Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Representation of the yuppie

 (Hack, S., 2012)

The yuppie, short for “young urban professional” in the 1980’s was an young individual who was university educated and a professional, and quite often the yuppie is seen as having expensive taste and a party lifestyle. 

One form of representation for the yuppie in the 80’s was through media, such as TV and Film. One example of this is the TV show ‘Jack and Mike’ (1986) which chronicled the life of a married couple, both yuppies, in Chicago. There were many shows in the 1980’s that appealed to the yuppie audience, however ‘Jack and Mike’ was one of a few shows that actually captured the look of the yuppie culture more accurately. And this accurate representation on the yuppie has been suggested to be the reason that ‘Jack and Mike’ didn't get good ratings. As it was so accurate in its image that it forgot to focus so much on the plot. Furthermore, this show focused on a married couple which perhaps did not resonate with the yuppie viewers as the yuppie is often seen as more married to their work and lifestyle.

Toledo Blade newspaper from Sept 16th 1986

As this article above from 1986 shows, this show was expected to be very popular, however it was not. This article states that “Apparently, no group of viewers is going to be ignored by the networks this season. Even the yuppies will have a new show they can relate to”. This suggests that the yuppies were a recognised group in society, however from the tone of writing here perhaps the yuppies were not particularly liked. The use of the term yuppie in an article like this and the creation of a TV show to cater to the yuppie viewers suggests that the term yuppie and the yuppies themselves were so widely recognised as a part of society that they were creating this place for themselves in the media. 

 Comparing the term yuppie to current terms we have for younger people (usually in their 20’s) gives an insight into the role of the yuppie in the 80’s. The yuppie was simply a way of identifying someone or yourself, as a newly college educated professional worker. Its role in society was a way of stereotyping a section of society, as we still do today in the way we use the term’s, such as the term ‘millennial's’ to describe a whole age group of society. And this then allows people to stereotype this part of society and make assumptions about them based on this.

Feuer, J., 1995. Seeing Through the Eighties: Television and Reaganism. Durham: Duke University Press. 

Hack, S., 2012. Around our kind of town. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 26 January 2016]

Palmer, J, W., 1995. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History. Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press. 

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