YassifyBot and "Yassification" memes, explained-The New York Times

2021-12-06 16:12:18 By : Ms. Celia Yang

A new Twitter account has gathered a group of followers by sharing highly filtered versions of well-known pictures.

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The "girl with pearl earrings" with makeup on her face. The first Queen Elizabeth outlines upward from her neckline. Severus Snape kept jet black hair extensions. Sasquatch's eyes smoked.

These are just some of the changed images shared by YassifyBot, a Twitter account that started to appear in people's feeds this month.

In the terms of an account, to "elegize" something is to use FaceApp (an AI photo editing application) to apply multiple beauty filters to a picture until its theme-celebrities, historical figures, fictional characters or fine art- -Becomes almost unrecognizable.

Since YassifyBot’s account was activated on November 13, it has posted hundreds of photos on Twitter, in which the subject’s eyelashes appear thick and spider-like; their eyebrows seem to have seen the end of the pencil; Their hair is lengthened and often dyed; their cheekbones and nose are well-defined.

It should be noted that YassifyBot is not actually a robot. Its tweets are not generated by software. The account was run by a 22-year-old college student in Omaha who was engaged in artistic creation under the name of Denver Adams and asked the New York Times not to reveal their legal names.

The process of making each image is simple: take a face, run it through FaceApp, until it looks average or weird and sexy, publish and repeat. Mr. Adams said in an interview with Zoom that it only takes a few minutes to create each image.

The time the account was popular is a bit puzzling. Easy-to-use photo retouching apps are not new. FaceApp is particularly the subject of news articles about privacy issues and its "hot" filter, which has been condemned as a racist for brightening users' skin tone. (In 2017, the Guardian reported that Yaroslav Goncharov, the founder of FaceApp, apologized for the filter and blamed the whitening on the biases discovered by the AI ​​software during training.)

The word "yass"-which can also be spelled "yas", "yaas" or emphasized with any number of A and S-has been in the LGBTQ vernacular for more than a decade. This term was further popularized in a 2013 video of fans admiring Lady Gaga. The Comedy Central show "Broad City", in which Ilana Glazer's role often uses the phrase "yas Queen", also helps to make the word more widely used.

According to KnowYourMeme.com, the word "yassification" first appeared on Twitter in 2020. As it spread, the memes of celebrities were also digitized. One of them depicted actress Toni Colette screaming in the horror film "Hermitage" and her face suddenly became a man-made beautified version of herself.

"I didn't make this joke," Mr. Adams said, citing Ms. Colette's meme as a source of inspiration. "I just ruined it."

But what is the joke?

Mr. Adams blamed the absurdity of these images, saying that the more absurd they are, the more interesting they are.

Like many online jokes, the line between ridicule and celebration is blurred.

Rusty Barrett, a professor of linguistics at the University of Kentucky, has studied languages ​​in the homosexual subculture. He believes that there is a connection between the images spread by YassifyBot and the cross-dressing culture.

Professor Barrett said in a telephone interview: "This is reminiscent of drag queens sometimes look very plastic and too much."

"Part of the reason is that it looks good, but it obviously looks fake," Professor Barrett said. "This positive view of skills is common in gay culture."

The "yassify" meme also shares some DNA with the Internet subculture "bimbofication", which has given a boring brand of femininity enhanced through surgery.

Most bimbofication memes are just Internet jokes about gender performance, but some hardcore enthusiasts have begun to document their real-life changes on Reddit, including self-hypnosis becoming more "clear-headed".

In the same way, yassifying is fun until it is not. It's great to see Harry Potter's Dobby or Bernie Sanders look like a squad with gorgeous numbers to prepare them for the red carpet. But it is frightening to think that we are so susceptible to this superficial level.

All emojis have a shelf life, and yassification fatigue has already begun. On the day YassifyBot joined Twitter, a user wrote on Twitter: "I saw that the best minds of our generation were destroyed by yassification."

It is only a matter of time before brands catch up with trends. For example, last week, Amtrak used the hashtags #Yassify, #Slay, and #rupaulsdragrace to promote the "yassification" of a train in 2022 on TikTok.

Could this be the death knell of yassify memes?

"If it weren't for me to operate this account, I would have blocked this account long ago," Mr. Adams said. "completely."