Skip to content

The yuppie subculture of the 1980s

The yuppie subculture is an interesting and controversial phenomenon in the history of the United States. Who are they – successful young careerists, masters of life, owning the world, who can buy everything with money, or unhappy, lonely workaholics with a wounded soul, slaves to their own principles…

When the yuppie movement emerged and what it means

The yuppie subculture originated in the 1980s in the United States during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. The term “yuppie” comes from the English word “yuppie”, which stands for “young urban professional person” or “young upwardly-mobile professional person”. The first variant denotes a young person living in the city, a professional in any business, and the second variant denotes a young specialist, striving to climb the social ladder, to make a career, to achieve success in business. The second variant more accurately defines a representative of the yuppie movement.

Why did the yuppies come into being

The yuppie subculture emerged as an opposition to the hippie movement. The hippie subculture, which existed in America since the mid-1960s, brought together the children of wealthy parents who advocated peace, love, freedom, opposed war, bourgeois society, and personal enrichment. Hippies abandoned prestigious universities and professions prepared for them by their successful “ancestors”. They were fond of rock music, advocated free love, denied marriage, had a somewhat sloppy appearance, reflecting their worldview – long hair, drab jeans, loose shirts and dresses embroidered with flowers, khairatniki, pacifikas, an abundance of beads and bangles, led a free lifestyle in the wilderness. In the sphere of their interests was a fascination with mysticism, religions, occultism, mind-altering drugs.

In the 1980s, a significant proportion of young people began to view the hippie movement as destructive, leading to chaos, meaninglessness, poverty, disease and death. They chose as their values completely different things, in their opinion, more constructive, in many ways opposite to the worldview of the “hippies”.

The worldview and life ideals of yuppies

A yuppie is a young man who aspires to a successful life, so he gets a prestigious profession and makes a career in it. He can be a promising office clerk who is regularly promoted, an official or an organizer of his own business.

The American yuppies of the 1980s were business people with a good income and a high standard of living. They had their own distinctive attributes that made them stand out from the crowd:

  • a status car;
  • representative appearance;
  • expensive appliances, clothes, accessories, credit cards;
  • Availability of premium housing (apartment, private house), furnished according to the latest fashion;
  • visits to upscale restaurants and entertainment venues.

In clothing, yuppies preferred a strict business suit. They strove for order both in their appearance and in their heads. Their environment valued rational thinking, pragmatism, cheerful attitude, vigor, vigor, physical and mental health, lack of bad habits, a good sense of humor. In the company of yuppies it was not customary to confess one’s weaknesses, to discuss illnesses, psychological problems, life failures, political topics. The yuppies had a positive attitude to the institution of the family, but they did not fall into sanctimony and calmly accepted extramarital affairs.

The main distinguishing feature of yuppies is their increased workaholism. To provide themselves with a decent life, corresponding to the status of a successful person, young careerists were forced to work hard, often without weekends and vacations. And despite their desire to lead an active social life, which was also considered one of the yuppie ideals, they often did not have enough time for it.

From the outside, the lifestyle of young enterprising Americans seemed to be full of prosperity, luck and positivity. But often the mask of success hid many problems: physical fatigue, illnesses acquired from increased workload, psychological burnout, inner loneliness, lack of real friends and free time for hobbies, recreation, relationships with the opposite sex, and family.

Are there yuppies now

But times are changing. The emergence of market relations to a higher level, the development of scientific and technological progress and Internet technologies have led to a transformation in the life values of business people. In today’s world, young businessmen, financial workers, programmers, IT representatives, etc. can only be remotely referred to as yuppies. These professionals have a good income and standard of living, prefer cool gadgets, expensive household appliances and cars. But they have given up excessive workaholism, often choose freelancing, value freedom, time for themselves, self-development, hobbies, like to travel the world.

Natalia Khadeeva