So, we're all still a bit reeling from how great Dolly Parton was yesterday - yes? She's a seasoned performer, her back-catalogue is incredible and her ability to connect with people is, I believe, unrivalled. What's more, I'd argue that she's a pretty stonking feminist too - not that she'd ever admit it. When asked about such things, she usually responds with the same thing, that she would have been the first person to burn her bra, but it would have taken the fire department four days to put it out. This is part of Dolly's thing, she doesn't really get involved in politics and she actively makes sure to brush away issues that might be contentious. She supports gay marriage, but in just about the most socially-conservative friendly way possible - "I think everyone should be with who they love, I don’t want to be controversial or stir up a bunch of trouble but people are going to love who they are going to love. I think . They should suffer just like us heterosexuals." Basically, speaking politically, her messaging is impeccable for her market. But, in some really important ways, Dolly is a feminist icon. Here they are, y'all.
1. Dolly sticks it to the man on a regular basis. The music industry isn't the easiest place to be a woman now, and it certainly wasn't when Dolly started out. But, when Elvis asked to cover 'I Will Always Love You' and his manager demanded the royalties, Dolly told him where to get off. This was only a few years into her career and it would have meant one of her most famous songs being covered by The King, but Dolly stood her ground. In an interview she had this to say - 'Then when Whitney did it, I got all the money for the publishing and the writing, and I bought a lot of cheap wigs with that!' Damn, girl.
2. Dolly is using her vast wealth doing something incredible - educating people. Unlike many of today's celebrities, Dolly doesn't use her wealth or status to hawk wears in the same way that others do. It's interesting, on the way to her gig at the weekend, I passed a shop offering tans endorsed by the Kardashian sisters. In effect, in doing this, they're suggesting that to be as successful as they are, you should look like them. Dolly's Imagination Library gives books to children from their birth to the time that they start school, unlike the Kardashians, Dolly's message is clear - if you want to be successful, you'd better do well in school. What a refreshing idea that is.
3. Dolly has been married for 48 years, and you've probably never seen her husband. She married Carl Dean in 1966, and they celebrated their anniversary ten days ago. Rather than being some sort of 'power couple', they're very rarely seen together in public and Dean almost never sees Dolly perform. That's odd isn't it? No, it isn't. They're both successful people in their own right. When was the last time your partner popped into your workplace to check on how things were going? As the couple look toward their fiftieth wedding anniversary, I think the fact that neither one 'wheels out' the other (unlike many politicians and celebrities) is really cool.