Sunday, 24 January 2016

Yuppies Representation

The article above is an interesting and detailed account which highlights the ‘stereotypical’ role of a Yuppie, and how a culture formed around this figure during the 1980’s. The representation of a Yuppie is first introduced in the first paragraph in which the author asks a series of rhetorical questions, ‘Did you frequent stores like Banana Republic and drop by Starbuck's for a cafe latte? Did you smile when you saw parquet floors, and turn up your nose at shag carpet?’ By presenting these stereotypical qualities in a humorous fashion we receive a simplistic view of the Yuppie culture through these preferences you are intended to possess which define you as a Yuppie, for example pasta over a big mac, leading the reader to interpret the movement as almost a joke.

  However the article also gives a detailed account of the ‘Yuppie’ lifestyle during the 80’s, providing positive and negative outlooks and looks at how the ‘Yuppie’ culture has impacted American culture today. The article states that ‘Yuppies were lambasted as excessively consumptive in their pursuit of the American Dream without much regard for those left behind’. This presents a negative view of a ‘Yuppie’ as it symbolises greed and a consumer culture, one which everyone cannot keep up with. Further negativity centred on the Yuppie culture, was through the blame for the stock market crash of 1987 which also brought about a decline in the Yuppie culture itself.

The overall representation of a Yuppie which is presented in the article is essentially an ambitious and self-absorbed person, with an obsession with their career in order to achieve more money to buy the expensive possessions they desire. Evidence to support these claims are provided in the article for example, through a survey conducted in 1986 ‘73% of Americans believed that yuppies were primarily intent on making more money; 81% of yuppies agreed that they were, ‘72% of Americans believed that yuppies were more concerned with their own needs than with the needs of others; the same percentage of yuppies agreed. Finally the article states that ‘today many Americans still live the yuppie lifestyle, or wish they did’, which suggests that the Yuppie lifestyle has had an effect on the culture of America today. We could view examples of this in modern America today through the fact that much of society nowadays is materialistic and can often be viewed as obsessed with work and money. 

To compare, contast and build upon the idea of the “yuppie” I have also chosen to analyse the film American Psycho (2000) as it brilliantly portrays the mentality that is needed and the values that are held so high in the mind of a “yuppie”.  Both portrayals of the stereotype were made in the year 2000 but both styles of “yuppie” differ with what they held most important. Yes the key points of making money and valuable possessions are in both imaginations of the 1980’s lifestyle but what the article lacks that American Psycho delivers on just how empty their materialistic decisions were, as seen with the battle of the business cards between the protagonist Patrick Bateman, Paul Allen and the rest of the “yuppies” which eventually leads to Paul Allen’s death due to his immaculate print and spacing, just showing how literally cut throat the rivalry was between “yuppies” was in this time.

Another way in which these characters are unrelated is the lack of mention in the article of any drug use, compare this to the opening scene in American Psycho where one of the first lines not spoken by Bateman is “they don’t have a good bathroom to do coke in” mix this with the many shots and scenes showing Bateman and his “friends” snorting coke and you have a stronger much more powerful image of what a “yuppie” is.  


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