Wednesday, 10 February 2016

1980's Yuppie (week 3)

"The Year of The Yuppie" 

Joseph Epstein was said to have first coined the term "yuppie" in 1982. 
A yuppie, (young urban professional) was the name given to young (typically between their mid 20's and 30s), middle-class individuals, recently college-educated and working in a very well paid profession. They lived and worked in a large city, though if not in the city, at least very close to one. Yuppies were known to live rather luxurious and affluent lifestyles.
The term yuppie has since inspired other terms such as buppie (black urban professional) (pictured below), huppie (Hispanic/Latino urban professional), and guppie (gay urban professional). 

During the 80s many self-proclaimed yuppies were proud of the name given to them and wore it like a badge, although not everyone thought it was something to be proud of. Of course there would have been little reason to not be proud of this status. Yuppies were commonly hard workers, working to achieve the aims of rising within the class system. They had to put in long hours at work, with an undeniable drive and motivation to succeed. They were proud of the lifestyles which they had rightly earned and worked hard for, though not everyone seemed to agree. Newsweek magazine declared 1984 "The Year of the Yuppie" (pictured above and to the side). In the first photo you can see two self-declared yuppies posing for the magazine, though the magazine didn't necessarily make yuppies look good. The magazine painted a picture of them in a way which makes them appear to be somewhat money-hungry, calling them "self-absorbed". The magazine article wrote "Anyone who worried that the self-indulgence of the Woodstock generation was sapping America's moral fiber is probably better off not knowing about the woman with $1,200 worth of pots and pans in her kitchen who eats every meal in a restaurant". This comment alone is an example of the opinion the news writers had on the new influx of the yuppies. The article went on to imply that yuppies were perhaps a bit too obsessed with making money as well as their compulsive need to spend. It writes "They know that Beauty is Truth, and Truth is Beauty, which is why their most eloquent symbol is the Rolex watch, which has both."  The magazine article overall just pokes fun at the way that yuppies were coming across to the rest of America. 

As I previously stated yuppies were considered very hard working, motivated individuals with ambitions to succeed and earn a comfortably living. Most yuppies earned their way into middle-class status, as apposed to simply being born into it, which understandably caused a great deal of tension within communities, especially with yuppies that enjoyed showing off their wealth and goods. Some people resented the yuppies and their culture and traditions, to which they argued that and influx of wealthy individuals in a community could significantly change it's character.

Though there were negative and positive opinions on the yuppies in America, to no surprise they were soon seen as a target audience by big companies. This 80s advert (linked below) for Hall Mark Aftershave shows how directly certain companies targeted the yuppie audience. This advert, as well as many others and other advertising strategies were simple yet clever ideas for big name companies.  Seeing as typically yuppies had no children or family to support, due to them being as young as they were, meant they had a lot more money "lying around" for them to spend on what ever they wanted, and many companies took great advantage over this.


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