Twenty-five years after Shania Twain called out “Let’s go girls!” The song “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” is still used as a battle cry for people to not only be themselves but to be themselves absolutely.
As a gay teenager in the middle of Montana, it was… liberating.
I remember seeing the music video for the first time, standing in my father’s bedroom, being scolded because I had worn a Rainbow Brite tee shirt to school and shouldn’t do anything to bring more attention to myself. I should be quiet, blend in and conform to whatever image or idea they had of who and what I should be.
Literally right after the words came out of his mouth (that at the time was bigger than his mind) I looked at the TV, Shania smirking proudly, as if she herself was saying “C’mon kid, do it!”
So, I just pointed to her and said “See what happens when we stand out. That!” Then, I walked out of the room, like I owned the world. It was a powerful feeling that I know I share with millions of other people.
Shania Twain unlocked something in us and that power is one of the many reasons she’s not just another singer or even a global superstar. She’s an icon – in every definition of the word. It’s also one of the topics discussed in the new documentary Shania Twain: Not Just a Girl now on Netflix.
I found myself entranced by the behind-the-scenes stories and recollections from a voice that literally shattered every single music record that had ever been. She’s done things no other man, woman, or band has ever done – and she’s done it all while refusing to accept anyone who told her to do or be anyone other than who she was.
“I was a disruption to the image of country music,” Twain explains with a smile. “Absolutely!”
One of the most fascinating pieces of Not Just a Girl was the fact that it was mentioned, almost as a throwaway comment that she edited all of her music videos herself. “She may have had limitations with the music that she could record,” former manager Mary Bailey stated, “but visually, she could really be creative in all elements.”
Twain’s vision earned her not one, not two, but three consecutive diamond albums – something no one else in music has achieved. Ever. “I believe every great leader of their own destiny is fearless,” Twain states in the opening scene of the documentary. “There is no other way to be. Aware but fearless.”
The 128-minute film spans her entire career from getting her start singing in bars to global stardom, to working on her sixth studio album in London with writer/producer Mark Ralph as the end of the Covid-19 pandemic allowed the world to get back to normal. While showcasing her newest single “Not Just a Girl,” another new song is previewed where she proudly sings: “I’m not a girl, I’m not a boy, I’m not a baby, I’m not a toy… I’m a queen.”
And she is.