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Yuppie, short for "Young Urban Professional", is a term that describes a subculture that emerged in the early 1980s in the United States. It denotes high-class or mid-class, predominantly white young people with universitary studies and ambitious career pursuits. Yuppies were typically employed in well-paying professions and their lifestyles were defined by high disposable incomes, consumerism and meterialism[1].

Most Yuppies lived a fast-paced and competitive lifestyle, working long hours and striving for professional advancement. They were known for their expensive taste in fashion, preferring designer clothing, luxury cars, and luxury restaurants, reflecting their success in business. Along with that, they were known for their sensibilities involving self-improvement and being athletic. The term "Yuppie" was coined in 1982 and began to be popularized in American popular culture through films such as Fight Club or American Psycho and blogs like Stuff White People Like[2]. It was one of the most popular character tropes in American media during the 1980s and early 1990s, although as the Baby Boomer demographic began to age, it is no longer as frequently referenced in works. However, Yuppie influences can be noted in some modern internet aesthetics like Sigma.

History[]

The Yuppie subculture began to emerge in the 1980s in the United States, especially among the Late Baby Boomer demographic, matching with various social and economical factors of the decade. Following the post-World War II economic boom, many young people had to adapt to an era marked by prosperity and the rise of consumerism and began to prioritize success in the workplace. With the expansion of white-collar industries like finance, law, advertising, sales, architecture, management consulting, and technology, many youngsters, especially in large cities, turned into investment professionals with large amounts of wealth and resources.

"The Yuppies seek neither comfort nor security, but stimulation, and they can find that only in the densest sections of the city," ― Dan Rottenberg ("About That Urban Renaissance...", Chicago, 1980)

The origins of the term "Yuppie" are often debated, although it is thought to have been coined in the 80s by Joseph Epstein, writer and former editor of The American Scholar. Others believe it was Dan Rottenberg, an editor of the Chicago magazine, although he doesn't take credit for it. It was first used in its article named "About That Urban Renaissance...", in which he describes a trend of people moving into the more fashionable neighborhoods of Chicago, Illinois. As a slang word, it is derived from the acronym "YUP" (Young Urban Professional) and it is possibly an evolution of the word Hippie (with "Hip" referencing the trendy cultural sensivities of the time) and later "Yippie", a term denoting advocates of the Youth International Party (YIP).

The term was originally used in a neutral way to describe their behavior and lifestyle, although later it gained negative connotations through media portrayals[3], and Yuppies came to be one of the most referenced character tropes in popular culture during the decade. The Newsweek magazine declared 1984 as the "year of the Yuppie", since they began to grow into their own social class and became extremely influential in economics. Gentrification became the word of the day, as more Yuppies began to move to cities such as Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and many other major urban centers in the United States.

The Yuppie subculture began to decline in popularity and relevance during the early 90s, with the Time magazine describing 1991 as the "death of the yuppies". However, the word "yuppie" still continues to be rarely used to describe young professionals. The fashion associated with this phenomenom still continues to inspire some current fashion trends in the 2020s[4].

Fashion[]

Yuppie fashion was essentially the polar opposite of Hippies and reflected their social class status, with many Yuppies enjoying designer clothing, Gucci handbags, Rolex watches and items from many other high-end brands[5]. It fueled the demand for luxury goods and the growth of fashion companies and overall shaped the economy of the 80s. In the workplace, Yuppies often participated in "power dressing", with one of the most emblematic outfits being the formal corporate suit. For casual settings, wealthy items were preferred as they strived for social prestige and recognition. Yuppie women wore power suits with large shoulder pads, work-appropriate makeup and voluminous or slick hair.

Although Yuppie and Preppy fashion is similar, has common influences, and may often be confused with each other in popular media, there are some significant differences between the two subcultures. The main distinction is that Yuppies are considered New Money (people who recently became rich, striving to look like it), while Preppy is Old Money (people with inherited wealth, who don't need to be as pretentious about it).

Lifestyle[]

TBA

Attitude[]

The stereotypical attitude of Yuppies is marked by these characteristics[6]:

  • Yuppies are practical about relationships. They might not see premarital sex or cheating as a big deal or a problem. They believe family is important, but their jobs often come first. Because of that, it was common for them (especially Yuppie women) to have a short-lived marriages.
  • They like to hang out with people who are successful like them. They often look down on or make fun of those they think are less ambitious or don't have as many resources. They talk a lot about work and like to show it off. They don't like to talk about their problems or weaknesses.
  • Yuppies believe that working hard is the only way to get ahead in life. They like to brag about the tough times they've gotten through, but they quickly move on. They're not really concerned with politics, and they focus on taking care of themselves instead.
  • They usually don't have a lot of close friends, and they don't enjoy joining clubs or groups for fun because they believe these things are a waste of time. They didn't really care about old-fashioned ideas about what men and women should be like.
  • Yuppies love to buy expensive things and show them off. They enjoy luxury brands, expensive restaurants, and purchasing any things that make them look successful.

Media[]

Film[]

  • After Hours (1985)
  • American Psycho (2000)
  • Baby Boom (1987)
  • Bright Lights, Big City (1988)
  • Broadcast News (1987)
  • Disclosure (1994)
  • Falling Down (1993)
  • Fatal Attraction (1987)
  • For Love or Money (1993)
  • Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
  • Gremlins 2 (1990)
  • How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)
  • Jobs (2013)
  • Office Space (1999)
  • Other People's Money (1991)
  • Pacific Heights (1990)
  • Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
  • Robocop (1987)
  • The Big Short (2015)
  • The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
  • The Secret of My Success (1987)
  • The Social Network (2010)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
  • Trading Places (1983)
  • Vampire's Kiss (1989)
  • Wall Street (1987)
  • Weekend at Bernie’s (1989)
  • Working Girl (1988)

Literature[]

  • The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) by Tom Wolfe
  • The Yuppie Handbook (1984) by Marissa Piesman and Marilee Hartley
  • Less Than Zero (1985) by Bret Easton Ellis

Blogs[]

  • Stuff White People Like (2008-2010)

Gallery[]

References[]

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