “jassify” something in the parlance of the account, with FaceApp, an AI photo editing application, means applying several beauty filters to an image until it becomes the subject – be it a celebrity, a historical figure, a fictional character or a work of visual art – is made up almost unrecognizable.
Since activating YassifyBot’s account on Nov. 13, hundreds of photos have been tweeted of subjects’ eyelashes appearing thick and spidery; her eyebrows look like they saw the business end of a pencil; her hair was lengthened and often colored; and her cheekbones and nose are sharply contoured.
It should be noted that YassifyBot is actually not a bot. His tweets are not generated by software. The account is held by a 22-year-old Omaha college student who is making art under the name Denver Adams and has asked that the Times not disclose her legal name.
The process of creating each picture is simple: take a face, run it through FaceApp until it looks generic or grotesquely sexy, post, repeat. Mr Adams said in a Zoom interview that it only takes a few minutes to create each image.
The timing of the account’s popularity is a bit of a mystery. Easy to use Photo retouching apps aren’t new. FaceApp was specifically the subject of news articles about Privacy issues and its “hot” filter, denounced as racist, to lighten users’ skin tones. (2017, The guard reported that FaceApp founder Yaroslav Goncharov apologized for the filter, attributing the skin lightening to bias the AI software detected in their training.)
The word “yass” – which can also be spelled with “yas”, “yaas”, or any number of A’s and S’s for emphasis, has been circulating in the LGBTQ language for more than a decade. The word was further popularized through a 2013 Video of a fan, the Lady Gaga. admired. The Comedy Central show “Broad City,” in which Ilana Glazer’s character often uses the phrase “yas queen,” also helped make the word wider.
Corresponding KnowYourMeme.com, the word “yassification” first appeared on Twitter in 2020. As it spread, celebrity memes have also been digitally remastered, including one that portrayed the actress Toni Collette Screaming in Horror Movies “Hereditary“, Her face suddenly turned into an artificial glamorous version of himself.
“I didn’t make the joke up,” said Mr. Adams, citing Ms. Collette’s meme as inspiration. “I just ruined it.”
But what exactly is the joke?
Mr. Adams attributes it to the ridiculousness of the pictures, saying the more absurd they appear, the funnier they get.
As with a lot of internet jokes, the line between ridicule and partying is bleak.
Rusty Barrett, a professor of linguistics at the University of Kentucky who has researched language in gay subcultures, sees a connection between the images YassifyBot spreads and drag culture.
“It is reminiscent of drag that drag queens sometimes look plastic and exaggerated,” said Prof. Barrett in a telephone interview.
“Part of it is that it looks good, but it clearly looks wrong,” said Prof. Barrett. “This positive view of artificiality is something that is common throughout gay culture.”
The “yassify” memes also share some DNA with the internet subculture of “bimbofication“That enhances a dull and surgically enhanced brand of femininity.
Most of the bimbofication memes are just internet jokes about gender performativity, but some hardcore followers have headed over to Reddit to document their real-world transformations, including self-hypnosis to become “smooth brains.”
In the same way, yowling is funny until it is no more. It is a pleasure to see Harry Potters Dobby or Bernie Sanders They looked like a digital glam team prepared them for the red carpet. But it is a horror to think that we are so prone to this superficiality.
All memes have a shelf life and the exhaustion of yassification has already set in. On the day the YassifyBot joined Twitter, a user tweeted: “I’ve seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by Yassification.”
It was only a matter of time before brands picked up on the trend. For example, last week Amtrak was advertising the “yassification” of one of his trains in 2022 on TikTok with the hashtags #Yassify, #Slay and #rupaulsdragrace.
Could it be the Yassify meme’s death bell?
“If I wasn’t the one running the account, I would have already banned the account,” said Adams. “Fully.”