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Dolly Parton Reveals She Was Physically Abused By Grandfather For Clothing Choices

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The 77-year-old artist is well-known for her bold fashion.

American singer Dolly Parton has revealed that she was physically punished by her grandfather for her choice of clothing, in an interview with The Guardian. The 77-year-old artist, who is well-known for her bold fashion, make-up and style stated that she modelled herself on the “town tramp”, a move her dad and preacher grandfather scolded her for.

“I was willing to pay for it. I’m very sensitive, 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,” she told the outlet. 

Even though she was subjected to abuse, she never tried to change who she was. Discussing her song “Sacrifice” from her 2011 album ‘Better Day’, she said that the song’s emotional lyrics “summed up” her perspective. She told The Guardian, “And it kind of sums it up. It says, ‘I was gonna be rich no matter how much it cost / And I was going to win no matter how much I lost / Down through the years I’ve kept my eye on the prize / And you ask if it’s worth the sacrifice.’ I think it is, for me.”

Ms Parton also discussed the sense of style she envisioned when she was growing up-“a woman who wore high heels and tight skirts”, which was later modelled as “town tramp”. She stated that she would always look for people who dressed up like this whenever she would go on trips. “She was flamboyant. She had bright red lipstick, long red fingernails. She had high-heeled shoes, little floating plastic goldfish in the heels of them, short skirts, low-cut tops, and I just thought she was beautiful. When people would say, ‘She ain’t nothing but trash,’ I would always say, ‘Well, that’s what I’m gonna be when I grow up,” the ” Jolene” artist added describing the look. 

She also spoke about how people initially didn’t take her dressing sense seriously which also underestimated her. “My look came from a very serious place. That’s how I thought I looked best. Sometimes that’s worked for me, sometimes it can work against you. It took me probably years longer to be taken serious, but I wasn’t willing to change it, and I figured if I had the talent, it’d show up sooner or later,” she told The Guardian.

The “Here You Come Again” artist claimed that for her, “town tramp” represented a different identity. She grew up in Tennessee, United States, where women were “worn down” by years of child-bearing and rearing. That is when she decided that she did not want to live a life like that.   Ms Parton even stated that her mother had birthed 12 children by the age of 35. “I did not want that for myself. My mom and my aunts – I grew up with women knowing how to be good mothers, but that was just not what I felt God had in mind for me. Because somebody’s got to entertain those people, to write songs about them. I can write a song as if I had a house full of kids, I can write a song as if I’ve got a cheating husband, even though I never did. But I know what it’s like; I’ve seen it, been around it. There’s no thing in this world that’s foreign to me, that I don’t get or understand,” she said.