You’re a Badass, Dolly Parton

Female is not synonymous with helpless. If you listen to the noise, you might think so. But the truth is, women have been using stilettos to kick out the glass ceiling since Cleopatra reigned supreme.

Kicking down glass in torturous shoes to change the world, prove our value, and realize our dreams isn’t easy. Easy would be to throw up our hands and scream about how unfair we have it and demand that everyone just give us stuff cuz we have boobies and can’t get paid. Easy would be to not even try. But that’s not the example I want for my daughter. And that’s not the opinion I want my son to have of women.

Yes, we have to work harder.  Yes, we have to have a curfew and can’t join anyone on business dinners because we can’t be out past dusk because we might be sexual prey.  Yes, we have to overcome adversity that only we can understand. And, yes, that can be frustrating and overwhelming to the point of questioning whether or not it’s worth even trying to get ahead. But luckily, we have examples; strong, inspirational women who have paved a way for us so that we can pave further for those who come after us. I don’t want the blood, sweat, and tears of those women to be for naught. If they can make the world a better place, we all can improve it a little more. I want to follow their example. So I figured what better way to start than to study the directions left by those great, inspirational females. And here, with this post, the journey of exploration and learning begins.

I’ve spent weeks pouring over Wikipedia and other parts of the internets to learn more about a woman that has been one of my idols since I first heard the song Jolene and saw The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at an age when I didn’t even know whorehouses had competitions. Yes, I’m highlighting the badassery of the one- the only- Mrs. Dolly Rebecca Parton. So, without further ado: I present to you a mostly thorough list of all the ways that Dolly Parton is a badass.

Dolly’s done it the “right” way

All of us Dolly- hards (that’s the name I’ve decided to give us Dolly fans) already know the origin story: she was born in a one-room cabin, deep in the Tennessee country. By all accounts no one outside of Pittman Center, TN should know her name. That in and of itself places her high on my list of awesomeness.

But she didn’t have a “win at all costs” mentality, clawing her way to the top while stepping over anyone she could to get what she wanted.  Dolly knew her end game. She was hyper-focused on becoming a country singer since the age of 6 and she did just that in a way that elevated the lives of those around her and she’s never lost sight of who she is and where she came from.

Dolly’s taken advantage of the opportunities that came her way

When Porter Wagoner invited Dolly to be his sidekick on The Porter Wagoner Show, she knew that this wasn’t the end game for her career.  She was still focused on becoming a solo artist.  But that didn’t keep her from seeing the advantage of taking the job.  While it would curve her path to solo success, what it DID afford her was a weekly audience.  She gave herself a timeline.  Dolly promised herself that she would give it five years.  She ended up giving that show seven years of her career.  It made her a household name and Dolly left the Porter Wagoner Show with connections in both music and TV.  While it wasn’t exactly what she wanted, she saw the end game.  

In addition to being on The Porter Wagoner Show, Dolly proved her business savvy when she partnered with her uncle Bill Owens to form Owe-Par Publishing.  Dolly knew that she needed to protect her songs if she was going to have any type of say in her work.   

Dolly Parton remembered where she came from

When Dolly’s solo career took off in the 70’s and 80’s, she knew that she wanted to give back to the community that helped raised her.  To do so, she used her new resources and the business savvy she inherited from her dad to buy a share of an old amusement park and start Dollywood, bringing thousands of jobs to the people of her Tennessee hometown and the surrounding areas.  Not only that, she’s also started a book gifting program called Imagination Library that mails free books to children.

So, what are you trying to tell me?

Hard work pays off.  Not sure if you realized this or not, but Dolly Parton has written over THREE THOUSAND songs!  I can’t even write 25 Thank You notes after my daughter’s birthday party!  This is the work ethic and drive that sets success apart from mediocrity. 

Dolly rose to the top because of the positive support of her family, her intuition, her drive, her work ethic, and a little luck.  She’s a role model because of her kind spirit and selflessness.  If Dolly’s taught us “Dolly-Hards” anything, it’s that success is possible and you don’t have to walk over everyone to get it.  So stop making excuses and go get the life you want!!!


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