I describe my look as a blend of Mother Goose, Cinderella, and the local hooker! – Dolly Parton
We recently discussed contacting celebrities to support the cause of decriminalization, and I couldn’t help thinking about Dolly Parton, who turns 65 today. Dolly has never hidden her admiration for prostitutes, and in fact has said on multiple occasions that she patterned her look on the dress and grooming of the hookers of her small Tennessee hometown. She has even stated that her first crush was on one of these professional ladies: “I thought she was beautiful. She had more hair, more color, more everything.”
The look perhaps succeeded too well at first; as Dolly explained to David Letterman in an April 2009 appearance on his show, she and a friend were mistaken for streetwalkers on her second visit to New York in 1968. “We booked into this hotel near 42nd, that’s where all the prostitutes run and they ran in pairs for safety and we looked like we might be them. I still had the big hair, looking trashy like I do.” While walking near Times Square, the girls were approached by a man who refused to be denied, thus provoking a confrontation: “We were just country girls and our daddies had given us both a gun when we left home… I said, ‘Look, if you touch me one more time, I’m going to shoot you.'” But even after the would-be client had given up, the hotel staff continued the harassment: “They had locked us out of our room. They thought we were turning tricks. Our luggage was in the hall…It was a bad, bad experience. I didn’t come back here for years and years.”
The bad experience didn’t move her to change her look, though, nor did it discourage her from playing the part of Madam Mona Stangley in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, nor from making several pro-prostitution comments during promotional appearances for the film (which ridicules moralists who start a crusade to close down an established and well-respected brothel). In addition to these specifically pro-whore comments she often says that she doesn’t believe in judging anyone for the way they live their lives, and though she’s never posed nude she doesn’t see a problem in accentuating her own amazing anatomy or even appearing on the cover of Playboy in a bunny costume. And then there were these comments she made to a British reporter four years ago:
As she opened a children’s library, the Nine to Five superstar dropped a tantalising hint that she enjoyed an open marriage with her husband Carl Dean. Miss Parton, 61, claimed it was “very good for both of us” if she or her spouse cheated on each other. And she also admitted she looked like a “hooker” and admired the way prostitutes dressed when she was a teenager.
When asked if her marriage of 41 years was open, Miss Parton replied: “If we cheat we don’t know it, so if we do cheat, it’s very good for both us. “I don’t want to know it, if he’s cheating on me. If I’m cheating on him, he wouldn’t want to know it. And if we do, if that’s what’s making it work, then that’s fine too.”
As if all that weren’t enough, she’s an avid supporter of gay rights and came out in favor of gay marriage just over a year ago: “I’m not a poster child for gay rights by any means,” Parton says. “But I have so many gay and lesbian friends and they’re just so pure and so true. That’s not politics to me. That’s human rights.” Considering how much that sounds like our slogan, “Sex worker rights are human rights,” perhaps it’s time for a delegation to approach the Queen of Country about speaking out in our favor. She’s never shied away from speaking her mind about anything before, so I can’t imagine why she should start now.