Friday, 22 January 2016

The role and representation of the Yuppie in 1980's American Culture
The "Yuppie" was a young professional with a college education, who had a well-paying job and expensive taste. They were more interested in making money than previous generations had been. A Yuppie was also the equivalent of a rich person who is not modest about their rich status.   

The image above demonstrates how in 1980's America, the Yuppie was represented as only being interested in money. The speech bubble is interesting because it suggests that during the 1980's, Yuppies could not be rich and be proud of themselves, they had to choose one or the other. Although the image is in black and white, you can tell that their home looks expensive, as there is a giant picture frame on the wall, a sophisticated chair and a huge window looking out onto the city. The image also indicates that they live in a wealthy area, as it is more expensive to live in a city than in a rural area. The young mans appearance also highlights that he is a successful man, with a well-paying job, a family and a luxurious house. This was a common representation of a Yuppie in 1980's America. Interestingly, the image depicts the Yuppies as only having one role. This is to look out for themselves, and not other people. The overall message of this image is that the American Culture in the 1980's, was use to the idea of a "Yuppie", because many comic cartoons were made, such as the one above. The image highlights that these people were not sensitive or cared what others thought of them.
The image above is from a television show in the 1980's called "Thirtysomething". Unlike the cartoon, this show demonstrated the "Yuppie" as being successful, but not necessarily happy. This concept is interesting because the definition of a Yuppie indicates that they were happy, however "Thirtysomething" highlights that although these people were rich and successful, they were not necessarily as happy as those who were poor and not considered successful in America during the 1980's. The show has a lot of tensions among the Yuppie culture and 'normal' American culture. It questions whether the Yuppie is a sensitive and unhappy person, despite their wealth etc.. or whether they are self-absorbed, money-making people, who are happy. This clip of the show highlights how the representation of the Yuppie changed during the 1980's. Instead of showing them as people who are not modest about their wealth, this clip indicates that Yuppies care what others think in regard to  their wealth status. This is shown when the Yuppie does not want the other woman to think that she hires sitters for her children, when taking a bath. This is interesting because it demonstrates that although she has a lot of money, she still cares about what others think. This is different from how Yuppies were represented in American Culture before the show, as they were considered as not being modest. Another interesting thing, is the fact that the Yuppies in this show feel sensitive, which is not how the advertising industry portrayed them to be. However, there are certain times within this clip where the Yuppie is portrayed as being stereotypical, such as when she says "Shut up, I'm tired of you throwing it out to me how hard you have it". Interestingly though, the other woman says, "Stop apologising for having money", which suggests that the Yuppie does care about others feelings, and sometimes feels guilty for being wealthy. The end of the clip concludes the notion that although the Yuppie has money, friends, hot water and a successful life, they are not necessarily happy.

So the role and representation of the "Yuppie" in 1980's American culture was predominately a negative view, however the television show "Thirtysomething" provides people at the time with a different view on the representation of a "Yuppie".

Grace La Traille


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