I write this article not as some frantic, die-hard Shania Twain fan but as your average, everyday Shania Twain fan.
I’m an 80’s baby so my Appalachian childhood was gloriously soaked in the sky-rocketing success of Shania’s career in the 90s. It was hard not to like her, her music, her voice, her artistry. She was authentically herself when many other women in music subscribed to the subdued, cookie-cutter mold. She took risks in her art, her songs and in her style and we loved her for it.
Fast forward to 2023, Shania has just released “Queen of Me,” her first album in five years and has popped back up on our radar. This weekend, you couldn’t come across Grammy coverage without seeing a picture of the Queen of Country Pop decked out in a bold, black and white outfit with fiery, red hair.
When she posted a picture of herself from the event on her social media, I curiously went to her comments and was surprised by what I found.
Although most were positive, countless viewers (a lot of them women) left judgmental, negative comments addressing Twain.
People accusing the “Giddy Up!” singer of losing herself, calling her a train wreck. People revoking their status as fans because of her look and how they translated her behavior in seconds-long snippets of the night.
Now, I may be a backwoods, blue-collar woman, but I know irony when I see it.
Shania Twain is doing what Shania Twain has ALWAYS done, she’s just being herself.
What her risk taking spirit looked like in the 90’s is going to look different in 2023, but this is what we loved her for, what we looked up to her for.
From her suit and tie in “Man! I Feel Like A Woman,” to her cheetah-print in “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” Shania boldly pushed the limits.
The same authentic heart that earned her countless female fans in the 90’s is what people are using to criticize her now.
Can we talk woman to woman for a minute?
How many times have we reinvented ourselves? After a breakup, a let-down, a job change, hell, a hormone change? When your best friend shows up with a drastic haircut after a hard season of life, what do you do?
You celebrate the living daylights out of her.
You high five and praise her for her boldness, her newness, her bravery. Tell me why a celebrity on your phone screen is any different?
I know what you’re thinking, “What does it matter? She’s an entertainer. She signed up to be in the public eye.” You’re right, she did pursue her career in the spotlight. But don’t forget how important entertainment is in the human experience. Without it, we are forced to face life with little to no reprieve. No escape, no momentary respite for our weary souls spinning around in the oft-darkness of this dirt ball. Music makes us feel understood and many times, a little less alone.
Entertainment has an important and necessary place in this world and I, for one, don’t see the point in tearing down the people that provide it for us as if they are not also human, not also women. I’m not saying you have to agree with everything everyone does, but when did we default to being mean-spirited at the smallest and slightest changes in people?
Okay, so it don’t impress you much? That’s fine, but what good does it do for women to tear down other women, no matter who they are?
One thing is for sure, ladies, whether you celebrate Shania Twain or not, Shania Twain has spent her entire career celebrating you.
Okay, I’m done.