Queen bass player John Deacon wrote this from the male perspective of the women's liberation movement.
This song became an anthem for the ANC in South Africa in the late-'80s when Nelson Mandela was still in jail and the white government's apartheid policies were still in place. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2)
The video for this song parodies a popular British television soap, Coronation Street. The opening sequence features all the band members in drag (Mercury as a housewife, Deacon as grandmother, Taylor as a schoolgirl, and May as a housewife). This confused many people who didn't catch the reference. Brian May was asked in an interview with Q magazine March 2011 whether each band member's character in the video was an accurate reflection of their personalities? He replied: "Of Course! Everybody thinks that was Freddie's idea because it looks like something that he would love to do but it actually came from Roger's girlfriend at the time, strangely enough. It was her idea to pastiche the Coronation Street women." (thanks, Bryn - Blackburn, England and James - Vancouver, Canada)
Singles are often edited down from the album version of songs, but this was the opposite, as the version on The Works is about 30 seconds shorter - the single has a longer synthesizer intro and a longer solo.
Lisa Stansfield sang this at the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. She came on the Wembley Stadium stage wearing hair curlers and pushing a vacuum cleaner in tribute to the song's video. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
Sadly, for some the Coronation Street pastiche video didn't go over so well, and it was actually banned on MTV, meaning the single died in America. Fred Mandel, who played the synths and signature solo on the track, explained in the Days of our Lives documentary: "It's a very British kind of humor, and I don't think it went over too well in the States. I'm Canadian, so I get it!"
Roger Taylor seemed visibly annoyed: "In those days on MTV, it was Whitesnake, and f--king Whitesnake, and then another Whitesnake track! They must've thought men dressing up in drag wasn't 'rock' enough, I suppose." Brian May added, "I think at that point we lost America, which is a shame, as it means there's a whole chunk of Queen songs which never got played or heard there."
Many people assume the solo is played on guitar. Actually it's not - it's a synth solo by talented keyboardist Fred Mandel. "John did NOT want a guitar solo" notes Roger Taylor. "So he got Fred, who's a very brilliant keyboard player, to improvise something around the main tune, and Fred did this brilliant take."
Brian May didn't seem to initially agree with it: "I didn't exactly agree with it at the time, but I gave it my blessing... that's the deal." Mandel himself joked about how it clashed with Queen's previous no-synthesizers policy on their early 1970s records: "All the old records used to say prominently "no synthesizers"... then I come in like another schmuck and put synthesizers on everything!"