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

As you’ve in all probability heard by now, Sia not too long ago launched a film known as “Music,” her directorial debut. “Music” options Maddie Ziegler within the title position, taking part in a non-speaking autistic teenager who apparently experiences the world by performing pop musical dance numbers with Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom Jr.

One thing 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 one, loads of autistic persons are not proud of this factor, like in any respect. A few of them are deeply damage. (And a few of them utterly disagree with every thing I’m about to say, so let’s not shove all autistic individuals in a single field.)

I’m not going to attempt to clarify each single purpose why this film just isn’t okay. Autistic individuals can converse for themselves. However since I’ve this platform, I feel it’s necessary to not less than have a dialog.

Downside primary: Maddie Ziegler just isn’t autistic. She’s a gifted younger girl who has labored with Sia for years now, and there’s a spot for her within the leisure world, after all. No person freak out and cancel Maddie Ziegler.

As Sara Luterman wrote in a must-read overview of “Music” for Slate, “I don’t suppose Ziegler is making enjoyable of anybody. Nevertheless, a scarcity of malice doesn’t scale back the acute discomfort of watching her clumsily ape incapacity. Ziegler is a young person, and by reassuring her about her position on this film, the adults in her life have failed her profoundly.”

I’m certain Maddie Ziegler thought she was doing a very good factor, however deciding how you can act the a part of an autistic character by watching movies of youngsters in meltdown moments just isn’t, in reality, a very good factor. YIKES to all concerned.


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

Or on the very least, forged an autistic actress for the title position, Sia. My god. Have been all of the autistic actresses busy?

It seems that, no. They weren’t.

Sia not too long ago deleted her Twitter account, however at one level when it was energetic she stated, “I truly tried working with a stupendous younger woman non-verbal on the spectrum and she or he discovered it disagreeable and anxious. In order that’s why I forged Maddie.”

And this: “Casting somebody at (the character’s) degree of functioning was merciless, not form, so I made the chief resolution that we’d do our greatest to lovingly symbolize the group. … I did attempt. It felt extra compassionate to make use of Maddie. That was my name.”


If this trash can of a film was too uncomfortable…no, wait, what phrase did you employ? CRUEL? If it was merciless for an autistic particular person 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 particular person can’t play the position you wrote, possibly, simply possibly it DOESN’T PROPERLY OR RESPECTFULLY REPRESENT A NON-SPEAKING AUTISTIC PERSON?!

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

Regardless of receiving reward from The Nationwide Council on Extreme Autism (a corporation that has taken critical criticism from the autism group), “The film doesn’t depict autism as ‘extreme’ in any sense. Music’s autism is unrecognizably sanitized, her life miraculously, dazzlingly straightforward. Music’s neighbors love and assist her. Folks on the road wave to her, handing her free journal clippings and recent fruit. In case you had been questioning, this isn’t how the world usually responds to autistic individuals, kind of throughout the spectrum,” says Luterman, highlighting yet 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 in every of them, Eden, selected to observe this film regardless of the ache it triggered them, and supply the remainder of us with some perception as to why “Music” is such a complete freaking dumpster fireplace drawback for a lot of autistic individuals. The complete overview just isn’t but obtainable, however this thread is an efficient place to begin.

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A submit shared by The Autisticats (@the.autisticats)

Neurotypical individuals, we have to cease and browse all the thread. Earlier than we bounce in defending Sia’s intentions or begin throwing round buzzwords, we have to actively select to see this movie’s points from an autistic particular person’s perspective.

Did you learn the Autisticats submit? The entire thing? Did you click on via the entire photographs, studying each phrase? Did you see Eden use phrases and phrases like caricature, unsettling, insincere, exaggerated mannerisms, and mockery?

Did you concentrate once 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 concerning the scenes the place Music is forcibly restrained? Did you examine these?

Scenes that Sia now acknowledges as dangerous are nonetheless obtainable for consumption as leisure, although some types of restraint have truly injured and even killed autistic individuals.

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

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

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

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

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A submit shared by The Autisticats (@the.autisticats)

I suppose it’s necessary to say that Sia has form of acknowledged among the methods this film is a large number. 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 accordance with the preliminary Autisticats overview.)

Over the course of the final yr, 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 realize cash, accolades and validation for this film that harms the individuals she claims to wish to “lovingly symbolize.”

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 observe neurotypical Kate Hudson and neurotypical Leslie Odom Jr. sing and dance with (and bodily restrain) neurotypical Maddie Ziegler beneath neurotypical Sia’s course to kind my very own opinion about autistic illustration. That is not sensible.

Loads of autistic individuals 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 imagine them.

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