Like Frankenstein and his monster, @yassifybot regrets yassification

The creator behind the account has decided the meme is misogynistic and wants to end it before corporations jump on board.

by Tom George
25 November 2021, 3:28pm


Perhaps flying too close to the sun, the anonymous artist behind most of your favourite yassification posts, @yassifybot, regrets their creation. Every meme of course has its end when your aunt starts posting them to her Facebook timeline with the cry-laugh emoji and late night talk show hosts start turning them into sketches. However, speaking under a pseudonym to Paper magazine, the person behind @yassifybot explained the ick has stemmed from a reevaluation of what it actually means to “yas” someone by editing them to have eurocentric ideals of feminine beauty.

Yassification started as bored shitposts between friends when a 22-year-old Art History student became ill and decided to kill some free time by buying a FaceApp Pro subscription and put their besties pics through its various filters, gender swaps and lip-plumping edits. However it quickly became a viral behemoth that allowed us all to live through a digital “smooth brain” bimbo existence. No thoughts, just King Charles II’s portrait and Toni Collette in Hereditary contoured and adorned with fake lashes. 

As the meme grew and @yassifybot began to get more and more requests to yassify different celebrities, cultural moments, characters or individuals, they started to feel uncomfortable with some of the requests and questioned what culture they were contributing to. The idea that pop stars such as Lady Gaga would even need to go through yassification felt misogynistic to them. “It's like, are they not glamorous enough? Are you already not saying 'yass' to them? Are you not rooting for them unless they look like this? Like why do people think that's funny?” they said to Paper. It plays on an often called-out culture within the gay community of obsessing over hyper-feminine stereotypes and then putting those expectations onto the women they claim to support or stan. 

Requests to yassify certain trans and non-binary celebrities, and people of colour, felt problematic to many; the FaceApp’s eurocentric beauty filters implying BIPOC are only “yass”-worthy when they’re made to appear more caucasian or racially-ambiguous. Then there’s the fact that terms like “yass” and “slay” come from the culture of queer Black communities in the US. “Amazon is going to be 'yassifying' something and doing another stupid thing that steals from queer culture," @yassifybot shared. "And it's my fault because I brought it to this level.”

Overall, @yassifybot thinks yassification was a mistake: "I'm not proud of what I created at all. I'm really embarrassed by it". Of course, the simple nature of finding a famous painting of King Henry VIII embellished with plump lips, vampy eye makeup and beachy hair extensions funny isn’t problematic. But when these ideals are applied to real life women, non-binary and femme people across the board as expectations or a correction on their gender identity or expression, we do need to think about what messages these images are sending out. 

Although the creator behind @yassifybot plans to delete their account eventually, for now, they hope the continued posts will spark conversations. “I want to see people debating the content and I want to see people calling something out if it does have harmful undertones… even if I'm not proud of this whole trend.”

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