Dolly Parton, Feminist Icon, Says She’s Not a Feminist

Dolly Parton is adored by a wide variety of fans. In a truly divided time in American history, many liberals and conservatives can agree on one thing: Dolly Parton music.

Parton has been called a “feminist icon” and “the OG third-wave feminist.” But in an interview with Jad Abumrad in the podcast series, Dolly Parton’s America, the musician recoils at the term. Here’s why the writer of “9 to 5” doesn’t call herself a feminist.

Dolly Parton at the 53rd Annual CMA Awards
Dolly Parton | Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Dolly Parton doesn’t think of herself as a femenist

Do you think of yourself as a feminist?” asks Abumrad.

No, I do not,” Parton respods.

She elaborates: “I love men. And I — I really — because I have a dad, I have all those brothers, all my uncles I love, my grandpas I love. And I relate to them.”

Parton went on to say that she understands men so deeply, she often writes songs from their perspective.

“I write a lot of songs about women because I am a woman, or I just write songs that women experience. But I write a lot of songs for men. In fact, I’ve had hit songs, you know, about men. I write — you know, I write songs about my dad. The Dinner Bucket song…

“Every time I hear the sound of a train coming down the railroad track, hear a big jet plane flying high, I’d like to throw my hammer down, ride off to some distant town, not even take the time to say goodbye. But I got to think about my babies about my wife and my old ladies. About how much she’d miss me if I was gone.

“So I write about working men, I write about gamblers, I write about — but I write songs for men and about men and their feelings too, because I know how they feel. I look like a woman, but I think like a man. But I think like a woman, too,” she said.

Why Dolly Parton doesn’t like the word ‘feminism’

Parton thinks feminism is about hating men. She thinks the movement has been taken to the extreme.

“I guess when you say feminist, it’s just what I think at the time,” she said. “Like, everybody goes to extremes sometimes. I do not like extreme things. I do believe in making a point and making it well. I don’t believe in crucifying a whole group just because a few people have made mistakes. To me, when you say just the word ‘feminist’ is like, ‘I hate all men.'”

Dolly Parton is a feminist in practice

But then podcast host Abumrad reframes the question. He talks to Parton about how there can be feminists in theory and feminists in practice.

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“That’s the one,” says Parton of being a feminist in practice. “That’s me. That’s me.”

“Like, it’s about how you live,” says Abumrad.

“Yes, that’s a good way to say it,” she responds. “I think that’s a good way of saying it. I live it. I work it. And I think there’s power in it for me.”

You can listen to the full podcast, Dolly Parton’s America, here.