Feminism and Dolly in 2019

Are you listening to this?

It’s incredible, and about so much more than Dolly Parton.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Dolly.

After more than six decades in the spotlight, Dolly Parton has become a cultural touchstone to multiple generations.

Her fans cross demographic lines from crusty octogenarians to ebullient drag performers to emerging fourth wave feminists.

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Young Dolly, image via Pinterest

This nine part podcast digs deep, and the first episode centers around feminism and Dolly.

Not giving away much here, but at one point, Dolly was asked point blank if she was a feminist, to which she replied “No.”

As someone who often wears a “Wild Feminist” shirt – among other apparel – I briefly felt like Dolly let me down.

The producers seemed to agree.

But here’s where this podcast is so brilliant: the disappointment with that answer was then discussed in a meaningful way, and in the end the thesis is that Dolly is a feminist without calling herself one.

My favorite quote from the episode: “There are feminists in theory. And there are feminists in practice.”

I can’t wait for the rest.

Jackalope Tattoo

While I’m not looking to be inked any time soon, I was fascinated by this recent public radio story about Jackalope Tattoo, a Minneapolis, MN, tattoo studio that employs all female artists.

Even though more women (23%) than men (19%) currently sport ink, Jackalope is one of very few shops in the U.S. with only women employees.

Their online tattoo gallery is absolutely fabulous. You’ve got to see some of the designs to believe them.

Can I even express how much my inner feminist loves this place?

Who Needs Feminism?

Short answer: All of us.

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to attend a powerful lecture given by Dr. Eve Espey, and it was one of the best I’ve ever heard.

The talk wove together elements of reproductive rights, the history of contraception and the women’s movement. 

While this was only a small part of the presentation, I was deeply moved by images from Who Needs Feminism?, an online project started by Duke University students to challenge stereotypes about feminism and assert its importance today.

Some of the submissions are provocative, others disheartening. Some are funny. You can view the Tumblr site here.

Here are a few examples:

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This was one of my favorites:


One More Thing, #19

Yesterday I posted a picture of an inspirational t shirt I bought from Fellow Flowers.

Yet I neglected to mention this: They also had shirts in kid sizes.

To be more specific, girl sizes.

I bought this for Trixie:


I usually don’t get too worked up with stuff like this (Hear me roar!), but something happened over the weekend that really brought this message home.

I had just finished running nearly 20 miles of races over two days and headed back to my hotel for a much-needed shower and an obligatory nap.

When I got there, I discovered that the resort was also hosting a “modeling competition.”

There were hundreds of coltish, teenaged (Pre-teen? I can’t even tell anymore) waifs tottering about in shoes that they had no business wearing.

And I felt sad.

The dichotomy of going from one event that was so empowering to one that seemed to be the polar opposite was hard to handle.

I’m going to make Trixie wear this shirt until it’s in tatters.