HomeEntertainmentMusicCountry MusicShania Twain Opens Up About How ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ Became a Pop Culture Sensation

Shania Twain Opens Up About How ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ Became a Pop Culture Sensation

by Taylor Cunningham
Shania Twain Grammys 1999
Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect.

Shania Twain’s 1997 hit, Man! I Feel Like a Woman! brought Twain from star status to mega-star status in the late 1990s, and the song has lasted through the years to become one of the most iconic country songs in history. In a recent interview, the Grammy-winning singer explained just how it became a pop culture sensation. Simply put, it’s an anthem for every single person who hears it.

“It’s like everyone’s song,” Twain told Vice. “And they all take ownership of it in a different way even regardless for what the song stands for and represents and has come to represent.”

The song was a personal a “statement” that Twain felt compelled to share after dealing with low self-esteem and body issues as a teenager and young woman. The lyrics are a testament to her newfound identity and ssexuality.

What she didn’t consider at the time was that when people listened, they would attach their own stories to the lyrics.

“It was so obvious. The song was about a liberated, independent human being,” she said. “A person celebrating [their] own spirit. And I felt it all through the songwriting.”

The Music Video Turbo Charged Shania Twain’s Career

But writing and recording the tune wasn’t enough to truly depict Twain’s intentions. The rest came from the legendary music video, which was a spin on Robert Palmer’s Simply Irresistible. That’s what elevated Man! I Feel Like a Woman to the status it holds today.

“A great music video can always put the artist over the top,” said Marc Bouwer, the fashion designer and stylist for the video, who noted that the lyrics instantly resonated with him as a member of the LGBTQ community. “So this little country girl became a star. Because not only did she have the country audience, she crossed over into pop.”

Luke Lewis, former president of Mercury Records in Nashville, which was Shania Twain’s label at the time, said that the video turned on “the turbo” for Twain. She had already been a hitmaker. But the video added “magic.”

From that point on, the singer set a new standard for country music, and that standard still stands today.

“There’s always been love songs and there’s always been cheating songs and drinking songs and train songs and pain songs. But there hasn’t been anything close to Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” Lewis said.

Even after nearly 40 years in the industry, Shania Twain still considers Man! I Feel Like a Woman her “signature” song. But the pride she has for the single doesn’t just come from its massive success. It also stems from the unique feeling it gives her fans.

“This song was absorbed by a global audience, which changed things for me as an artist, of course. I’m part of pop culture,” she added. “It wasn’t a courageous thing to write this sort of statement. But once I said it, then like, this is a very satisfying thing to say—’Man! I feel like a woman.”