What is a Ya-Ya Sisterhood? Have you read the book or seen the movie “The Devine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”? Ever wish for those kinds of friends?
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Do you know what a Ya-Ya sisterhood is?
The majority of people probably first heard the term Ya-Ya Sisterhood when the novel Divine Secrets of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood was written by Rebecca Wells in 1996.
A movie based on the novel and of the same name came out in 2002. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I’ll attempt to give a very brief synopsis.
The story begins (at least in the movie) with four little girls out in the woods at night cutting their palms to take a blood oath of undying loyalty to each other as friends. They name their group of friends the ya-ya sisterhood.
They were children in the late 1930s and then the story moves into the 1990s. One of the original four friends is in the midst of a falling-out of sorts with her daughter. The other three friends come together to help.
It then goes through them telling the daughter things of their childhood and throughout their lives to help her understand her mother. An overall touchy feel-good movie about true friendship and the strong bonds made through a lifetime of experiences together.
That is basically where the term ya-ya sisterhood came from
As for an actual definition, I could only find the following two from Wikipedia and the Urban dictionary.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a 2002 American comedy-drama film starring an ensemble cast headed by Sandra Bullock, directed and written by Callie Khouri. It is based on Rebecca Wells‘ novel of the same name and its prequel collection of short stories, Little Altars Everywhere.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_Secrets_of_the_Ya-Ya_Sisterhood_(film)
What does your circle of friends look like?
Do you have a circle of friends? Perhaps you don’t have a “secret sisterhood” with a dubbed name or loyal oaths. Maybe you don’t even have more than one or two close friends. Then again you may have a whole tribe!
It doesn’t matter the size of your group or the number of people you consider close friends. What I think is most important is that you have at least one or two people that you know you can count on as a support system.
I’ve written before about friendships and my circle of friends. One of the earliest posts on my blog titled What is a true Best Friend is about my friends. You can read it by clicking the title link.
I do not wish to rewrite or repeat my previous post about my friends. But I did stumble across something I found interesting and would like to share it with you in this post.
The thing I found interesting is,
The Washington Post published an article about Ya-Ya Sisterhoods in August of 1999. The article is still online and I happened to find it this week while searching for other things. The article caught my attention and now here we are discussing sisterhoods!
Now remember the novel was published in 1996 and The Washington Post published their article just 3 years later. The following quote was taken from that article.
But what, or who, is a Ya-Ya? The definition lies inside the pages of “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” the novel by Rebecca Wells that has spawned dozens of Ya-Ya groups nationwide. “To my delight and total surprise, there are these charming and outrageous Ya-Ya clubs forming all over the country: wild women and not a few savvy men who identify with my tribe of fictional Louisiana girlfriends,” writes Wells in a welcome letter posted on the “Ga-Ga for Ya-Yas” Web site, www.ya-ya.com.https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1999/08/17/secrets-of-the-ya-ya-sisterhood/029f5b44-bea1-48cc-8247-c3195a5b8cc3/
The “Ga-Ga for Ya-Yas” web site is apparently no longer functional. I tried going to it and even tried searching for it but was unsuccessful in locating it.
However, what I found interesting was the fact that people were actually forming groups to try and emulate the ya-ya sisterhood in the novel.
The Washington Post went on to say
The book explores the Teflon-tough ties of mothers, daughters and childhood friends, set in the languid Deep South, circa 1940 to present. The term “Ya-Ya” derives from the ceremonial scene, when the four childhood pals proclaim their tribal name and their promise to be friends for life. A closeness many wish to recapture — and celebrate. “A Ya-Ya is someone who can laugh at herself, let loose and be able to be a true girlfriend,” said Karen Barr-Pfeifer, 37, founder of the New Orleans Chapter of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. “It takes a lot to be a special girlfriend; not everyone can be a Ya-Ya.” In the past two years, the 1996 novel has inspired women — and a handful of men — to organize groups that bring to life the book’s characters, themes and good times. There are almost 40 official chapters, from around the country, Canada and England, as well as a gay men’s group in Houston. The younger set, or Petites Ya-Yas, as well as husbands and boyfriends, known as Yum-Yums, also are encouraged to get involved.https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1999/08/17/secrets-of-the-ya-ya-sisterhood/029f5b44-bea1-48cc-8247-c3195a5b8cc3/
Why I find this so interesting
What grabbed my attention about this article was the fact that people were forming these groups. I was intrigued, to say the least.
I honestly could not fathom the idea of needing to recruit people to include in one’s circle of friends. Then try and form this kind of bond and relationship described in this book.
Let me say that I loved the book and movie. I could instantly relate to the story. Also, I could easily imagine my friends and myself in place of each of the characters. So I could match each character to one of my friends according to personalities and such.
I am talking about my real friends in real life today that have been my friends since childhood. True friends that I’ve never lost contact with for over 50+ years. I cherish and belong to an honest-to-God ya-ya sisterhood.
For that reason, I found it so interesting that people needed to try and emulate this type of relationship. Was it possible to do it? How as an adult do you form something that is built from childhood?
Am I just lucky or naive?
Perhaps I’ve taken my circle of friends for granted. Am I just lucky to have such a life-long bond with great friends? Or have I been naive thinking that most people keep childhood friends throughout life?
Do you have a circle of friends? Do you feel that you belong to a ya-ya sisterhood? Maybe not complete with pledges, oaths, and secret meetings, but with those unspoken bonds forged over years of trust and moral support.
This is something I’m really interested in knowing about from my readers and other people in the world! Take a moment to complete my following poll:
Please bear with me while I’m very curious and take one more poll:
What lead people to try and emulate these types of friendships
Was it simply the need for human bonding? Do people seriously lack these bonding friendships?
Perhaps this a reason for the popularity of the sitcom “Friends”. Again maybe naively I thought it was because people related their own group of friends to the group portrayed on the sitcom. Maybe I was wrong. Could it have been due to people wanting that type of bonding, so they enjoyed watching it on TV?
Naturally, people need human bonding. We need communication and interaction with other people. Although we seem to put forth the most efforts into finding a romantic partner to bond with more than seeking friendship bonds.
One article I read put it this way:
Our society tends to place an emphasis on romantic relationships. We think that just finding that right person will make us happy and fulfilled. But research shows that friends are actually even more important to our psychological welfare. Friends bring more happiness into our lives than virtually anything else. Friendships have a huge impact on your mental health and happiness. Good friends relieve stress, provide comfort and joy, and prevent loneliness and isolation.https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/making-good-friends.htm
Psychology Today’s article on Friendship
If you try to research “friendship” most of what you find relates to childhood or adolescent friendships. Very little research is done on friendships of later life or that spans over the majority of one’s life.
Psychology Today did a great article titled Fifteen Reasons We need Friends. In this article author Carlin Flora’s new book, Friendfluence, was mentioned about how the little researched gap of later life friendships is addressed.
I enjoyed this article, especially the list of 15 reasons we need friends. As I read that list I can honestly say that my circle of childhood friends has been with me throughout life.
We have aged together yes, but also we have been there for each other through each stage of life. That same group of friends that started out with me 50+ years ago has and still do fulfill each one of those 15 reasons on that list.
How we’ve helped each other you might ask?
- Taught each other childhood games
- Had sleepovers
- double-dated and swore to hate each boy that broke our hearts
- were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings
- helped celebrate the births of all our children
- helped raise teach and guide all of each others’ children (now working on grandkids together)
- celebrated graduations and weddings of each others’ children
- supported, grieved and helped mourn parents, siblings and even children of each other
- We don’t tell our secrets! geez, to tell on each other would be telling on ourselves too because we were always all in it together!
- Most of all, we’re always, just a phone call or text away ready to answer the distress call and we never fail each other when asked. We pray for each other continually. That’s what friends are for!
Not just anyone can be your “ya-ya sister”
You definitely need a ya-ya sisterhood or at least a best friend! That one ride or die buddy that is always there for you.
Life is difficult and it’s even harder without a support system. If you don’t have a support system then you definitely need to get one!
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Until next time,