Dolly Parton: What She Taught Me About Being A Woman

Dolly Parton and Everything She Taught Me About Being A Woman!

I’ve learned a lot from Dolly Parton. As a woman, I don’t think I’m alone in searching for a role model who accurately represents my own struggles and my sense of overwhelming ambition to escape the confines of a life unsatisfied. Dolly’s ‘rags to riches’ life certainly seems to fit that mold, and you’d be hard pressed to find an interview or public appearance where she doesn’t mention it in addition to its influence in a great deal of her songs.

Dolly as a Model of Success.

While I haven’t had a personal interaction with the rural experience that Dolly describes, she has been inspiring to me in the motivation to find your way out of a difficult situation, and to want to strive for better. She worked extremely hard to get where she is today, and as someone who was unhappy where I began in life, I find her example very powerful. To view the things she has achieved in comparison to her origins, why should I, with a better start in life than her, not become successful?

Dolly as a Star On Her Own Terms.

In addition, she has been able to become a global star, be accepted by Nashville but also by legions of fans of other genres, and at times transcend the limitations of country, where perhaps it might have negative perceptions, for example the UK. She has been able to do exactly what she wants, and never appears to have gone by a rule book. I mean, she left a national syndicated television show at the height of its success, only to write one of the biggest selling songs in music about it, become a movie star in her own right and then open a hugely successful theme park. I could list all her crazy achievements here but I might just go beyond my word limit.

Dolly as a Rule Breaker.

So she has taught me you don’t have to follow the rules, and that brings me to my main point – Dolly taught me so much about being a woman. The thing that’s so remarkable about her success, particularly as a businesswoman, is that she is a woman. To have managed that during the 1970s and 1980s when women were still burning their bras and feminist scholars were abstaining from sex in protest, Dolly dressed up like a small town prostitute and became one of the most respected women in the industry. It is this that taught me the most. Dolly exploited the male perception of female beauty, by exaggerating it, mocking it, and taking the power into her own hands. On the one hand she was selling herself as a sex symbol, yet at the same time shifting the power from men to women and exposing the farce of expectations of female beauty for what it really was. Feminist is perhaps seen as an ugly word (although it shouldn’t be), but Dolly was blatantly doing it without the male-dominated traditionally-based country industry even noticing. They were too busy staring at her breasts, and that’s just how she wanted it.

Dolly as a ‘Force of Nature’.

What Dolly taught me as a woman goes beyond what I can explain here, but to surmise, that list would probably center around the use of your womanhood and place in society to get what you want out of it. To take the limitations and use them to your advantage. I have also learned that life is a power struggle, and that if I could look back on my life and say I was a ‘force of nature’ like I believe Dolly to be, I would die very proud. Dolly is something else, so serene yet so silently and humbly powerful in her position as a superstar artist and female businesswoman. We’re not all Dolly Partons, but I think a valuable thing she can teach us is that we don’t have to be frightening or unattractive as women to be powerful. It doesn’t have to be obvious, it just has to be there. And we can all be powerful, no matter how poor we start off, how much lipstick we wear, or how blatantly honest we are about our flaws and weaknesses.

And that’s what I’ve learned from her.

Vickye is a guest contributor! Find her on her own site or Twitter, @FTcountryRecord!

About Vickye

Vickye was born and continues to live in England, and discovered country music at the age of 13 through the internet. She loves Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton among others, but Taylor Swift is a secret guilty pleasure because she used to be a proper fangirl! She's in her final year of doing 'Popular Music Studies' at college, loves reading country music academia and has her own blog on country music, For The Country Record. She hopes one day to finally visit Nashville.