“Girl With a Pearl Earring” in a full face of make-up. The first Queen Elizabeth contoured from her neck ruff up. Severus Snape with jet-black hair extensions. Sasquatch sporting a smoky eye.
These are just some of the altered photographs that have been shared by YassifyBot, a Twitter account that began popping up in people’s feeds this month.
To “yassify” one thing, within the account’s parlance, is to use a number of magnificence filters to an image utilizing FaceApp, an A.I. photo-editing software, till its topic — be that a celebrity, a historic determine, a fictional character or a piece of superb artwork — turns into nearly unrecognizably made up.
Since YassifyBot’s account was activated on Nov. 13, it has tweeted tons of of pictures in which topics’ lashes seem thick and spidery; their eyebrows look as if they’ve seen the enterprise finish of a pencil; their hair has been lengthened and, typically, coloured; and their cheekbones and nostril are sharply contoured.
It needs to be famous that YassifyBot just isn’t truly a bot. Its tweets aren’t generated by software program. The account is run by a 22-year-old school scholar in Omaha who makes artwork beneath the title Denver Adams and requested that The Times not reveal their authorized title.
The course of for making every picture is straightforward: Take a face, run it by FaceApp till it appears generically or grotesquely attractive, put up, repeat. Mr. Adams mentioned in a Zoom interview that every picture takes just a few minutes to create.
The timing of the account’s recognition is a bit puzzling. Easy-to-use photo-retouching apps aren’t new. FaceApp particularly has been the topic of reports articles about privateness points and its “hot” filter, which was decried as racist for lightening customers’ pores and skin tones. (In 2017, The Guardian reported that FaceApp’s founder, Yaroslav Goncharov, apologized for the filter, blaming the pores and skin lightening on bias the A.I. software program had picked up in its coaching.)
The phrase “yass” — which may also be spelled “yas,” “yaas” or with any variety of A’s and S’s for emphasis — has been circulating in L.G.B.T.Q. vernacular for greater than a decade. The phrase was additional popularized by a 2013 video of a fan admiring Lady Gaga. The Comedy Central present “Broad City,” in which Ilana Glazer’s character ceaselessly deploys the phrase “yas queen,” additionally helped to carry the phrase into wider use.
According to KnowYourMeme.com, the phrase “yassification” first appeared on Twitter in 2020. As it unfold, so did memes of celebrities being digitally remodeled, together with one that depicted the actress Toni Collette screaming within the horror movie “Hereditary,” her face all of a sudden settling into a synthetic glamorized model of itself.
“I didn’t create the joke,” Mr. Adams mentioned, citing the meme of Ms. Collette as inspiration. “I just ruined it.”
But what, precisely, is the joke?
Mr. Adams chalks it as much as the sheer ridiculousness of the pictures, saying that the extra absurd they seem, the funnier they change into.
Like many web jokes, the road between mocking and celebration is murky.
Rusty Barrett, a professor of linguistics on the University of Kentucky who has researched language in homosexual subcultures, sees a hyperlink between the pictures disseminated by YassifyBot and the tradition of drag.
“It evokes drag in that drag queens sometimes look plastic and way overdone,” Prof. Barrett mentioned in a cellphone interview.
“Part of it is that it looks good, but it clearly looks fake,” Prof. Barrett mentioned. “That positive view of artifice is something that is common across gay culture.”
The “yassify” memes additionally share some DNA with the web subculture of “bimbofication,” which valorizes a vapid and surgically enhanced model of femininity.
Most bimbofication memes are simply web jokes about gender performativity, however some hard-core devotees have taken to Reddit to doc their real-life transformations, together with self-hypnosis to change into extra “smooth-brained.”
In the identical method, yassifying is humorous till it’s not. It’s a pleasure to see Harry Potter’s Dobby or Bernie Sanders wanting like a digital glam squad had gotten them prepared for the purple carpet. But it’s a horror to suppose that we’re so vulnerable to this degree of self-importance.
All memes have a shelf life, and yassification fatigue has already set in. On the day the YassifyBot joined Twitter, one user tweeted: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by yassification.”
It was solely a matter of time earlier than manufacturers caught on to the development. Last week, for example, Amtrak promoted the “yassification” of one its trains in 2022 on TikTook, utilizing the hashtags #Yassify, #Slay and #rupaulsdragrace.
Could it’s the dying knell of the yassify meme?
“If I wasn’t the one running the account, I would have already blocked the account,” Mr. Adams mentioned. “Fully.”