Dolly Parton turns 77!

Dolly Parton Talks Getting 'Whipped' Over Unique Style: 'Didn't Like Being Disciplined'

Home / Top Stories / Dolly Parton Talks Getting 'Whipped' Over Unique Style: 'Didn't Like Being Disciplined'

By Favour Adegoke on October 9, 2023 at 10:53 PM EDT
Updated on October 10, 2023 at 12:56 AM EDT

Iconic country music legend Dolly Parton revealed her resilience in defying those who tried to dictate her choices.

She disclosed, during a candid interview, how her grandfather and father "scolded" and "whipped" her because of the kind of clothes she chose to wear.

Parton noted that despite being pushed back, she was "willing" to pay the price and endure the pain to live her authentic life.

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Dolly Parton Was 'Scolded' & 'Whipped' For Her Style

Dolly Parton at the 2022 Academy of Country Music Awards Arrivals - Las Vegas

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Dolly Parton opened up about her determination to defy anyone who tried to dictate her choices, including her clothing.

Parton confessed that her father and preacher grandfather, Reverend Jake Owens, disapproved of her fashion sense and even resorted to physical discipline over her attire. However, despite the pain it caused her, Parton noted that she "was willing to pay for it."

The 77-year-old acknowledged her sensitivity, saying, "I didn't like being disciplined – it hurt my feelings so bad to be scolded or whipped or whatever. But sometimes there's just that part of you that's willing, if you want something bad enough, to go for it."

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Dolly Parton arrives at the 57th ACM Awards in Las Vegas
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While speaking on her unique fashion sense, Parton said, "I've been at this so long, I've worn some of the most bizarre things – my hairdos have always been so out there. When you think you look good, then you look back on it, like, what was I thinking?"

Parton also revealed that her signature style was inspired by the local "town tramp" she admired as a child. "She was flamboyant with bright red lipstick, long red fingernails, high-heeled shoes with little plastic goldfish in the heels, short skirts, and low-cut tops. I just thought she was beautiful," Parton recalled. 

She vowed to be like her when she grew up, even when others criticized the woman as "nothing but trash."

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Dolly Parton Shares Her Mother's Advice To Be True To 'Thine Own Self'

Dolly Parton at the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards

Parton revealed that she faced opposition from her family and record label executives who wanted her to change her appearance. To this, the "Jolene" singer emphasized her commitment to being authentic.

"I've always been true to myself," Parton stated, recalling essential advice from her mother. "That was what my mama always used to say: to thine own self be true. I put a lot of stock in that. Everything I do, whether it's my personality, how I conduct myself and business, or whatever, if I do it my way, according to what I understand and believe, there's a strength in that. You can think, 'I can stand by this, I can live by this.'"

While she acknowledges that people's opinions did matter to her, she never cared enough to compromise her true self.

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Dolly Parton Faced Biases In Her Career

Dolly Parton Steps Down From Her Homecoming Parade After 32 Years

Parton, who boasts an empire worth over £400 million, admitted to The Guardian that she faced gender-based biases in her career, where her looks initially overshadowed her talents. 

"It took me probably years longer to be taken seriously," she said. "I wasn't willing to change it, and I figured if I had the talent, it'd show up sooner or later."

Parton also addressed sexism in the industry, asserting her ability to navigate a male-dominated environment and put a man "in his place" when needed.

When asked if she ever encountered harassment, the "Coat of Many Colors" singer replied, "Oh, I did, but I always knew how to put a man in his place without making him feel bad. If sometimes that don't work, I'm also strong as a boy – I know how to push you off and get the hell away from you."

She has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, with around 3,000 songs written and over 100 million records sold worldwide.

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Dolly Parton Says Would Rather Drop Dead Than Retire

Dolly Parton at Glastonbury Festival 2014

With six decades in the music industry, Parton declared in July during an interview on Greatest Hits Radio that she would "rather drop dead" than retire. "I would never retire," she said. "I would hopefully drop dead in the middle of a song on stage someday – and hopefully one I've written – but that's how I hope to go."

"I don't have much of a choice in that but in the meantime, I'm going to make hay while the sun shines," Parton added.

She emphasized her determination to continue performing despite her scaled back work schedule. Parton clarified that although she won't tour extensively anymore, she occasionally participates in particular shows, long weekends, or festivals.

"But as far as touring, I think those days are pretty much behind me... you have to stay gone so long on a tour to make it productive and prosperous, and that's a lot of time at my age – I ain't got no years to waste," she said.

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