It’s the trend Robert Pattinson and the Mona Lisa have in common.
If you didn’t know, there’s a new cultural phenomenon happening on Twitter, and it goes by the name of “yassification.”No, that wasn’t a typo; that’s actually what’s it’s called. By using photo editing apps, yassification takes images such as internet heartthrob Timothée Chalamet or a little-known painting like the Girl with a Pearl Earring and transforms them—or rather, yassifies them—into hyper-feminine photoshopped versions of themselves, where full lips, wide eyes, and cutting cheekbones rule the day. (Think: Anne Hathway’s reinvention in The Princess Diaries, but times a hundred.) You can see a sample of this visual feast below.
The rise in yassification, which even includes a Twitter account (@yassifybot) dedicated to the constant production of memes, feels like a breath of fresh air from the polished images of Instagram we have all grown used to, while also poking fun at the possibility of us joining a digital-only landscape like the Metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg: 0; Twitter: 1. Yet, even with its entertaining quality, *Carrie Bradshaw voice* we couldn’t help but wonder where did this trend come from and what it means?
Where Did Yassification Come From?
The term first started gaining traction in early 2021 amongst the LGBTQIA+ community. An extension of the word “yas”, which dates back to the ’80s drag ball scene, to yassify something originally referred to “the process of making something more gay,” according to Urban Dictionary. However, the yassification of Toni Collette’s character in the cult movie Hereditary changed this. Boasting red lips and smoky eyes, it was the tweet that launched a thousand memes. As users everywhere started to create their own caricatures, yassification began to take on new meaning. Not bound by sexuality, it now refers to the act of making something better—both in the literal and absurd sense.
As the phrase has become more popular, yassification has started to shake off its visual roots and is now being used as a descriptor for concepts and cultural moments. Some examples include the yassification of Taylor Swift’s Red album, aka when the singer has re-released her 2012 album to include more tracks and better production. There was also the yassification of Oscar Issac, who sent the internet into a frenzy after his stylist posted a few fashionable thirst-traps of the actor.
Is Yassification a Good Thing?
In some sense, the rise of yassification is a good thing, as it encourages people to not take appearances too seriously. Yassification is also a critique of modern beauty standards, igniting a debate around the internet’s idealized look. As a phenomenon defined by the number of likes and retweets a person receives, though, it’s still a form of social currency—one that could come at the expense of others who don’t wish to see a supposed “better” version of themselves. That being said, if we’re able to see its campy madness as just that: madness, it might just be the very thing we all needed. Prepare to see more yassified memes for months to come.