Wednesday, 27 January 2016
Yuppies and Film
Coined by Joseph Epstein in 1982 (although it also appeared in a 1980 article), A Yuppie is defined as "a well-paid young middle-class professional who works in a city job and has a luxurious lifestyle." The term originated in the 1980's to describe the up and coming young, highly educated workers that were involved in Banking and other White Collar careers. In many films, they have been a key character, such as American Psycho (2000) and more recently the Wolf of Wall Street (2013). Jordan Belfort starts on Wall Street in 1986 and as a Broker in 1987, the same day as the Wall Street Crash, also known as Black Monday.
Fight Club (1999) also tells the story of a "disenchanted Yuppie." It is clear to see that in many well-received films Yuppie's have a character involved.
The stereotype of the Yuppie is of someone who is obsessed with earning money and bettering themselves, and in the case of the Wolf of Wall Street, even acting highly illegally to achieve said goals. This shows the drive and passion that they have for money, and also illicit substances, as it is clear in American Psycho and the Wolf of Wall Street, that Cocaine is a necessary part of a Yuppie's diet. Although it is not the most powerful drug used in that culture. Money was the worst, and drove people to do horrific things to others, robbing people of money, all to make themselves richer, as Jordan Belfort put it, "the way I saw it, the money was better in my pocket, I knew how to spend it better." The lack of care or emotion that he shows about ripping people off is one of the reasons why many did not care for the Yuppie, including a mock obituary for them in 1991 after the Crash, marking the death of the "Yuppie."
The way the Yuppie was thought of was affected by Gordon Gekko. Portrayed by Michael Douglas, the film, released in 1987, showed what corruption and greed could do to everyone. It was a bad representation of Yuppie's, and skewed what people thought of them.
It can be argued that the Yuppie was seen as responsible for the Crash, as the term was popular in the 80's. They were the perfect represntation of unbridled Capitalism, one which ruined some people and created a massive wealth gap, aided by Reaganomics. The combination of the 2 has led to a distorted idea of the Yuppie. They had a massive role in Film and everyday life in the 80's, as they are seen as iconic of the era.