I Don’t Have To Watch Sia’s New Movie To Know It’s Ableist Trash


As you’ve most likely heard by now, Sia lately launched a film referred to as “Music,” her directorial debut. “Music” options Maddie Ziegler within the title function, enjoying a non-speaking autistic teenager who apparently experiences the world by performing pop musical dance numbers with Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom Jr.

Something like that. I don’t know, y’all. I didn’t watch this shit. I’m simply studying what I can abdomen to attempt to write an introduction to what I actually wish to say which is…

What the entire total precise fuck?

In information that ought to shock actually no person, plenty of autistic individuals are not pleased with this factor, like in any respect. Some of them are deeply harm. (And a few of them fully disagree with every little thing I’m about to say, so let’s not shove all autistic folks in a single field.)

I’m not going to attempt to clarify each single purpose why this film will not be okay. Autistic folks can communicate for themselves. But since I’ve this platform, I believe it’s necessary to at the very least have a dialog.

Problem primary: Maddie Ziegler will not be autistic. She’s a proficient younger lady who has labored with Sia for years now, and there’s a spot for her within the leisure world, after all. Nobody freak out and cancel Maddie Ziegler.

As Sara Luterman wrote in a must-read evaluation of “Music” for Slate, “I do not think Ziegler is making fun of anyone. However, a lack of malice does not reduce the acute discomfort of watching her clumsily ape disability. Ziegler is a teenager, and by reassuring her about her role in this movie, the adults in her life have failed her profoundly.”

I’m certain Maddie Ziegler thought she was doing factor, however deciding easy methods to act the a part of an autistic character by watching movies of youngsters in meltdown moments will not be, the truth is, factor. YIKES to all concerned.


But Sia was an grownup, and she or he had each alternative to desert this practice wreck challenge, or drastically change it so it wasn’t a painfully offensive piece of rubbish.

Or on the very least, solid an autistic actress for the title function, Sia. My god. Were all of the autistic actresses busy?

It seems that, no. They weren’t.

Sia lately deleted her Twitter account, however at one level when it was energetic she mentioned, “I actually tried working with a beautiful young girl non-verbal on the spectrum and she found it unpleasant and stressful. So that’s why I cast Maddie.”

And this: “Casting someone at (the character’s) level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community. … I did try. It felt more compassionate to use Maddie. That was my call.”


If this trash can of a film was too uncomfortable…no, wait, what phrase did you utilize? CRUEL? If it was merciless for an autistic individual to behave within the half, what within the identify of all that’s holy made you suppose that it was a good suggestion to proceed? If a non-speaking autistic individual can’t play the function you wrote, perhaps, simply perhaps it DOESN’T PROPERLY OR RESPECTFULLY REPRESENT A NON-SPEAKING AUTISTIC PERSON?!

It must be famous that there are a lot of, some ways to misrepresent an autistic individual in a means that reduces their personhood, and “Music” appears to handle to search out a number of of them.

Despite receiving reward from The National Council on Severe Autism (a corporation that has taken critical criticism from the autism group), “The movie does not depict autism as ‘severe’ in any sense. Music’s autism is unrecognizably sanitized, her life miraculously, dazzlingly easy. Music’s neighbors love and support her. People on the street wave to her, handing her free magazine clippings and fresh fruit. In case you were wondering, this is not how the world generally responds to autistic people, more or less across the spectrum,” says Luterman, highlighting one more means Sia’s understanding of the autistic expertise falls quick.

The Autisticats is an Instagram account run by a small group of autistic younger adults. One of them, Eden, selected to look at this film regardless of the ache it prompted them, and supply the remainder of us with some perception as to why “Music” is such a complete freaking dumpster fireplace downside for a lot of autistic folks. The full evaluation will not be but accessible, however this thread is an effective place to begin.

Neurotypical folks, we have to cease and browse the complete thread. Before we leap in defending Sia’s intentions or begin throwing round buzzwords, we have to actively select to see this movie’s points from an autistic individual’s perspective.

Did you learn the Autisticats put up? The complete factor? Did you click on by means of the entire pictures, studying each phrase? Did you see Eden use phrases and phrases like caricature, unsettling, insincere, exaggerated mannerisms, and mockery?

Did you concentrate after they defined how watching an autistic character portrayed in the way in which Sia selected to painting Music was hurtful and uncomfortable for them and harkened again to their days being bullied for his or her mannerisms?

How in regards to the scenes the place Music is forcibly restrained? Did you examine these?

Scenes that Sia now acknowledges as dangerous are nonetheless accessible for consumption as leisure, even if some types of restraint have really injured and even killed autistic folks.

CONTENT WARNING: The video within the following Tweet is disturbing.

This isn’t the sort of inventive illustration that autistic individuals are asking for, and it’s actually not the illustration they deserve.

Autistic characters must exist within the motion pictures and reveals we watch, within the books we learn, and really autistic folks must be current in our social media feeds.

But autistics actors exist. So do autistic filmmakers. Writers. Musicians. Content creators. All of us ought to demand that autistic content material come from autistic folks. Or on the very least, non-autistic individuals who want to painting an autistic character ought to seek the advice of a big selection of autistic voices—not simply people who agree with them.

I assume it’s necessary to say that Sia has kind of acknowledged among the methods this film is a multitude. I’m not giving her that a lot credit score as a result of it’s means too little means too late, however she has issued some apologies and agreed to place a disclaimer on the film and take away the restraint scenes (though they’re apparently nonetheless within the film, in keeping with the preliminary Autisticats evaluation.)

Over the course of the final 12 months, Sia has persistently argued and debated with incapacity and autism activists about her choices, refusing to gracefully settle for that making this film was a misstep. The film is nominated for awards. She nonetheless stands to achieve cash, accolades and validation for this film that harms the folks she claims to wish to “lovingly represent.”

Inevitably somebody will inform me that I ought to watch the film or I don’t get an opinion. Bullshit. Fuck that.

I don’t want to look at neurotypical Kate Hudson and neurotypical Leslie Odom Jr. sing and dance with (and bodily restrain) neurotypical Maddie Ziegler underneath neurotypical Sia’s course to kind my very own opinion about autistic illustration. That is not sensible.

Plenty of autistic folks have made it clear that the way in which autism is portrayed on this film hurts them, frustrates them, harms their credibility, inaccurately represents their experiences and doesn’t additional their mission of acceptance and lodging for autistic people.

I consider them.

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