The Yuppie, Revisited

Looking back at four decades of the young urban professional

May 15, 2020 10:24 am

Image Credit: Fairfax Media Archives

For better or worse, the yuppie has stuck around for 40 years. The “young urban professional” first became a target for disdain when Dan Rottenberg used the term in Chicago magazine in May of 1980.

The popular idea is that a generation of hippies and free thinkers grew up, sold out (or bought in, however you want to see it) and came to epitomize a certain type of greedy white entitlement. The yuppie is still around today, though it goes by different names. A decade ago we were just calling them “hipsters”; today, the generational tag “millennial” is a stand-in for the younger, hipper, possibly richer people we’re supposed to throw our hate at. (Ironic, when you consider the financial hellscape that generation has matured into — but there always needs to be a scapegoat.)

But four decades does beg the question: What is the lasting legacy of the yuppie? Is it all bad? Let’s face it, some of us were probably raised by yuppies, or have even been typecast by others as yuppies, whether we knew it or not. To figure out what, exactly, that legacy is, InsideHook presents an ongoing series, “The Yuppie, Revisited,” an opportunity to look at the mores, norms and cultural objects that define a generation that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon — for better or for worse.