Shania Twain wished she 'wasn’t a woman'

Shania Twain spent years wishing she "wasn't a woman" after suffering childhood abuse.

The 58-year-old superstar has admitted a series of negative experiences when she was young forced her to "set boundaries and guards" and she "missed out on the joy of being a female" - but she eventually learned to embrace her body and she wrote her hit song 'Man! I Feel Like A Woman!' about her new-found love for herself.

She told the Sunday Times newspaper: "That song was me saying, I have waited too long to feel good about being a woman. For many years I shied away from it or wished I wasn’t a woman. I was a shy, insecure female - not person.

"My brain said, ‘I don’t really care what I am,’ but my body got in the way - the female got in the way. I’ve got curves so I had to set boundaries and guards very young.

"I did everything not to bring attention to them. I missed out on the joy of being a female ... For my whole teens I never once went to the beach in a bathing suit. I knew that boys were going to take advantage of me in one way or another ...

"But then I became tired of acting like I’m not a female with curves, so I wrote 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman!' I guess I was a late bloomer in getting comfortable in my own skin, but after a while you just have to stop picking away at the things you can’t change."

Shania went on to talk about female representation in the music industry insisting young women need to be better protected when they are starting out as singers in order to encourage more to take up careers in music.

She explained: "How can you dream of being somebody if only one in every 20 adults that you admire is the same sex as you? ... It’s a lot more than just sexism, it’s about representation - for young girls to go, ‘I want to be her,’ you need to make that feel obtainable.

"But let’s also be realistic. A lot of girls don’t want to be in bar bands like I was throughout my childhood and teens. But you have to start somewhere. You can’t just be Beyonce ...

"Some bars in Canada had a room for live music and another for strip shows - not a lot of girls are attracted to that. That scene is more intimidating for a girl because men are drunk and boundaries get blurry. How can you attract women to that? How do they feel safe and stay protected?"