Dolly Parton is all for equal rights and equal pay between men and women, but she won't go so far as to label herself a feminist. While the 73-year-old acknowledges she has been the unfortunate victim of sexual harassment, she isn't ready to cast all the blame on the opposite gender.
"I come from a family of six brothers, so I understand men and I’ve known more good men than bad men," Parton told The Guardian. "It’s a man’s world, and it’s not their fault any more than it is just life and … we have allowed it to happen. I think people now see that we’re here, and women are very important, and they need us, just as we need the men. But if someone was getting real aggressive with me, I’d scream or throw something at them. But, of course, I’ve been hit on – I’ve probably hit on some people myself!”
Parton is proud to support other women, but only in her own way.
"I must be [a feminist] if being a feminist means I’m all for women, yes," explained the singer. "But I don’t feel I have to march, hold up a sign or label myself. I think the way I have conducted my life and my business and myself speaks for itself. I don’t think of it as being feminist. It’s not a label I have to put on myself. I’m just all for gals."
Parton is promoting the musical version of her 1980 classic hit movie 9 to 5, with co-stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. But the Country Music Hall of Fame member makes it clear that while she considers the two women her good friends, she decidedly does not agree with some of their political comments. Case in point: when the two women made a joke at the 2017 Emmy Awards, with Parton standing between them, that women were still refusing "to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying hypocritical bigot," Parton was appalled.
"Well, it was not a surprise, knowing Lily and Jane," admitted Parton. "I just did not want everybody to think that whatever they think is what I think. I don’t really like getting up on TV and saying political things. I don’t even want to make a deal out of it, but I want people to know I’m my own individual self.
"Even though [Fonda, Tomlin and I] may agree on a whole lot of things – and they may have more agreement [between] themselves because they’ve been together for longer – I still have my own thoughts and my own way of doing things," she continued. "It’s not a matter of being disrespectful, it’s just, OK, that’s what they said, I’m not getting involved in it."
Whether or not Parton agreed with her friends, she would not say, insisting she will speak out only if it is important to her.
"I don’t like to be known by the company I keep, so to speak," Parton explained. "I want to be my own individual self. If I’ve got something to say, I’ll say it, but I don’t want to be dragged into it."
Parton has maintained a strict policy on not speaking out about anything controversial for more than 50 years, and has no plans of changing her stance on that anytime soon.
“I enjoy what I do,” Parton maintained. “I enjoy being loved – I love that. I always ask God to let me shine a light and uplift mankind because that is my purpose. I look fake, but my world is real to me.”
Photo Credit: Getty images/Jason LaVeris