A Dolly Parton College Course Exists and Now We Want to Go Back to School

by Madison Miller

For those working their 9 to 5, going back to school to take a Dolly Parton course has never sounded more appealing.

A college professor at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida has started to teach a college course on all things Dolly Parton. Sadly, the course doesn’t teach students how to become as amazing and successful as Parton. Rather, it is connecting her music to a more grand scheme.

Parton College Course

Dolly Parton has 10 Grammys, over 3,000 songs, and has sold over 100 million records, but why teach a college course on the country music legend? In Parton’s music are lessons on anything from gender to class to race relations to economics to representation.

Her song “9 to 5,” for example, is all about class and learning to overcome the difficulties of living in a corporate world. The professor, Grace Lager, wanted her students to focus on something that would bring current issues out comfortably.

“We had a lot of things going on in our country. These are issues that our students want to talk about and need to talk about, and it’s uncomfortable. But music seems to be a salve,” Lager said, according to CMT.

NPR has a podcast called “Dolly Parton’s American.” This podcast looks to answer a seemingly simple question, why does everyone agree on Dolly Parton? The podcast looks into the historical and musical analysis of why Parton is an undisputed public icon.

Lager was blown away by just how much Parton’s music allows people to talk about.

“I was blown away by the cultural issues they were covering — gender, class, race — and that Dolly Parton was somebody who was able to address these issues through her music.”

Lager assigns anything from readings, episodes of the podcast, analyzing Dolly’s appearance over the years, and an analysis of her song lyrics. One student said that through the class they learn “progression, freedom, forgiveness, and the way forward.”

Dolly Parton on Gender Issues

While her music speaks for her, Parton has been vocal about a lot of different societal issues over the years. She is also a charitable person. Parton has donated to fund the COVID-19 vaccine research. She also started the Imagination Library, which gets books to children in need.

However, as a powerhouse leading lady, Parton has talked a lot on gender issues.

In 2019, she joined the cast of “9 to 5 The Musical” in the hope that the show would help shine a light on this country’s issue with sexual misconduct and gender inequality. It is a remake of the original 1980 film that Parton said did a lot of good back then.

“It (the film) really paved the way and things did change but there’s still a lot more to be done. With … people drawing attention again to equal pay, equal work, harassment in the workplace, this is just another good way for us to shine a light on some things that need to be lit up a little,” Parton said to Reuters.

The show featured herself and original cast members, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

Dolly Parton has done a lot to help shine a light on the entertainment business and how women are treated. Parton herself has spent over 40 years in the business and has helped pave the way for herself and other women.

Parton told Reese Witherspoon on her show, “Shine On,” that, “So many things need to be improved on still. You need to be paid for what you do, you need to be respected for what you do. You need to be appreciated for what you do.”