Phaedra Parks

Phaedra thinks women need to be proud of their accomplishments.

on Oct 25, 2010

 

The underlying theme of tonight's episode is getting and having exactly what you want. Although each of us want vastly different things, we all share the common desire of wanting to improve ourselves and to be better women. Sheree wants a new relationship, while NeNe wants to change her physical appearance. Kandi wants a great album and to be paid for her work. Kim wants to be a successful artist. While I want a lot of things, tonight's focus is on my desire to have an extraordinary baby shower as well as a husband who doesn't have children so that we can experience parenthood together for the first time.  

In order for us to achieve our desires, we must first know exactly what it is we want. Secondly, we must be able to afford our desires or be willing to work for them. However, no matter which road we travel to reach our final destination, we should never be apologetic for wanting the best for ourselves. Historically, there was a time when women had limited choices, but thanks to women like Susan B. Anthony, Billy Jean King, Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Harriet Tubman, Evita Peron, and Michelle Obama, we can have whatever we like! These women all dared to be different and challenged societal norms. They were trailblazers who weren't afraid of controversy; they had a vision and realized their work would open doors for others to follow behind them. 

Despite the critical nature of the show, we must ask: Why do we criticize each other when we all want the same thing -- to be better? Is it wrong to value yourself or enhance your worth, whether it be through plastic surgery, education, or hard work? I hope not. Because if you don't value yourself and believe in your ability, who will? If you work hard you should be proud of your accomplishments. 

I will never be ashamed of my tenacity and commitment to education, because I realize people fought and died so that I would have the opportunity to go to high school, attend college, and graduate from law school. My journey wasn't easy, but I had a vision and was willing to work hard for it. Unfortunately, as this episode shows, when women speak of their accomplishments they are viewed as arrogant or "their own cheerleader." Interestingly enough, I was a cheerleader in high school (a spunky spitfire, if I may say so myself), so it was comical to hear that statement. Indeed we should all be our own biggest cheerleaders. Ironically, when men speak of their accomplishments they are characterized as being confident. Why are standards different for women? I went to school for 20 years and maintained a job throughout my undergraduate and law school matriculation. No one gave me any handouts, extra help, or preferential treatment. Hence, I will never be ashamed of my degrees -- I earned them. Slogans like, "Mission accomplished," "dreams realized," "Girl power and sisterhood," will never be truthful as long as we continue to be catty and critical of each other.