Pete Davidson is dating Kim Kardashian. Pete Davidson is dressed as Joe Rogan. Pete Davidson is a hot woman. Pete Davidson is Charles Manson’s grandson, and he’s committed to reviving the ethos of Helter Skelter once more.
Okay, fine, I made up that last one, but the rest are (in some form or another) true. Somehow, over the last few years, the lanky, poorly tattooed, allegedly big-dicked, reasonably funny, sleepy-eyed comedian has become a vessel for all our pop-culture psychosis. It’s as if some A.I. supercomputer has been tasked with generating our media timeline, but can only select Pete Davidson as the subject.
I guess the only real answer is, why anyone? But the Pete Davidson subreddit is as good a place as any to search for insights. The group is relatively small with 4,500 members, a figure that seems paltry when compared to the outsized space he takes up in the culture. I mean, he’s dating fucking Kim Kardashian. But this little piece of gossip is barely discussed on his subreddit at all. Instead, they’re more interested in which advertisements he’s recently appeared in, documenting his femme outfits and FaceTuning him into a beautiful woman.
The latter is likely part of a broader trend that’s currently underway of “yassifying” people. Yassification, as it’s called, is the process of making someone have more “yass” qualities — i.e., qualities that are more glamorous, more flamboyant, more gay, more feminine. On Twitter, everyone is getting the yassification treatment, from Sigmund Freud to Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. Again we can ask, why? And again, the answer is, essentially, why not? All of this is just totally arbitrary and fun.
The yassification of Pete Davidson on his subreddit tends to be demure. The photos of him as a woman look like realistic renderings of what womanly Davidson would look like, rather than what womanly Davidson would look like if she were professionally airbrushed by a Sephora employee. And unlike most of the responses to usual yassification cases, people on r/PeteDavidson are genuinely attracted to female Davidson. “As a bisexual I find myself having an extremely difficult time staring at this picture. I can’t figure out which version I am attracted to more,” one member wrote.
But really, the most surprising thing about Girl Davidson is how normal and expected it seems. It’s as though we’ve discovered that Pete Davidson doing nearly anything — dating Kim K, mainly — feels plausible, so we’re seeing where else we can take it. The man courting arguably the biggest celebrity in the world is just some guy, a fact that his subreddit emphasizes in its banality. Yes, he’s very handsome and funny and probably a delight to be around, but he defies many of our societal norms of celebrity.
And so, maybe as the notion of celebrity is being deconstructed before us, the current trend of yassification is one way in which we can contribute to that deconstruction, ourselves. If Pete Davidson is in many ways in the top tier of our pop-culture totem, then there are no rules or frameworks that say we can’t transform a portrait of Martin Luther or Richard Ramirez into a glamazon. Again, why not?