With over 30 years’ experience and multiple award-winning productions in film and television, Feisty Dame Productions Producer and Executive Producer Tania Chambers is no stranger to the femme-focused film genre. Her latest film, How to Please a Woman, was inspired by concepts broken down in our 2018 report, Elastic Generation: The Female Edit, which put a fresh lens on the lives of UK women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. The film follows one woman’s courageous business endeavor and parallels her ability to ask for what she wants in her marriage, in her career, and in the bedroom. Chambers tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence more about the founding themes behind the film and how she hopes to change the narrative around aging for women.
Tania Chambers, co-producer of "How to Please a Woman"
Aug 19, 2022
“You can’t be what you can’t see.”
What We Do
What were some of the themes in your film, "How to Please a Woman?"
What was really important was communication. In a world that's been acknowledging ‘Me Too,’ the notion of consent and the notion of a healthy sexuality and sensuality is something that's really important to us.
We wanted to show vulnerability, sensuality and relationships of every kind. We wanted to include people who were LGBTQ+, men, and women of a certain age. I think by depicting different types of women from different backgrounds, whether they're single or they're married or they're gay or they're not—just that diversity of people who have different lived experience gives us something to identify ourselves with and celebrate.
You’ve said that our 2018 report "Elastic Generation: The Female Edit" both inspired you and provided useful reference for you in the making of your film "How to Please a Woman." Can you talk us through that in more detail?
It was really refreshing to see a report that acknowledged that you can have a really vibrant, rewarding and playful life right through your decades. That was something really important to portray [in the film]. I loved the report because it had an energy and a love for life, but it also had a real commercial context to it of saying this is an extraordinary consumer segment that has been ignored.
What really struck me was the notion that at this age, many women actually are either much more independent from their family or, for those who haven't had children, are defining themselves in a way of a greater sense of freedom.
In our film we show women of all different shapes, sizes and bodies, and they're celebrating that: they're comfortable in their skin and they're accepting of each other. That's something that I think came through in the report a bit—that people are not trying to believe that they're supermodels at this age or trying to struggle to meet an ideal “Instagram” look. What they're doing is saying, “I just want to try and be the person that's the best me; that I can be and enjoy life in the best way.”
Why was it so important to you to make a film that puts older women’s sexuality at its heart?
Our writer, director Renee Webster, wanted to explore women of a certain age and how they experience life. She said women's stories are so often told through the prism of their family, but in the film, we quite deliberately have the daughter over in the UK. We wanted Gina [the main character] to live separately from [her daughter] because it's so rare: it means that she is a person separate from [being a mother].
We wanted to explore what happens in a relationship where one [person] is more sexually alive than the other, or has greater desire than the other. Desire can change and wane and nobody talks about that. What happens if you're in a mismatched relationship? How do you communicate and keep closeness and intimacy?
You can't be what you can't see. We believe that very strongly across all age groups and all sorts of lived experience. And why does that not also apply to people who are in their older years?
Did you have any fears, concerns or reservations about making this film?
Our concern was about the humor: the comedy is on a really fine line for us in this film. We wanted it to be something where at one moment you could be laughing, the next moment you were actually quite touched by it.
In our latest report, "Inclusion’s Next Wave," we explore a trend we call Democratised Desire, in which we note that older women are still frequently excluded from conversations about desirability and sexuality. With the release of your film, as well as with the likes of Emma Thompson in "Good Luck, Leo Grande," do you think things are finally starting to change for the better based on how audiences around the world have responded to "How to Please a Woman" so far?
I do. I really do. What we've discovered is that [the reaction to the film has] been joyous. It's been welcomed by so many people.
In one of the surveys that was done, 35% of the audience was under 55. And we were told the other day by Sky UK that 55% were women or female identifying. We were finding many younger women, LGBTQ+ couples, even younger men were [watching and] responding to it. So it's been quite interesting for us.
Have you thought about the impact you would like the film to have—on women, and maybe even on wider society too? What might that look like?
The film is really a metaphor, in a way, for communication and for relationships. I think the notion of trying to find your words is a really important thing. Being able to speak about what you're experiencing [rather than] hiding what we really feel, and having the courage to actually say what you want is such a fundamental part of trust and wellness and sexuality. So we hope that listening to some of the comments that some of the women make in the film helps other people to speak up.
For our audience of brands and marketers, what learnings or advice can you share about how to speak well to mature women?
Don't try and convince us that we're things that we're not. It's not about trying to be who you were when you're 20, it's about enjoying the fact that life can be really, really rewarding in different stages.
Main image of Tania Chambers.