To begin I wish to put forth my hypothesis: the Southern Belle archetype is one of the most powerful female archetypes on the face of the planet. This is based upon the theory of social influence overtaking political power and being what truly guides our civilization. For example most pieces of media put this archetype forward as someone that needs protecting because they aren’t seen as the brightest and are simply a good looking bimbo who fulfills the ‘traditional’ gender role. I beg to differ, I think that if they realize what they are then a Southern Belle can be an absolute genius that overtakes just about everything. As such I present my case study for this article: Dolly Parton.
Let me ask you, can you name anyone you know who hasn’t heard of Miss Parton? I think you will be hard pressed to do so as her brand has become such a household name in most of North America. Especially if you happen to live in Eastern Tennessee, she has her hands in just about everything in this particular area. My son in fact, due to her Imagination Library, gets a free book once a month, this being an obvious charitable tax write off for her and her family. Even going into her 70s at this point she is still seen as a viable act when most women who get up into her age range don’t get to. I believe this to be due to her intelligence.
Her success and ability to also have a family making her an ideal feminist role model yes? Of this I’m not so certain. Due to her southern belle image she is typically looked down upon because of her reinforcement of gender role ideas that they don’t like. As we’ve come to expect though third wave feminists don’t comprehend anything connected to reality. Take into account Dollywood, the theme park built in her hometown thirty years ago (Which is when I was born, odd to share a birth year with a tourist trap.) Or the fact that she pulled it off after having been a singer for 20 years.
Personally, I don’t like country music but far be it for me to say she has no talents other than her physique. She earned her first grammy at 31 years old in 1977, ten years after her debut as part of a duo on a country/western variety show. Then during the 1980s she gained the bulk of her success and accolades. Saving every single bit she could and took advantage of whatever opportunity beset her all the way up until she was made part of the “Country Music Hall of Fame” at the turn of the millennium. She didn’t even bother marrying up either, another thing that feminists might have some qualms with since she got married a year before starting her career and stuck with the guy to this day.
What did all of this get her in the end? A career that seems to be unending, a highly successful resort out of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee next to her native Sevierville. A well known and highly respected philanthropic venture that benefits both boys and girls. As well as the image of a penultimate matron figure to tens of thousands across North America. Not to mention a foundation through the previously mentioned Dollywood name that raises money for AIDS research. But not everything is perfect, she doesn’t have children of her own and has Miley Cyrus as a goddaughter. I could imagine the headaches from that realization.
So then with that in mind I bring this down to my final point. Dolly Parton started her career with the image and air of the Southern Belle, honing it to a precise art and had managed to use it along with her wits to make a multimedia empire that to this day affects the lives of millions. If that isn’t a scary amount of power and prestige then I don’t know what is. She has evolved herself over the past 30 years to be the image of an untouchable and saintly matron who is known and respected throughout the Western world. She is the image of “can do no wrong”. If you doubt her power ask yourself this, would you risk fucking with Dolly Parton?
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