Don’t Expect Safety In What To Expect Movie

What To Expect When You’re Expecting Movie Gives The Same Poor Advice On Keeping Unborn Children Safe As The Book Does

-Movie uses cars IIHS says safety-conscious should avoid
-Worst example of safety misinformation since Glee crash
-Reckless driving with pregnant women played for laughs

By Lynn Marie Town
When it comes to putting an unborn child in harm’s way, says the co-author of a women’s safety guide, nothing compares to its mother getting into a small car, and the movie version of What To Expect When You’re Expecting — like the book it’s based on — fails to make that clear.

“I was hoping the movie would do a better job of clarifying the risks pregnant women create for their children when they get in a car than the book does,” says Susan Winlaw, “but, sadly, that didn’t happen. Showing pregnant women in small cars and then driving quickly as they have in this movie encourages them to put their unborn children — and themselves — at great risk.”

Alex Law, the other co-author of How To Avoid Deadly Everyday Dangers: The Women’s Safety Guide (a $3.99 e-book), points out that one couple’s BMW Mini is on the list of cars that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says should be avoided by people for whom safety is a priority, which usually includes pregnant women. (see Women’s Safety Guide to purchase through Amazon).

Law says “There are more than 50 models on the IIHS’s list of cars to avoid, including about 30 that have IIHS Top Safety Pick awards. That seems strange, but it makes perfect sense because the awards only apply to vehicles in a very specific weight class.”

Law says the IIHS and other crash-test agencies know that the heavier car in a crash always has an advantage. “It’s the same principle with boxers, MMA fighters and Olympic combat athletes, who always compete against people their own weight,” Law points out.

Cars the IIHS says safety-conscious women should avoid also includes Mercedes Smart, Chrysler Fiat 500, Toyota Yaris, Honda Civic and many others that don’t weigh 3,000 lbs or more.

Winlaw notes that real-world statistics show that “if a woman between the ages of about 14 to 40 is going to die, be disfigured or suffer a debilitating injury, it’s most likely going to happen in a car, and the smaller the car the greater the chances of those things happening.”

Winlaw says “A lot of women wish it weren’t true that small cars aren’t as safe or try to ignore it, and they’re welcome to put their own lives in danger. But they should consider the health of their baby before they get behind the wheel when they’re pregnant.”

Exact statistics are unknown, says Law, “But experts say that an unborn child is four times more likely to die in a car in the months before it’s born than it is during the first four years of its life.”

Studies have also shown that an unborn child is more likely to suffer congenital health problems if its mother was in some kind of auto incident, Winlaw says, which happen millions of times a year in North America.

“What to Expect When You’re Expecting does wisely advise women to wear seatbelts correctly at all times,” says Winlaw, “but it ignores what regularly happens on the road when it says the mother is ideally designed to protect her unborn child, even in a hard-braking incident.”

Winlaw says that “No pregnant woman in her right mind would get on a carnival thrill ride, but millions of women get into a car every day and that can turn into something worse than a thrill ride in a moment’s notice. Thrill rides never crash into walls or roll over six times and leave their occupants dangling, but cars do that and worse all the time.”

Winlaw points out that there are over a million crashes a year in North America that send women to hospital for treatment, and there are plenty of incidents that don’t injure the mother but could harm the unborn child and aren’t treated.

“It would have been easy for the film-makers to show women how to better protect their unborn children,” says Law. “If a woman has to get in a car, she needs to make sure it’s the biggest car she can find with someone else at the wheel, and that the car never exceeds about 30-35 miles per hour.”

Law says the best way for a pregnant women to protect her unborn child from the risks associated with being in a car is for her to stay out of cars, but for various reasons women aren’t willing to consider that.

“People always say they’d do anything to protect their children,” Law says, “and staying out of cars is a perfect way to prove it.”

“Hollywood is probably afraid the characters in its films wouldn’t look cool if they did this,” says Winlaw, “but is that as important as showing pregnant women how to keep their unborn children safe?”

Law and Winlaw say they wrote How To Avoid Deadly Everyday Dangers so women would be made aware of where harm lies in their cars, homes and everywhere else.

They also say that What to Expect When You’re Expecting is the latest Hollywood effort to misrepresent the realities of road safety. “The worst example in recent memory was the recent car crash in Glee,” says Winlaw. “In the real world that young woman whose car was t-boned by a pickup would have sustained substantial injuries that almost certainly would have resulted in her death, but she shows up unscarred with a condition that clears up a few weeks later. It was completely unbelievable, but a lot of young women don’t know that.”


In honor of Women’s History Month – here’s an overview of excellent film and biography that you’ll enjoy. It is directed by Julie Taymor and is one of the movies you’ll see in our new eBook 101 Movies About Women Directed By Women. Find the film today and let us know what you thought.

An Artistic Rendering Of A Great Artist’s Work And Love Life

In a happy turn of events for a biography of a creative person, director Julie Taymor manages to do justice to the facts of Frida Kahlo’s life in Frida (2002) while giving the audience enough moments of magic-realism and wonder to entertain the audience as well. She developed that talent to balance fact and fabulousness creating The Lion King for Broadway and would use it again with Across The Universe (2007).

It helps a lot that Kahlo had an appetite for life that was almost as large as her talent for painting, as that allows Salma Hayek to spend time with a number of the 20th Century’s more interesting people. As an example of her range, consider that Kahlo spends time with Nelson Rockefeller (Edward Norton) and Leon Trotsky (Geoffrey Rush), which may be a record on the political beliefs scale.

But the man who meant the most to her was another painter — Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina) — whom she married. She was to say in later life that he was the second biggest disaster of her life, after the bus crash that crushed many of her bones when she was a teenager. Things got off to a bad start when a former girlfriend of her husband shows up at the wedding and starts displaying the luscious body parts Rivera is giving up for Kahlo’s “matchstick” legs. But by far the most interesting bit of the wedding and maybe the movie is the speech that Ashley Judd gives as poet-revolutionary-artist Tina Modotti. It is maybe the most clinical and unromantic description of marriage ever put on film, but she manages to turn it into a testament to love just the same. “I don’t believe in marriage,” is the first thing she says, calling it a “hostile political act” of “conservative religious nonsense” designed to allow “small-minded” men to keep women trapped at home that uses tradition as an excuse. Getting from there to an extremely romantic conclusion might seem unlikely, but she does it and it’s quite moving. It’s typical of the kind of thing you’re liable to find in an entertaining and informative film, a term that is widely used but rarely true. In this case it is. It’s a Biography, a Drama and it’s also very Romantic. 

Find our new eBook 101 Movies About Women Directed By Women on Amazon and soon to be at other eTailers.

Our first eBook is on Kindle

101 Movies About Women Directed By Women.

We’ve just published our first eBook on Kindle.

Check it out and let us know what you think.

Reel Women

Isn’t it about time you watched a movie about strong and amazing WOMEN?

Movies About Women (volume 1) is fantastic. It makes a PERFECT gift for any woman in your life and guys – listen up!! It could score you some major points. Here’s what you do…..

1. Order the book (and if time is tight – email to arrange speedy delivery – we’re in Toronto)

2. Buy a few DVD’s that are for WOMEN (ask at the video store)

3. Buy a pretty popcorn bowl, some cute coffee mugs, some packages of hot chocolate, microwavable popcorn and some shiny wrapping paper, colored tissue paper and a bow and card at the dollar store. 

4. Wrap it all up and write on the card….”I’ll watch the movies with you.”


You can add or alter any of the above items (champagne or wine glasses and your fav bubbly, colored mini marshmallows, a hankie if the movie is a weeper, etc). Use your imagination or ask her best friend. This gift is priceless in that it gives back and the gift of your time with her watching is worth it TOTALLY. 

If I were you, I’d click that button to get Movies About Women right now. Your viewing pleasure depends on it.

Why Hollywood Is Turning Its Back On Women’s Issues
-Movies will be made to appeal to foreign men, not American women
-A poor image of America will be shown to the world by LA studios
-John Cusack and Hollywood stars like him are partly to blame
-Big costs for talent and crews make international money critical
By Alexander Law
In the real America a powerful man can be brought to account for his actions largely on the word of a woman at the other end of the influence scale, and that brings hope to women everywhere.
But in the reel America that’s projected on movie screens around the globe Hollywood is creating movies with fewer women wearing fewer clothes and speaking fewer lines, and isn’t very interested in creating strong female characters or helping women solve problems that often involve life or death.
Hollywood knows that maintaining its cushy lifestyle requires more movies aimed directly at the male viewers in foreign markets where women don’t enjoy the same rights, dignity and degree of safety as women in North America.
As a result, Hollywood will avoid the type of movies that made the industry rich from the its first days to the arrival of television (women overcoming some sort of male oppression) so it can concentrate on stories that encourage the beliefs of foreign men.
Because it’ll have few foreign sales, even a successful female movie like Bridesmaids doesn’t really change things, since the studio could invest the same money in a male-oriented film.
So movies that might have supplied the same kind of emotional encouragement for women that the New York arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn of the IMF did will not be coming from Hollywood. It’s much more likely that men whose behavior oppresses women will get emotional support from Hollywood, which of course means America to many people in other countries.
That is the unavoidable conclusion that comes from watching over 2,000 films in researching Movies About Women (a guide to over 500 films reflecting the issues and concerns of women), following box office trends, reading other experts on the subject (such as Geena Davis), and examining studies by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
According to the Annenberg study, only about a third of the actors with speaking parts in modern movies are women, the sexualization (nudity, revealing clothing, etc) of female characters is greater, and that’s happening to younger women (13 to 19) more often than with women who are 21 to 39. Female actors are also six times more likely to wear revealing attire then men are, and three times as likely to appear nude.
The tonal shift in films began about a decade ago when Hollywood realized it would have to make more male-oriented films if it wanted to keep its revenues up. It was originally done to draw young North American men back from video games, web searching, online porn and other distractions.
But when that wasn’t enough to get domestic males going back to the theatres, Hollywood decided it would have to start casting its nets farther out, hoping to snare men in countries with less enlightened views of women.
One of the earliest and best received films of this type was The Wedding Crashers in 2005, where two single men tell whatever kind of lie will get a woman into bed, which allows the male audience to enjoy a topless musical montage. That was followed by such films as Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, and of course The Hangover.
The Hangover was instructive to men in foreign countries because of the status of the two most sympathetic characters in the movie. On the female side that would be Heather Graham as a hooker with a heart of gold, which is standard stuff in male fantasies. On the male side it’s Zach Galifianakis as a disturbed man-child who likes to masturbate in his seat on airplanes and admits to having a restraining order involving schools, which suggests he may be a child molester.
People in North America aren’t too worried about this kind of thing because they’re used to it, but it may have a completely different impact in other places around the world. It certainly can’t be doing anything to change minds in foreign countries when people in the great liberal democracies laugh at the notion of child molestation.
Hollywood’s justification for this is of course economic, and that seems to work like magic with a lot of people in capitalist countries. That tends to wither a bit when you bear in mind that the primary economic urge Hollywood feels is hanging on to the beach-front, foreign car, five-star, Charlie Sheen lifestyle it’s created over the years.
Movie stars make a lot of money and demand whatever perks they can think of, but that’s not the only thing that raises prices and forces producers to make questionable artistic decisions to keep the money coming in. Because of tough union contracts with pretty much everyone on a set (including the director), salaries and staffing levels are kept much higher than you would think.
A perfect example of why and how this affects content can be seen in Hot Tub Time Machine, a very small picture that cost about $40 million to make. But that tends to happen when the star/producer (John Cusack in this case) feels the need to have five personal assistants.
This movie is most infamous for a scene in which one of the male characters who’s gone back in time phones the 9-year-old version of his future wife and screams sexual threats at her, to alter some future behavior of hers that he dislikes.
This is quite a change from the days when Hollywood served as a positive influence on people around the world, including France’s first female finance minister, who hopes to succeed Strauss-Kahn at the IMF. Esther Williams’ swimming movies turned her on to synchronized swimming, and that taught her a lot of life lessons.
It was the growing reality of this change in Hollywood that caused us to create Movies About Women: Reel Women Share Stories Of Life And Love, Vol.1 ( It includes reviews of 500+ movies, over 200 of which were directed by more than 150 women.
Some of them are famous, but most of them are not, as we wanted to show women the breadth of the movies available to them. There turned out to be so many that we’ve already started Vol. 2 and are hoping to include suggestions from our readers.

Sybil (1976) and (2007)

Girl Abused So Badly Her Personality Broke Into Several Parts

A lot of people thought a remake of the Sally Field-Joanne Woodward version of Sybil (1976) was unnecessary because the original is so good, but Sybil (2007) with Jessica Lange and Tammy Blanchard managed to crank things up a notch because it could be more direct in telling the story. Sadly, both movies are based on the true story of a child whose strict parents abused her so badly her psyche split into at least 13 pieces so her mind could deal with the horror of what happened to her. Sadly again, there’s really no need to tell you what might have happened to her, but it’s worth watching Field and Blanchard unveil her memories to the kindly doctor. Watch this if you’re felling sorry for yourself.

Better Than Chocolate (1999)

Daughter’s New Life Sounds Good,

So Mom Joins Her

To escape the confinement of family life back east, a young woman moves to Vancouver to be closer to a more relaxed atmosphere in Better Than Chocolate (1999). When she meets a hot young street artist, they decide to move into a sub-let flat together. She calls her sweater sets and pearls mother to tell her some of the news, and her mother — who is suddenly single — announces she’s coming out west with her teenage son for a visit. This is an OK structure for a sitcom, but this film is something wholly different as the daughter is gay. Instead of turning into some melodrama with lots of heartfelt speeches and bolts of understanding and stuff like that, director Anne Wheeler steps it up a notch to big-hearted comedy with a nice streak of fantasy and a message to just accept people for what they are and let them deal with the perils of love and sex on their own terms.

Evening (2007)

Women’s Love Lives Determined For Life By Newport Wedding

Two women’s lives are defined for almost 50 years by the events following a 1950s society wedding in Newport, Rhode Island, and Evening (2007) shows it’s more complicated than you can probably imagine. In the first place, Claire Danes and Mamie Gummer both wanted to marry the same man, who wasn’t the groom, and their attraction to him resulted in one death and an immense sense of longing for many people. We see this in the dreams and hallucinations of Vanessa Redgrave as the old version of Danes when she lies on her deathbed, with her two daughters (Toni Collette and Natasha Richardson) nearby. They are surprised to hear about this man, and distressed that he and their mother were involved in a death. It comes to a peaceful ending when Meryl Streep (playing the old version of her daughter Gummer) arrives to visit Redgrave. Other stellar actors include Glenn Close, Eileen Atkins, Hugh Dancy, Patrick Wilson and Barry Bostwick.