The Sexist Criticism Shania Twain Received Early in Her Career: ‘America’s Best Paid Lap Dancer in Nashville’

Shania Twain wasn’t always one of the world’s best-known country artists. This performer shared that she was once called “America’s best-paid lap dancer.”

Shania Twain is the artist behind ‘You’re Still the One’

Shania Twain dressed in black, singing
Shania Twain | Beth Gwinn/Redferns via Getty Images

Twain is the artist behind “Man I Feel Like a Woman,” “You’re Still the One,” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much.” This performer has been writing songs since she was a child and releasing music since the 1990s. 

Shania Twain says she was ‘criticized’ as an artist

When Twain debuted with her self-titled album in 1993, according to Music of the 1990s by Thomas Harrison, it was widely considered a “commercial failure.” Her image, complete with leopard print and exposed midriff, was met with sexist remarks from critics and listeners alike. 

“I was criticized as an artist,” Twain revealed in an episode of Home Now Radio on Apple Music Hits. “I’m surprised I ever had any hits actually when I read them now.” 

“So, for example, part of the quote from one of my reviews was, ‘She’s America’s best-paid lap dancer in Nashville. She’s hot, but can she sing? Is Shania just a flash in the pan? The most famous midriff in Nashville,’” she continued. “So yeah, I ended up having hits anyway.” 

The artist explained that her success following this criticism was “very satisfying.” With some help from rock producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Twain restarted her music career with The Woman In Me

“‘Whose bed have your boots been under,’ release 1995,” the artist mentioned. “And what I just quoted were all quotes based on that first single from the Woman In Me album. I wrote the song. And I was a little bit hurt, I guess, at the harsh critics, not focusing on the music.”

Even Twain’s label felt her image would create “backlash,” as Twin explained during an October 2020 interview with The Independent.

“I would be hated by the men because I was too opinionated and too forceful and demanding, and I would be hated by the women because I was being sensually expressive,” she told the outlet. “And I thought, well, I don’t believe that’ll be the case.”

Shania Twain later performed with Harry Styles

Of course, The Woman In Me earned praise from fans and Twain went on to become one of the world’s biggest country-rock artists. Her 1995 album earned the singer her first Grammy Award win — in the Best Country Album category. 

That same year, she was nominated for Best New Artist, Best Female Country Vocal Performance, and Best Country Song. As of July 2022, “Any Man of Mine” has over 145 million Spotify plays.

Today, Twain is one of the best-known voices in country-pop music, also branching out to mentor artists like Harry Styles. She created her non-profit organization Shania Kids Can, which supports children who suffer from hunger and poverty. 

Music by Twain is available on most music streaming platforms. 

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