The Story of... 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman' by Shania Twain

8 March 2022, 09:12

Shania Twain's iconic music video
Shania Twain's iconic music video. Picture: Mercury Nashville

By Tom Eames

It's one of the biggest female empowerment anthems of all time, and it's always guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Shania Twain scored a massive hit with this dancefloor favourite in the late 1990s around the world, and helped cement her as one of the biggest popstars on the planet.

But what inspired the country pop classic and just how big of a hit was it? Here's all the big facts behind the song:

  1. Who wrote 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman'?

    Shania Twain And Husband Mutt Lange in 2000
    Shania Twain And Husband Mutt Lange in 2000. Picture: Getty

    The song was written by Shania Twain and her longtime collaborator and then-husband Robert John 'Mutt' Lange, who also produced the track.

    It was the eighth single from the super-massive Come on Over album, and it was released in March 1999.

    Come on Over was a cultural phenomenon. Released in late 1997, it became the best-selling country album, the best selling album by a Canadian and the biggest-selling studio album by a solo female artist,[ and the best-selling album in the USA by a solo female artist.

    It is still the ninth all-time best-selling album in the United States, and worldwide. It is the 16th best-selling album in the UK.

    By 2020, Come On Over had sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. 12 out of its 16 songs were released as singles, with other big hits including 'Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)', 'You're Still the One', 'From This Moment On', and 'That Don't Impress Me Much'.

  2. What inspired the song?

    The title and lyrics of the song were based on Shania's personal experience while working at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario, to help provide for her brothers and sisters after their parents died in a car crash.

    Shania has spoken of seeing some drag performers working at the resort, and has named them as the main source of her inspiration.

    In 1993, after being signed to Mercury Nashville and releasing her first album Shania Twain, Shania met Robert John 'Mutt' Lange, and they would begin collaborating extensively together, and later marry at the end of the year.

    In 1994, while writing songs for her second album The Woman in Me, Lange played to Shania a riff he had been working on, and Shania sang lyrics for what would become this song.

    Speaking about writing the song, Shania said: "There was no time to waste on ideas that wouldn't make the album, but something like [the song] was just there.

    "I was inspired right off the bat with that one, for example, by a riff Mutt had going, and the lyrics and phrasing just came out of the blue."

  3. What is the song about?

    Shania Twain at The 41st Annual GRAMMY Awards
    Shania Twain at The 41st Annual GRAMMY Awards. Picture: Getty

    Lyrically, the song is a female empowerment track, with Shania proudly saying that "the best thing about being a woman is the prerogative to have a little fun", as well as promising to wear a "men's shirt" with a "short skirt."

    Speaking to Billboard, Shania said: "That song started with the title, then it kind of wrote itself. The whole expression is a celebration of being a woman these days, I think we're kind of spoiled in a lot of ways, with the advantages we have. Feminists may not feel that way, but I do. It's pretty darn fun to be a woman."

    When chatting to LGBT magazine The Advocate, Shania added: "A lot of the stuff I do has such a feminine, female perspective, but a powerful one. It's not only girl power, it's gay power. I think that song really stands for both."

  4. What inspired the famous music video?

    The song's music video was filmed in New York City, and directed by Paul Boyd.

    It is a role-reversed version of Robert Palmer's iconic 'Addicted to Love' and 'Simply Irresistible' music videos.

    In it, Shania stands in front of a group of men, all dressed in similar styles, with one playing electric guitar, one playing bass, one playing drums, one playing a two neck guitar, and one playing keyboard.

    Shania starts the video dressed in a long coat and top hat, with a white dress shirt, black tie, but later strips off items of clothing until she is wearing a black corset, mini skirt, thigh-high boots, a black choker, and black gloves.

    On YouTube, 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman!' is Shania's most-viewed video with 275 million views by November 2021.

  5. How did it perform in the charts?

    'Man! I Feel Like a Woman!' peaked at number four in the US Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, and in the main US Billboard Hot 100 it peaked at number 23.

    The song had sold 853,000 digital copies in the US as of September 2015.

    The song was more successful around the world. It reached number one in New Zealand, and wasa top five hit in Australia.

    In France, the song became her first and only top 10 single, and it was her highest selling single in the UK, peaking at three.

    The song also won a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 2000.

  6. Where else was the song performed?

    'Man! I Feel Like a Woman!' was the opener on Shania's Come On Over and Up! tours, as well as her headline show at the Super Bowl XXXVII Halftime show.

    It was later used to great comic effect in a 2004 Chevrolet Colorado TV commercial, and was performed by American Idol winner Carrie Underwood during the fourth season.

    Britney Spears sang along to the track during her first movie Crossroads in 2002, and it has popped up in shows like RuPaul's Drag Race, The Big Bang Theory and Limmy's Show.