Yuppie - History

History

Although the term yuppies had not appeared until the early 1980s, there was discussion about young urban professionals as early as 1968.

Critics believe that the demand for "instant executives" has led some young climbers to confuse change with growth. One New York consultant comments, "Many executives in their 20s and 30s have been so busy job-hopping that they've never developed their skills. They're apt to suffer a sudden loss of career impetus and go into a power stall."

Joseph Epstein was credited for coining the term in 1982, although this is contested and it is claimed that the first printed appearance of the word was in a May 1980 Chicago magazine article by Dan Rottenberg. The term gained currency in the United States in 1983 when syndicated newspaper columnist Bob Greene published a story about a business networking group founded in 1982 by the former radical leader Jerry Rubin, formerly of the Youth International Party (whose members were called yippies); Greene said he had heard people at the networking group (which met at Studio 54 to soft classical music) joke that Rubin had "gone from being a yippie to being a yuppie". The headline of Greene's story was From Yippie to Yuppie. East Bay Express humorist Alice Kahn claimed to have coined the word in a 1983 column. This claim is disputed. The proliferation of the word was effected by the publication of The Yuppie Handbook in January 1983 (a tongue-in-cheek take on The Official Preppy Handbook), followed by Senator Gary Hart's 1984 candidacy as a "yuppie candidate" for President of the United States. The term was then used to describe a political demographic group of socially liberal but fiscally conservative voters favoring his candidacy. Newsweek magazine declared 1984 "The Year of the Yuppie", characterizing the salary range, occupations, and politics of yuppies as "demographically hazy".

In a 1985 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Theressa Kersten at SRI International described a "yuppie backlash" by people who fit the demographic profile yet express resentment of the label: "You're talking about a class of people who put off having families so they can make payments on the SAABs ... To be a Yuppie is to be a loathsome undesirable creature". Leo Shapiro, a market researcher in Chicago, responded, "Stereotyping always winds up being derogatory. It doesn't matter whether you are trying to advertise to farmers, Hispanics or Yuppies, no one likes to be neatly lumped into some group".

Later, the word lost most of its political connotations and, particularly after the 1987 stock market crash, gained the negative socio-economic connotations that it sports today. On April 8, 1991, Time magazine proclaimed the death of the yuppie in a mock obituary.

In the 1990s, most yuppies made a transition to the middle class but they maintain an upper-middle level lifestyle, as they age well to their 30's and 40's the "yuppie" generation often got married and settled down to have children. The economic boom at the time have transformed some yuppies or higher-income couples into Bobos or the "bohemian bourgeois".

The term has experienced a resurgence in usage during the 2000s and 2010s. In October 2000, David Brooks remarked in a Weekly Standard article that Benjamin Franklin- due to his extreme wealth, cosmopolitanism, and adventurous social life- is "Our Founding Yuppie". A recent article in Details proclaimed "The Return of the Yuppie", stating that "the yuppie of 1986 and the yuppie of 2006 are so similar as to be indistinguishable" and "eā€™s a shape-shifter... he finds ways to reenter the American psyche." Victor Davis Hanson also recently wrote in National Review very critically of yuppies.

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