The term yuppie
(short for "young urban professional
" or "young upwardly-mobile professional
") refers to self-reliant, financially secure individualists
, particularly from the upper-middle class.
Although the term yuppies
had not appeared until the early 1980s, there was discussion about young urban professionals as early as 1968. The term yuppie means young urban professional.
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 is sometimes credited for coining the term in 1982. However, an early printed appearance of the word is in a May 1980 Chicago magazine article by Dan Rottenberg. In 1983, the term gained currency in United States 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. The proliferation of the word was effected by the publication of The Yuppie Handbook in January 1983, 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 BMWs ... 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 its political connotations and, particularly after the 1987 stock market crash, gained the negative socio-economic connotations it enjoys today. By 1991, TIME proclaimed the death of the yuppie in a mock obituary.
Notable cultural depictions of yuppies
- 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")
- Fight Club, the 1996 Chuck Palahniuk novel and 1999 film adaptation, follows "a disenchanted yuppie ... numbed by the sterile materialism of modern life."
- 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 and in Manhattan
- Rain Man, Tom Cruise's character is described in the region 2 DVD commentary and various reviews of the film as being a person embodying the worst stereotypes of 1980s yuppies.
- 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
- Wall Street, the 1987 film about stock traders, has been described as "encapsulation of 80s yuppie greed culture", particularly Charlie Sheen's naive 20-something character.
- Stuff White People Like, satirical blog, poking fun at generalizations and yuppie culture.
* Reporter David Brooks
characterized yuppies as bourgeois bohemians
, or Bobos
, in his book Bobos in Paradise
, a.k.a. Trustifarians
- A buppie is a black 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".
- Guppie is a gay urban professional.
- A scuppie is a Socially Conscious Upwardly-Mobile Person
- 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, before its medical legitimation.
- Yuppies entry in the St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture