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Happy Birthday to Dolly Parton, Feminist Icon. No, Really.

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Rejoice! It is the day of birth of our savior: Dolly Parton. That’s right, Dolly Rebecca Parton was born on January 19th and is now celebrating her 71st year of making our world better.

Courtesy of Wide Open Country

Courtesy of Wide Open Country

What’s that? You don’t know why you should care about Dolly Parton?

Perhaps you grew up with an image of Dolly as a large-breasted, wide-smiled Southern chanteuse that was barely more than a Barbie joke with a country twang. But now it is time to grow up and recognize why Dolly Parton should be your new feminist icon.

She Actually Started From the Bottom

Dolly was born into a poor-as-hell family near Sevierville, Tennessee. Never heard of it? Yeah, no one has. If you watch the miniseries of her life, it can be assumed that she was all sass, all the time. It isn’t easy living in a literal one-room cabin with your crazy amount of siblings, graduate high school (not an easy feat for a girl…in the South…in the 60s), then start churning out songs in Nashville that make it to the charts. Too bad she wasn’t that one singing but shit takes time.

Courtesy of needsomefun.net

Courtesy of needsomefun.net

But She is Always About Fam

After Dolly got famous, she actually went ahead and raised a number of her younger siblings. She’s never had children (and why the hell should she?) but is the godmother of our dreams. When her goddaughter Miley Cyrus went on what the tabloids called a “bender”, she was all who-the-fucks-business-is-it-let-her-be-a-teenager-for-god-sakes. Or probably something like that. Basically, she isn’t about to let anyone be slutshamed or called “trashy”.

Courtesy of US Weekly

Courtesy of US Weekly

Also, Dollywood is Sick

You are going to think this is sarcasm: Dollywood is so much fun. This is real talk: Dolly Parton bought a theme park and turned it into one of the best damned theme parks ever. There is a wooden roller coaster so intense that I, white-knuckling my safety bar, frantically repeated “just endure” in my head the entire time. Also, there are legitimate local arts and crafts, a seriously good Dolly Parton museum, and amazing food. If you don’t grab a cinnamon bread loaf on the way out by the mill…you will regret it for the rest of your life. Also, since she built Dollywood in the Sevier County area, she brought literally 3000 jobs back to her community.

Courtesy of tnvacation.com

Courtesy of tnvacation.com

Her Acting Career Though

If you try and tell me that Steel Magnolias doesn’t make you cry and that Dolly Parton isn’t your favorite character, I will call you a GD liar.

Bet You Didn’t Know About the Dollywood Foundation

Let’s say you’re pulling in a low income and have a baby. You want your baby to read books but can’t always afford them. Dolly’s got you covered with the Imagination Library, which sends one book per month to you until your kid starts going to school for free. Like, totally free. Also, don’t forget her $500k donation to a cancer hospital in Tennessee, her wildlife conservation and animal cruelty projects, and HIV/AIDS fundraising. When that horrible fire spread through Appalachia this past winter, she managed to raise $9 million through a telethon. A telethon, y’all.

Courtesy of uwayknox.org

Courtesy of uwayknox.org

The Music

If you thought Whitney Houston (RIP)’s “I Will Always Love You” was an amazing song written for The Bodyguard, you’d be wrong. I think you see where this is going. Also, “Jolene” forever.

Her Sass, Her Golden Sass

Listen, Dolly ain’t having any trouble. She does her own thing in her own time in her own way. She doesn’t care if you think she’s had too much plastic surgery. She isn’t about to bring her husband (of decades) into the limelight to appease you. She’s funny as fuck and unapologetically into sparkles. I submit the following video for evidence.

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Candace Cui - Actual Unicorn

Candace Cui - Actual Unicorn

At age 2, I was getting run over by a bike in an alley in China. At age 8, I was avoiding man-o-wars on Tybee Island. At age 14, I was overdrinking sweet tea while running through the woods barefoot. At age 20, I was learning Art History and how to drop it low. At age 25, I was making fun of drum circles at Dolores. At every age, I am charming the fuck out of you. Just wait, it'll happen.