Gals with Gumption - Dolly Parton Edition

Gumption. What a funny sounding word. Especially for a word that has such a big meaning. I heard a sermon one time that defined gumption as the power to commit and complete. Not an easy thing to do, finish something that you started. Sometimes even just the committing part is hard! If you were to describe someone with gumption you may also say that they are persistent, probably brave, strong for sure. I would also say someone with gumption has grit, someone who digs in. 

In this blog I'd like to highlight a few women that I think have gumption. Starting with Dolly Parton. I may be Georgia raised, but I was Tennesse Dolly Parton. In fact, east Tennessee not far at all from where Dolly grew up. Maybe that is part of why I am partial to her. I love to hear her talk, there is certainly some nostalgia to her voice and accent for me. It always makes me think of my grandma or Aunt Marcia.

But the Tennesse twang in her voice isn't what puts her at the top of my Gals with Gumption list. It's her character. She is a woman who is unapologetic about who she is. At the same time, she is kind. Incredibly kind. She has spent her career being laser focused on where she is going and hasn't gotten distracted by what other wanted from her, wanted her to be or didn't want her to be. 

One of the most inspirational things I have heard her say (and there are so many) is in an interview with Barbra Walters back in 1977. In the interview Barbra Walters is sort of drilling her about wearing wigs and the clothes she wears and asks her if she "ever feels she is a joke, that people make fun of her".

Dolly responds with "I know they make fun of me, but actually all these years the people, you know, have thought the joke is on me but it's actually been on the public. I know exactly what I'm doing and can change it at any time. 

I make more jokes about myself than anybody...

Like I said, I am sure of myself as a person. I am sure of my talent. And I'm sure of my love for life and that sort of thing. I'm very content. I like the kind of person that I am. So, I can afford to piddle around and do-diddle around with makeup and clothes and stuff because I am secure with myself."

If you don't know who the woman who was interviewing Dolly is, she is a very respected reporter especially at the time of this interview. She was someone with power, influence and certainly intelligence. She would've been someone that could've been intimidating. But Dolly wasn't intimidated. In the face of a mean girl, she stayed true to herself. She stood her ground, firmly and directly. But did it a very respectful, classy and kind way. 

Dolly has moved through fame and fortune and has done it with her character intact. That is someone with gumption. 

Check out the interview for yourself:

Dolly Parton Interview With Rude and Patronizing Barbara Walters - YouTube


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