Women Who Hate Women – The Jolene Debate

When I was five years old, I was given a Barbie doll. This plastic arsehole followed me around for a large portion of my childhood and soon inflicted my peacefully forming brain with the image of the perfect woman. Since, I have willingly read women’s magazines and articles entitled, ‘How to make your body look great while having sex,’ ‘How to shed half your weight’ and ‘How to make him love you.’ I have looked at the hundreds of adverts that are designed to exploit my established self-loathing offering me surgery. I have been shown pictures of MASSIVE TITS while in the Co-op looking for milk and persuaded by endless billboards, cereal packets and Patsy Kensitalikes that I need to constantly modify the way I look.

This modification, this endless struggle, is perpetual and unrelenting. When we achieve the right size waist the our skin breaks into acne and starts to look grey from the lack of nutriants, when we start to age we are encouraged to get down to see a psychotic plastic surgeons who will say,’hmmmmm, yes I can see what you mean.

‘I have a friend whose 80 year-old Nanna bulk buys wrinkle cream! 80 YEARS OLD!

There are several female figures that represent the brainfucked impression of the ‘perfect woman’ today. Judging on my sorry experience I would say that, despite her enormous talent, Dolly Parton is certainly one who has taken the whole Barbie ting quite seriously. Parton should be about as appealing to all mankind as, well, um, a dolly. Massive tits, blowjob lips, skinny as fuck, porn nails and the hair of twenty-six bald Russian children. Dolly is the big mumma of all things OTT, she based her look on the founders of plasticated bowlegged dreamgurls and looks, pretty much the closest you can get to becoming a sex doll without having parts of your brain removed. But if we assume that Dolly Parton is everything that women should aspire to, if she is what we get on the Special K for, what we cut our bodies and spend hours choking on peroxide for, then how can she be in such a vulnerable position?

How is it possible for Dolly to be begging any woman not to take her man?

Jolene schmo-lene.

Surely there should be some kind of law that says, ‘if you look like we tell you to, then men will love you, fuck you and treat you like the plastic fantastic Godesses that you are.’ It’s just that, personally, I am not really willing to starve myself for my entire life if some ginger biatch is going to rob me of my reason for life anyway. How could a man want more than a walking, talking barbie, who cries every time you leave the house and dresses in fluffy nightgowns 96% of the time? Could Mr.Parton’s actions lead me to, for a second, entertain the idea that perhaps this isn’t what men want? Get to fuck! I mean really, could it be that men crave some kind of difference in a woman, someone who is strong enough, potent and real enough, to fill his dreams after an entirely satisfying night of fucking with Mrs. Double D?

I am not obsessing over the popular song ‘Jolene.’ I am not trying to find cryptic messages about whether my boyfriend is going to leave me by playing it backwards- what I am trying to consider though, is whether men are forced into fantasising over a certain kind of woman. And if they are, how far does this woman have to fall to meet his lack of expectations? Does the media’s vision of the modern man’s unwitting obsession with having his cock sucked by as many women as possible damage him? How does he feel about missing out on love?

What I want to contemplate now is something that I have been startled by since I began fighting my way up the ladder, treading of the corpses of other girls and then women so that I might find my Prince MuthafuckinCharming. It is not unusual to call a girl a bitch, a slag, a slut, whore, skank etc and it is quite a tired track to tread to talk about how fucking irritating it is that men get congratulated on their sexual promiscuity and we get berated. What I think is wacky is how much we are involved in this berating? Do you think that Jolene was a slut? Just because Dolly’s dumb squeeze was obsessing over Jolene, does that make Jolene a whore? I imagine that if my boyfriend was calling out someone else’s name in his sleep I would have words with him not her, but would I do that without looking her up on Facebook, sending one of her profile pictures where she looks slightly overweight to all my friends with the caption slutfuck underneath?

Perhaps we insult and bully other women because there is something that we cannot face in ourselves? Are our boyfriends having wet dreams over other women because we don’t have big enough boobs? Or are we putting socks in our bras and worse, sillicone under our skin, because we think that this is what men want, when really some scintillating conversation, companionship and love would do just fine?

Enthusiastic Daily Mail journalist Claudia Connell commented on the inate nature of our paranoia in her facsinatingly insightful article, ‘Why are there some women you just LOATHE the sight of?’ Hey Claudia, do tell: ‘Millions of years ago, a woman had to rely on her instinct to  survive. She needed to know that any woman she let into her life wasn’t going to club her over the head, steal her food or — worse — her man.’ What depresses me, truly depresses me, is the lack of self respect that I feel and that we seem to have as a sex. If a partner doesn’t want us, should we try to prevent him leaving? Shouldn’t we realise what we are worth? It doesn’t matter if we haven’t got the right blow job technique, or we’re scared to do it up the bum: we are amazing, wonderful beings! Is losing a man who hasn’t actually progressed from prehistoric, who hasn’t even got the courage or respect to tell us that his dick is talking to him, the worst thing that could happen? Worse than getting clubbed over the head or starving to death?

I’m guilty. I constantly feel like I am not enough, sometimes like I wouldn’t even blame my boyfriend if he went off with another woman because I hate my body and my face and the sound of my own voice so much. From my own personal experience, although some of you may not be quite as wacked out as me, I think that a lot of women feel the same. So where did this lack of confidence come from? What made us turn in on ourselves, hate ourselves, and blame a person who has never, ever made an oath to us, never told you that they love us, or touched us on our front bottoms and then cradled us to sleep.

Do women really hate women? Shouldn’t Dolly Parton have sung to her boyfriend rather than to Jolene? The obvious answer is that it is easier for Dolly to confront Jolene, it is easier to think that Jolene is a whore, it would be easier for Dolly to send Jolene hate-mail, to go to Jolene’s work with her girlmates and shout ‘slut bitch’ at Jolene, than to confront her love rat and ask him why she wasn’t enough for him. In reality I think that this is part of it, and Dolly’s beautiful song ‘Jolene’ is a tribute to that. The sound of Dolly’s mournfully pathetic warbling is enough to let us know that she understands as well as we all do deep down that it was really her Hank Jnr was the only one to blame for slipping out of his stonewashed dungarees.

I can’t believe that I am writing this but, perhaps, we can only stop hating each other when we stop hating ourselves. Easier said than done, especially for someone like me who has spent over 13 hours listening to Dolly Parton, but I think that it is time to pay ourselves some respect and to look inside at what is great and amazing, instead of outside at what kind of diamonds others are wearing to cover their nipples and their own insecurities.
Alice AshBy Alice Ash


6 Comments Add yours

  1. judisutherland says:

    Well, that’s really weird, Alice, if you feel like that because, well… look at you! Society / the media / the fashion industry / whoever has got us into a state of constant paranoia about how we look. They are preying on an innate human instinct to worry where we are in the monkey heirarchy, and when we were monkeys, we needed the attention of the alpha male for our safety and security. Now we should just go and get on with being alpha ourselves. FWIW I don’t think it is men who put the pressure on us, they are quite keen on women anyway, and lots of them swear they don’t really like skinny women. We have to ask ourselves, who aren’t we good enough for? (answer – nobody). We just shouldn’t fall for the media thing, which is all about selling us something, whether it is wrinkle cream or the Daily Mail. Or a Dolly Parton album.

  2. Joe says:

    Thirteen hours listening to Dolly Parton. Christ, that must have been a complete mind fuck. Despite been for analytical purposes of course. The illusive source of this ‘ideal type’ is only to foster further sales for magazines and similar formats by tapping into the insecurities that we all have, whether male or female (I’ve been guilty of buying Men’s Health before, despite knowing fully before purchase that it just contains the same regurgitated bollocks as the previous copy and the copy before that). This ‘ideal type’ is, unfortunately, something adhered to by the women out here in Bulgaria. It seems that the Barbie image is relentlessly aspired to and any amount hair extensions, fake tan and eyelashes are not obstacles inhibiting their desire to achieve this look. Very sad. Despite some absurd fashion trends, I think we’re quite fortunate to live in Brighton where people seem to have adopted more confidence in their self image.

  3. linda says:

    Ms. Parton has psychological problems but she is a very fine soul. Please google all the things she has done for others. She was dirt poor & her first impressions of beauty stuck with her. Please at least have some compassion for her. She is really like all the women of her generation – beauty was held out as the worth of women – nothing else- and she has suffered just as we all have- with the insecurity & demands for perfection that come from society & for her it has become obsessive. That is the reason for the surgeries.She adopted the Backwoods Barbie personna for complicated reasons that she could use a therapist to disentangle. Her heart is pure and she is a fine soul.Those of us who see her heart love her.

  4. linda says:

    I guess I was a little off-topic., I wanted to say that Ms. Parton is also a victim of the Barbie propaganda.She has taken it to an obsessive level that has become a mental health issue. Those of us who can see the real person underneath are sad that she is going further and further and not getting counselling. She obviously does not realize her role in perpetuating the problem & those of us who see the real person are sad that she is suffering and getting no help. My own situation led to anorexia & self-hatred that only the passing of some years and top-notch counselling have assuaged. I am still working on it ! And trying to understand what to do about the plight of women. I formed a close relationship with my Dad and he is wise, I think. He said that of course many men operate on an animal level because of hormones but there are still some who wish to exist on a more refined level – that he maintained faithfulness in spite of many temptations because of the love he has for my mom and the respect he has for their relationship and that women should look for the man who is mature enough to want real love. He thinks the worst mistake women make is to marry for primarily sexual attraction. He said that it is not necessary to obsess about appearance That women are the better sex and should feel secure in their own worth with or without a man and let him come to you and win your approval rather than seeking it yourself. If he is not worthy, you would not want him anyway. To be selective and realize that you have worth with or without a man. A revolutionary concept for me. The obsessing I did over my appearance came more from my mother’s low self-esteem (from a cold, abusive family) and preoccupation with looks rather than my dad’s. I did not really know my dad that well. He was dealing with some serious problems of his own. I wish I had ! He turned out to be a treasure ! I often wish that the actresses in Hollywood would form their own group & say that they refuse to play the stupid perfection game any more,are fine as they are,, take it or leave it, and that their talent is what matters. That is is ok to be just who you are. If enough of them did, the suits would have to hire them anyway.That would have a chain-reaction extending to women across the country. Right now so many of them out there are getting procedures done that they are beginning to resemble the walking dead. Someone has to stand up and fight it – in enough numbers to be effective. The mania for procedures out there is making intelligent women look stupid. It has spread like a virus among people you once thought were very bright ! It is as if a fake face is preferable to an actual human face. If that is true, what has the country come to ?? Or to be more exact, what has the standard fallen to ? And the irony is that many of their faces do not move and so they cannot express emotion !! And directors are having trouble casting character roles and roles for women in their 40s or 50s. and older.Everyone is beginning to look the same– of indeterminate age !!!

  5. linda says:

    On the subject of Dolly Parton, I just discovered her a few months ago myself and have been trying to read up on her to get a feel for her philosophy. She was a self-starter and an independent woman who worked very hard to attain what she has attained. She is also a shrewd business woman. Some point to what they see as feminist principles in her life as exemplified now, but she always was on her own years ago and had (has?) and unusual marriage. She decided to use her physical attributes to help make the fortune she had dreamed of making, but doesn’t seem to be able to let go of the act now. For instance, her breasts cause very, very bad back pain, but she feels like they are her trademark and so far has not had them reduced. She has had to cancel tour dates due to back pain. She visualized what she planned to do (musically) throughout her childhood. She left her town the day after she graduated high school and never went back. Her career was paramount in her life – she was very determined – and married a man who did not like the spotlight, wanted to do his own thing and wanted her to do what she wanted to do. Country music was her background, and there were a lot of sad songs sung then. But that was fifty years ago and things have changed for women ! In fact, she was one of the ones opening the door for female performers in her genre. Assertiveness is part of women in country music now. She knew she could have made more money if she would change her look but for some reason clung to it. She had been writing songs since a small child and played many instruments well. She felt as though she wanted to be a conduit for the pain of others who could not express their own and said “I keep my heart open, which makes me vulnerable, but that is my job as a writer.” Many people say they do not like country music but are able to listen to Dolly’s songs. She is known to be an actress who takes on the emotion of a song as though she is experiencing it herself and actually is very convincing. She has a very unusual soprano voice which can go from soft to extremely sharp and fills a room. She really needs no accompaniment.. She once was asked if she might do opera if she had the training. As her life changed, so did the tenor of many of her songs, although she felt she had to include some of the melancholy ones too. If you look at some of her stuff in the pop realm – she did cross over – It is upbeat and great music. She can do a lot of different styles. She has written a lot of songs that make you feel good and that are assertive.
    If she had stayed in Pop, all of her music would have been of that type but she felt a certain allegiance to her background. For that reason, many have not heard of her because her talent was showcased in an area not given all that much attention by mainstream media. She has some songs which you could call feminist in flavor and content. She is a very independent, self-made woman in every way, and she is also a philanthropist. If it had not been for the “trashy” Barbie image, people would have recognized her gifts much more, but unfortunately she feels it is part of her personna and says it is the way she feels most comfortable, so I guess that it is not a topic up for discussion. She is in the songwriters hall of fame – has written 3000-4000 songs, some of which have been hits for others. She has been given the Medal of the Arts – the highest award the government bestows, & has been recognized as a national treasure in the preservation of the cultural past of America. She received the Kennedy Center Award, and countless others for her music and philanthropy. She financed a theme park in her home town to provide jobs. She has a program that is now international of giving every child a book a month until the age of five to be sure that they learn to read early and enjoy it. Although not educated beyond high school, she is a constant reader and believes that even if she is not well-educated that she can educate herself. Those sad songs of years ago told a story at that time, but certainly do not represent the woman of today. If you look back to Jolene, you encounter a song written fifty years ago or more. And she may have been writing about someone else’s attitude or story. She is a storyteller and many of her songs are and were about others’ experiences. She is known as smart,,kind, humble, humorous, spiritual but not religious and accepting of everyone. She has said she wants to make the world a better place & her recent album attempts that. An all-around great role model if she could master the Barbie hang-up problem. Everyone is so sorry she can’t change that and all try to look beyond the strange obsession with plastic surgery and gaudiness to her good works & to her inner being, She is beloved in your country by many even though getting older for her unusual talent, humor and positive and loving attitude. The inner child is still there as is her voice so she wants to continue.
    A reporter interviewing her in Liverpool a few years ago sat fairly close to her & remarked that in that proximity to her, he could feel a great deal of love coming from her, and that it was a nice feeling.
    . A journalist in the US remarked on the same thing years ago. The reporter said to his partner at that time, “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I believe Dolly Parton has healing powers.” He felt quite uplifted in her presence and kind of enveloped. He said it was not a sexual thing. I think they were feeling the energy of her aura. I’m glad I heard about this person and some of her music (some of it is quite beautiful.)

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