Yuppie (short for “young urban professional” or “young upwardly-mobile professional“) is a term that refers to a member of the upper middle class or upper class in their 20s or 30s. It first came into use in the early 1980s and largely faded from American popular culture in the late 1980s, due to the 1987 stock market crash and the early 1990s recession. However it has been used in the 2000s and 2010s, in places such as in National Review, The Weekly Standard and Details.
Yuppies are mocked for their conspicuous personal consumption and hunger for social status among their peers. Cornell University economist Robert H. Frank, author ofLuxury Fever, has remarked, “When people were denouncing yuppies, they had considerably lower incomes than yuppies, so the things yuppies spent their money on seemedfrivolous and unnecessary from their vantage point.” Pro-skateboarder and businessman Tony Hawk has said that yuppies give “us visions of bright V-neck sweaters with collars underneath, and all that was vile in the eighties”, and he has also remarked that a “bitchin’ tattoo cannot hide your inner desire to be Donald Trump.”
Yuppism… is not definable entirely by income or class. Rather, it is a late-20th-century cultural phenomenon of self-absorbed young professionals, earning good pay, enjoying the cultural attractions of sophisticated urban life and thought, and generally out of touch with, indeed antithetical to, most of the challenges and concerns of a far less well-off and more parochial Middle America. For the yuppie male a well-paying job in law, finance, academia, or consulting in a cultural hub, hip fashion, cool appearance, studied poise, elite education, proper recreation and fitness, and general proximity to liberal-thinking elites, especially of the more rarefied sort in the arts, are the mark of a real man.
Although the term yuppies had not appeared until the early 1980s, there was discussion about young urban professionals as early as 1968.
Critics believe that the demand for “instant executives” has led some young climbers to confuse change with growth. One New York consultant comments, “Many executives in their 20s and 30s have been so busy job-hopping that they’ve never developed their skills. They’re apt to suffer a sudden loss of career impetus and go into a power stall.”
Joseph Epstein was credited for coining the term in 1982, although this is contested and it is claimed that the first printed appearance of the word was in a May 1980Chicago magazine article by Dan Rottenberg. The term gained currency in the United States in 1983 when syndicated newspaper columnist Bob Greene published a story about a business networking group founded in 1982 by the former radical leader Jerry Rubin, formerly of the Youth International Party (whose members were called yippies); Greene said he had heard people at the networking group (which met at Studio 54 to soft classical music) joke that Rubin had “gone from being a yippie to being a yuppie”. The headline of Greene’s story was From Yippie to Yuppie. East Bay Express humorist Alice Kahn claimed to have coined the word in a 1983 column. This claim is disputed. The proliferation of the word was effected by the publication of The Yuppie Handbook in January 1983 (a tongue-in-cheek take on The Official Preppy Handbook), followed by Senator Gary Hart‘s 1984 candidacy as a “yuppie candidate” for President of the United States. The term was then used to describe a political demographic group of socially liberal but fiscally conservative voters favoring his candidacy. Newsweek magazine declared 1984 “The Year of the Yuppie”, characterizing the salary range, occupations, and politics of yuppies as “demographically hazy”.
In a 1985 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Theressa Kersten at SRI International described a “yuppie backlash” by people who fit the demographic profile yet express resentment of the label: “You’re talking about a class of people who put off having families so they can make payments on the SAABs … To be a Yuppie is to be a loathsome undesirable creature”. Leo Shapiro, a market researcher in Chicago, responded, “Stereotyping always winds up being derogatory. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to advertise to farmers, Hispanics or Yuppies, no one likes to be neatly lumped into some group”.
Later, the word lost most of its political connotations and, particularly after the 1987 stock market crash, gained the negative socio-economic connotations that it sports today. On April 8, 1991, Time magazine proclaimed the death of the yuppie in a mock obituary.
In the 1990s, most yuppies made a transition to the middle class but they maintain an upper-middle level lifestyle, as they age well to their 30’s and 40’s the “yuppie” generation often got married and settled down to have children. The economic boom at the time have transformed some yuppies or higher-income couples into Bobos or the “bohemian bourgeois“.
The term has experienced a resurgence in usage during the 2000s and 2010s. In October 2000, David Brooks remarked in a Weekly Standard article that Benjamin Franklin– due to his extreme wealth, cosmopolitanism, and adventurous social life- is “Our Founding Yuppie”. A recent article in Details proclaimed “The Return of the Yuppie”, stating that “the yuppie of 1986 and the yuppie of 2006 are so similar as to be indistinguishable” and “[h]e’s a shape-shifter… he finds ways to reenter the American psyche.” Victor Davis Hanson also recently wrote in National Review very critically of yuppies.
Usage outside of the United States
A September 2010 article in The Standard described the items on a typical Hong Kong resident’s “yuppie wish list” based on a survey of 28 to 35 year olds. About 58% wanted to own their own home, 40% wanted to professionally invest, and 28% wanted to become a boss. A September 2010 article in the New York Times defined as a hallmark ofRussian yuppie life adoption of yoga and other elements of Indian culture such as their clothes, food, and furniture.
In Mexico, the term “yupi” is a neologism for residents of metropolitan Mexico City known for having a modern white-collar economy. Yuppification has occurred in economic booming nations of China, India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South Africa in the late 1990s and 2000s.
In popular culture
- The Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe, a “satire of yuppie excess”
- Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney (McInerney himself has been called “the archetypal yuppie”)
- Family Ties, the TV show, features a young Michael J. Fox as the Republican coat-and-tie-wearing ‘yuppie-in-the-making’ Alex P. Keaton and his parents (played byMichael Gross and Meredith Baxter-Birney) as former hippies.
- Fight Club, the 1996 Chuck Palahniuk novel and 1999 film adaptation, follows “a disenchanted yuppie … numbed by the sterile materialism of modern life.”
- In John Carpenter‘s They Live, a pair of working class protagonists come into possession of sunglasses that reveal yuppies as predatory aliens.
- Girl with Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace, a short story about a young Republican after enjoying life after prep school with a group of punk rockers.
- Slaves of New York by Tama Janowitz describes a later (early 1990s) evolution of the Yuppie, in which the upper tier made considerably more than the lower, supporting tier, the “slaves” of the title, who were trapped by rents and insufficient salaries into a struggle merely to stay afloat in Manhattan.
- American Psycho, the 1991 Bret Easton Ellis novel and 2000 film about yuppie serial killer Patrick Bateman.
- thirtysomething, U.S. TV series, seen as a representation of “yuppie angst” and midlife crisis.
- Stuff White People Like, a satirical blog that pokes fun at generalizations and yuppie culture.
- Wall Street, the 1987 film about stock traders, has been described as “encapsulation of 80s yuppie greed culture”, particularly Bud Fox, Charlie Sheen‘s naive 20-something character.
- “Yuppy Love“, a 1989 Only Fools and Horses episode based on Gordon Gekko from Wall Street, in which Del Boy reinvents himself as a yuppy and hangs out in trendy wine bars.
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, a 1989 comedy, features neighbors Todd and Margo as the quintessential yuppies.
- Married with Children, a Fox TV comedy sitcom (1987–97) featured the Bundy’s neighbors: A couple led by twice married Marcy D’Arcy (her two husbands Steve Rhodes and Jefferson D’Arcy, are upwardly mobile men she’s attracted to), a bipolar paleoliberal–neoconservative feminist banker who loathes their blue-collar neighbors and she bullies Al Bundy, a failed shoe salesman.
- Jeff Goldblum‘s character in the 1983 movie The Big Chill is a quintessential yuppie who sold out his 1960s hippie ideals for money.
- The Last Days of Disco features male characters in the early 1980s who complain that they are referred to as yuppies.
- King of the Hill features the Hill Family’s next door neighbors, Kahn Souphanousinphone, Sr. and his wife, Minh. They are stereotypical yuppies based on that stereotype about Asian Americans since Khan and Minh are Laotians originally from Laos then moved to the U.S. through Anaheim, California, a known yuppie cultural center inSouthern California and finally they ended up in fictional Arlen, Texas.
- “Yer So Bad” song by Rock singer Tom Petty features the verse “My sister got lucky, Married a Yuppie”
- Reporter David Brooks characterized yuppies as bourgeois bohemians, or Bobos, in his book Bobos in Paradise – the term became somewhat popular in the 2000s.
- A buppie is a black urban professional.
- A huppie is a Hispanic/Latino urban professional.
- DINKs (DINKY in the UK) is an acronym is for Dual Income, No Kids [Yet]; at least one authority considers this to be synonymous with “yuppie”.
- A scuppie is a Socially Conscious Upwardly-Mobile Person (the term is not commonly used).
- A Brazilian playboy: while in first this term had the same usage as in English, from the 1990s to the 2010s it changed its meaning to a local version of yuppie which first appeared in Greater Rio de Janeiro. Stereotypes of the Brazilian playboys include being classist, womanizer and sexist, at least way more than their yuppie counterparts from more developed countries, which in turn is result of social anxieties of the poor and the lower middle class against the upper middle and upper classes, or being great seekers of social status and influence. They also, contrary to yuppies, do not fashionize intellectuality, and can or can not be socially liberal (social divisions between liberals and conservatives, specially in the upper classes, makes much less sense in Brazil than in the Anglosphere). In the 2000s, some lower middle and middle middle class Brazilians from Greater São Paulo formed a new urban subculture also called playboy which is little to not related to the former. Non-urban young professionals in Brazil are called by the slang agroboy.
- A winder is a young individual, uninhibited with regards to its own social success, and willing to comply only to a very soft (and versatile) set of moral standards.
- Yuppification often replaces the word gentrification; it is the act of making something, someone, or someplace appealing and thus marketable to yuppie tastes.
- Yuppie flu was a sometimes derisive, and inaccurate, term applied to chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Yuppie food stamp is a slang term in the United States for a $20 bill, because ATMs there typically dispense only $20 bills.
- Puppie is a poor urban professional (a.k.a. welfie and cheapie).
- YURP is a term describing the diverse group of young professionals who are dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans, and many low-income locals accuse them of “carpetbaggery“.
- Yuppie Angst is when a yuppie experiences stress in pursuing a busy work schedule, anxiety attacks over minor fears or challenges, reckless driving on highways and overreacting in panic.
- Yuppie Puppy, derogatory term, synonymous with Malibu Barbie or Malibu Ken i.e. the vacuous overly spoiled and narcissistic offspring of the aforementioned Yuppies.
- Yuppiedom, a mockery of the term “kingdom” or a place of yuppies.
- Yuppie Values, also a mocking of core beliefs, trends and behavioral traits of yuppies as more of upper-income liberalism or an evolution of “Hippie values” about trying new or exotic things while pursuing a money-based life.
- Fads and trends
- Gold-collar worker
- Liberal Elite (a.k.a. Latte Liberal or Limousine liberal)
- Model minority
- Selling out
- Sloane Ranger
- Valley girl
- Young professional
- ^ Algeo, John (1991). Fifty Years Among the New Words: A Dictionary of Neologisms. Cambridge University Press. pp. 220. ISBN 0-521-41377-X.
- ^ Childs, Peter; Storry, Mike, eds. (2002). “Acronym Groups”. Encyclopedia of Contemporary British Culture. London: Routledge. pp. 2–3.
- ^ a b c d Burnett, John; Alan Bush. “Profiling the Yuppies”. Journal of Advertising Research 26 (2): 27–35. ISSN 0021-8499.
- ^ a b c Gordinier, Jeff. “The Return of the Yuppie”. Details. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
- ^ a b c Victor Davis Hanson (August 13, 2010). “Obama: Fighting the Yuppie Factor”. National Review. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
- ^ a b David Brooks (October 23, 2000). “Our Founding Yuppie”. The Weekly Standard. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
- ^ Telling, Gillian. “Tony Hawk Takes On Yuppies”. Details. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
- ^ Kessler, Felix. “Executive Promotion Path: Fast Track for Young Managers”.Management Review 57 (3): 25. ISSN 0025-1895.
- ^ Ayto, John (2006). Movers And Shakers: A Chronology of Words That Shaped Our Age. Oxford University Press. pp. 128. ISBN 0-19-861452-7.
- ^ Dan Rottenberg (May 1980). “About that urban renaissance…. there’ll be a slight delay”. Chicago Magazine. p. 154ff.
- ^ Budd, Leslie; Whimster, Sam (1992). Global Finance and Urban Living: A Study of Metropolitan Change. Routledge. pp. 316. ISBN 0-415-07097-X.
- ^ Hadden-Guest, Anthony The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night New York:1997–William Morrow Page 116
- ^ 
- ^ 
- ^ Living: Here Come the Yuppies!, Time, January 9, 1984
- ^ Moore, Jonathan (1986). Campaign for President: The Managers Look at ’84. Praeger/Greenwood. pp. 123. ISBN 0-86569-132-0.
- ^ Shapiro, Walter (1991-04-08). “The Birth and — Maybe — Death of Yuppiedom”.Time. Retrieved 2007-04-28.
- ^ Wong, Natalie (September 8, 2010). “Homes, cash top fairy tales on yuppie wish list”. The Standard.
- ^ “New York Times“. September 14, 2010.
- ^ Will Lee (28 April 2000). “Things that Make You Go Hmmm…”. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-04-28.
- ^ a b R.Z. Sheppard (June 24, 2001). “Yuppie Lit: Publicize or Perish”. TIME magazine. Retrieved 2007-04-28.
- ^ Mary Ellen Mark (August 1996). “Jay Watch”. Elle magazine UK. Retrieved 2007-04-28.
- ^ . http://eightiesclub.tripod.com/id434.htm.
- ^ Tom Brook (5 November 1999). “Showdown at the Fight Club”. BBC. Retrieved 2007-04-28.[dead link]
- ^ Girl with Curious Hair at Amazon.com
- ^ American Psycho: a double portrait of serial yuppie Patrick Bateman
- ^ Amazon.com: American Psycho
- ^ Arizona Daily Wildcat: ‘American Psycho’ ties yuppie greed to serial killing
- ^ George Mason University: Into the Wilds of an American Psycho’s Identity: Parallels between Into the Wild & American Psycho
- ^ Filmmaker Magazine: “Die Yuppie Scum!”
- ^ Goddard College Pitkin Review: “The Pen is Mightier: Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho“
- ^ Entertainment Weekly: Book News: “American Psychodrama”
- ^ Patricia Hersch (October 1988). “thirtysomethingtherapy: the hit TV show may be filled with “yuppie angst,” but therapists are using it to help people”. Psychology Today. Archived from the original on 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2007-04-28.
- ^ Rodriguez, Gregory (2008-02-25). “White like us”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- ^ “Wall Street Review”. Channel 4 (UK).
- ^ “imdb “Yuppy Love” episode profile”. imdb (UK).
- ^ “imdb=Christmas Vacation”.
- ^ Ayto 2006, p. 225.
- ^ The American Heritage Abbreviations Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Reference Books. 2002. p. 89. ISBN 0-618-24952-4.
- ^ Dale, Rodney; Puttick, Steve. Wordsworth Dictionary of Abbreviations & Acronyms. pp. 44. ISBN 1-85326-385-0.
- ^ Merriam-Webster (1991). The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories. p. 141.ISBN 0-87779-603-3.
- ^ Tom VanRiper. “Going Green Cuts Profits”. The New York Daily News, 2005-4-22. Retrieved on 2008-11-11
- ^ http://www.scuppie.com
- ^ John W. Leigh, Moving Towards New Forms of Social Success, Southern Illinois UNiversity, 2008
- ^ Meiskins, Peter; Whalley, Peter (2202). Putting Work in Its Place: a Quiet Revolution. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-8952-5.
- ^ Algeo 1991, p. 228.
- ^ Packhard, Randall M. (2004). Emerging Illnesses and Society: Negotiating the Public Health Agenda. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 156. ISBN 0-8018-7942-6.
|Look up yuppie in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Yuppies entry in the St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture