Dolly Parton Wrote ‘Just Because I’m a Woman’ After Her Husband Asked Her if She’d ‘Ever Been With Anybody Else’

Inspiration can strike Dolly Parton at any time. She’s never had much trouble with writer’s block. Some of Parton’s songs are pulled from her “big imagination,” while others are inspired by things that happen to her in her real life.

Parton’s song, “Just Because I’m a Woman” was inspired by a conversation she had with her husband, Carl Dean, shortly after they got married.

Dolly Parton on the red carpet in a red dress.
Dolly Parton | David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Carl Dean asked Dolly Parton if she’d ‘ever been with anybody else’

In her 2020 book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, Parton wrote that “Just Because I’m a Woman” “came from a very personal experience.”

“My husband, Carl, had never asked me if I’d ever been with anybody else, so I never said,” she shared. “I wasn’t going to volunteer that kind of information. He hadn’t been around all that much, either. But after we’d been married a few months, he asked me if I’d ever been with anybody else.”

Parton didn’t want to “start this marriage with a lie” so she told him: “Yeah, I have been.” He did not take it well.

“He was just crushed by that, and I was kind of an outcast for a little while there,” she wrote.

‘Just Because I’m a Woman’

And so the 1968 song about double standards was born.

“So I went and wrote this song: ‘My mistakes are no worse than yours, just because I’m a woman. I’ve made my mistakes, but listen and understand,'” wrote Parton.

In the “Jolene” singer’s words, the song is about “a man ‘ruining’ a girl’s reputation. And I addressed all these little things. Like, ‘Who the Hell are you to think you deserve an angel?'”

Eventually, Dean got over the fact that he wasn’t the first man Parton had been with — “thank goodness,” she wrote.

‘It’s a song that says a lot in a simple way’ — Dolly Parton

Just Because I’m a Woman” became a hit and stayed a hit for many years.

“It was even on the charts in South Africa [where it earned a Gold Record],” wrote Parton. “It was for all those women who had never been able to express this themselves.”


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To this day, it is one of Parton’s most popular songs. It resonates with people.

“It’s a song that says a lot in a simple way,” she wrote. “But it addresses an issue that’s very important.”

Even at the beginning of Parton’s career, she liked writing about important topics.

“I never shied away from any topic, whether it was suicide or prostitution or women’s rights or whatever,” she wrote. “I was always like that and still am. Whatever it is, I can say it in a song, in my own way.”