I feel like the world has never been more divided. You’ve got “Red” on one side, “Blue” on the other and no one in the middle.
We are no longer listening to each other. We aren’t engaging with the opposition and everyone seems like, well, a politician. When was the last time you saw two people with completely opposing political views standing next to each other peacefully?
Oh, that’s right—at a Dolly Parton concert.
A country music icon, Parton has managed to navigate through the celebrity world as an A-list singer/songwriter, without having a political opinion. This is truly unheard of.
This isn’t to say that Parton doesn’t have opinions. She has helped lead a working class women’s movement, with her acting, singing and songwriting of the hit 1980’s movie 9 To 5. This movie, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin as well as Parton herself, focused on hardworking women wanting to be treated better in the workplace. This came at a time when women were extremely frustrated with their lack of rights. The theme song became an anthem for gender equality.
When this movie was readapted to Broadway, she told the red carpet in London, “It’s as relevant now as it was before, and with the #metoo movement this is a good time for it.”
She stands up for women, but never really calls herself a feminist. She is constantly crediting the men in her life, and has the motto that everyone should be treated equally.
Parton’s lack of political position comes at a very interesting time for the world. We are constantly trying to find public figures to lead us. We must like musicians that stand for a good cause, support comedians that are breaking barriers and make sure that like-minded people are the only ones allowed in our echochamber. Parton takes this concept and destroys it. Her diverse fans love her work, her brand and most of all, her. Most are not worried about what she stands for.
She explained to Jad Abumrad in his Podcast Dolly Parton’s America that it’s too much pressure to have a political opinion.
I hope I don’t let people down,” Parton told Abumrad. “They’ve put me up on this pedestal, I hope they don’t knock me off of it.”
Parton has been frustrated in the past with interviewers and the media constantly asking her about her political opinions. In 2017, when Trump had been in office for just under a year, Parton, Fonda and Tomlin all presented an award at the Emmys. The other women, being the powerful activists they are, made a pointed statement directed at the President. Dolly was expected to follow suit, but instead, she decided to make a boob joke.
“I didn’t like it,” Parton told Abumrad. “I had already told Jane and Lili that I wasn’t going to get into the politics of anything. I don’t do politics. I have too many fans on both sides of the fence.”
Whether or not you agree with Parton’s apolitical nature, it works for her. She is an incredible business woman and knows how to work the system. We cannot deny that her neutrality has helped her make a buck. By staying out of political discussions and navigating show business, she has unified two worlds in a way that we haven’t seen before.
There truly is no one like her.
Graphic by @sundaeghost