Term of Award
Master of Arts in History (M.A.)
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (open access)
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department of History
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
With a career that has spanned over five decades, country music artist Dolly Parton has continually redefined her image and her music to remain relevant. By incorporating the musical and lyrical stylings of disco and other popular music genres into her songs, Parton moved beyond music’s color line to increase her popularity as an artist. This thesis shows how Parton established a distinct career that catered to different audiences as she traversed the musical color line and repackaged what feminism looked like to country music fans during the Women’s Movement of the 1960s. Placing Parton’s actions in conversation with music’s color line demonstrates how she embraced racial and musical diversity, not just within her music, but also on her television shows of the late 1970s and 1980s. This analysis also examines Parton’s career in relation to the Women’s Movement by looking at the ways in which she used her position and popularity as a country and crossover entertainer to chip away at the traditional structure of country music. Parton presented herself as a more palatable feminist to country music fans and used her image as the genre’s buxom blonde to distract her audience from her messages of gender equality. Through this combination, Parton challenged traditional racial, cultural, and gender boundaries within country music but at other times and for different reasons she conformed to them.
Hammers, Lindsey L. "The Parton Paradox: A History of Race and Gender in the Career of Dolly Parton." Master's thesis, Georgia Southern University, 2017.
Research Data and Supplementary Material
African American Studies Commons, American Popular Culture Commons, Cultural History Commons, Film and Media Studies Commons, History of Gender Commons, Music Performance Commons, Social History Commons, Television Commons, United States History Commons, Women's History Commons, Women's Studies Commons