Sia - MUSIC - Songs From And Inspired By The Motion Picture
Feb 12, 2021 (updated Feb 14, 2021)
NR
NR - This isn’t a normal review. It’s also important since you’ll learn more about me.

So, this is not going to be one of my typical reviews. I haven’t listened to this new Sia project, and I don’t plan on it anytime soon. However, today, I will be discussing the absolute shit stain that is this situation with Sia, and how it personally affects me. (Also I use neurodiverse and neurotypical a lot in the review. Neurodiverse means people with mental disabilities, neurotypical is people without disabilities.)

Firstly, some background about myself. When I was born, I was an unusually silent kid. I only first spoke until I was three. A year or two before me speaking for the first time, my parents went to the hospital, worried about my nature. Welp, long story short, I was diagnosed with autism. Throughout my childhood, I went to speech therapy for at least an hour a day, with it being basically normalized at a young age. I always knew I was autistic even as a toddler, and it felt just normal. I barely spoke when I was younger like said before, I needed and sometimes still need extra support in school, I wasn’t that good with social cues, and had sensory issues when certain sounds were made that sent me into panic. However, due to lots of therapy throughout my childhood, I was undiagnosed of autism at the age of 12. Only 5% of people who are originally diagnosed with the disability can be undiagnosed, which I was able to do (also my biggest flex I have.) But still, I have many symptoms of autism that linger today, even if they have gotten treated. Autism is a thing that never completely dissipates. So basically, I have a wide knowledge of what autism is, as a person who experienced it, and still does today.

So with this knowledge, you could assume that I have some knowledge when it comes to autism and being neurodiverse. This is where Sia comes in.

A couple of weeks ago, Sia announced her directorial debut, “Music,” a film about a woman played by Sia, who adopts a teen girl with autism named Music, and their experiences together (this might be incorrect since it can be hard to describe from the trailer.) This sounds completely fine, right? More autistic representation in the media is usually a good thing, you would think. But actually, this is movie alone is one of the most harmful representations of the disability I’ve seen, and is one of the least neurodiverse things just.... ever, and is actually just pure ableism. It also shows how normalized the toxic view of autism seen in the media is seen to many neurotypical people.

Well starting with the first and most well known controversy, the portrayal of “Music” is done by none other than Maddie Ziegler. This is wrong on so many reasons. One of them being that there are many autistic actors out there who would fit the role, but Sia allegedly did not consider any of them to be possible candidates. She had to go with the neurotypical girl. Secondly, according to Maddie, she did not want to play the role of Music in the first place, not wanting to offend anyone who had autism or was neurodiverse. Maddie signed up for the role when she was only 15, and probably didn’t know much about what was wrong at the time. But it was too late. Another one of the main controversies was that even though the movie was “meant” for neurodiverse people according to Sia, which isn’t really true, the movie is full of things that would easily set off a neurodiverse viewer. Firstly, the portrayal of autism. In the movie, Music is a character with an extreme case of the disability, which is not said. Music is nonverbal, and communicates through an iPad. She gets panicked quite often, and makes noises. And even though that some people with autism or other disabilities have these symptoms, it is very uncommon. It’s normalized in the media, such as this movie, which is absolutely awful (I will get more into this later.) It’s obvious that Sia looked at the first thing she saw when she searched up autism in Google. It’s horrific. The way Music moves and acts, trying to be disabled, over exaggerating her movements, is utterly appalling as a person who has (technically had) the disability. Moving on, the other really notable controversy is that this is the least neurodiverse friendly movie. It’s full of loud noises, extremely bright colors and fast moving imagery, which can be huge sensory overload to most (not all) with autism. Sia did absolutely no research going into this.

So due to the things listed above, people were obviously mad about the situation. Neurodiverse actors, as well as people from the autism community, or allies as a whole were outraged and for good reason. Many of them made valid points on Twitter, saying how it was unacceptable to hire a neurotypical person to play a character with autism. But Sia, of course, responded by replying to the people who were obviously unhappy. And man, some of her responses.... are hard to swallow. Firstly, she stated that autism was a “special ability.” Which I won’t get into for this review but just know that is utterly wrong ok. She also wasn’t letting other people who are neurodiverse act because the character was more “low functioning.” She said it was more “compassionate” to use Maddie in the role as well. Then, she got mad. She went on, said fuck you to the people who were mad at her. And finally, the worst out of these specific examples, she said she didn’t hire a neurodiverse person who has worked in acting for a while, because they were a “bad actor.” Yeesh. Then she deleted her Twitter account, and now we are here today.

Even though this is probably the most controversial form of ableism, it’s still a really common thing in the media. Many tv shows or movies that portray autism do it really horribly, like the Good Doctor, etc. Entertainment executives think autism either being quiet and smart, or quiet and dumb, and it’s seen everywhere on TV, reinforcing the stereotype of autism as a whole. Shows that think they are “progressive” for horribly portraying someone with autism is very, very common, and I feel like it doesn’t get enough attention. Heck, even the Golden Globes, nominated Sia’s movie for an award! It’s crazy! There is also still the normalization of the r-word, which is an attack on neurodiverse people, as well as the fact is that in reality, many just do not know what autism truly is.

So, what can you do about this?

Well, first and foremost, just stop using the r word. There are so many words you can use instead. It’s a small change that really does something.

Secondly, DO NOT support movies or shows like Music. Don’t stream the album. Don’t watch the show or movie. If you do so, you are just giving money to these horrible stereotypes.

Thirdly and lastly, do some research. Educate yourself. One important thing to note is to NOT use Autism Speaks, since I’d over-dramatizes the disability and bring out the worst in it. Ask someone you know who is neurodiverse about how they see the world. Support Autistic and disabled creators.

So overall, this controversy, and everything surrounding it is just a mess. Whatever you do, do not stream this album. Do not support people like Sia. A person who is manipulating her audience, and enforcing toxic stereotypes of people who are disabled and neurodiverse.

—————————————————————-—— ——

UPDATE: First of all, thank you so much for the support. This completely made my day. This is now my most liked review. And it has only been 8 hours. You all are insane. I'm so grateful to have a platform to discuss these issues, as well as myself as a whole.

Also, Sia just wrote an apology, and it isn't enough in my opinion. Sia had a ton of time to fix the issues that are seen in her movie, and it's a shame.

Thank you all.

-reedy

UPDATE 2: EDIT: 100 likes. I’m speechless. You all are some of the nicest, and most accepting people in recent memory. I know I’ve said this many times, but I want to emphasize this now. Thank you all so so SO much for the moral support. I can’t believe it’s real. Things like this remind me how much of a phenomenal site AOTY is for giving me a platform to share my story, as well as the extreme amount of accepting people. I love you all.

-reedy

UPDATE 3 (HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!) : ok final update I swear on it.

So, the movie is out. And.......uh........ it’s worse than people thought.

I won’t go that into it because I don’t want to milk this review. But basically, Music, the autistic character does not have a major role, and is used more like a prop than an actual character. Secondly, and probably worst of all, there is a scene where they restrain Music in a way that has killed approximately 100 autistic people last year, and could be extremely harmful. Yikes. Thirdly, there might be blackface!? (thanks for @oakie for pointing this out). And finally, it just isn’t a good movie from what I have heard, aside from the drama.

My question is, how desperate were the Golden Globes?

These have been some of the most insane days of my time on here. I’d like to thank everyone for supporting me, and being extremely accepting as a whole. I will just credit some videos that helped me out in the process while creating the review.

https://youtu.be/31y9j5Zl300 and https://youtu.be/D1rr7Olg8lw (Princess Aspien, a member of the community that breaks down what’s wrong with everything in an easy to understand way)

https://youtu.be/KGKqtyg4iLE (illuminaughtii [second account] that looks into organizations, knows a lot about the subject, also explains it in more detail.)

-love you all, reedy
97 Comments
Feb 12, 2021
Big courage for opening up, proud of u
Feb 12, 2021
I didn't even know Sia did any of this stuff, fuck her
Feb 12, 2021
@nicoperagine thanks so much!
Feb 12, 2021
Lots of respect for this. I’m autistic as well and I wish that more people would speak up against this. Thanks for putting everything i thought into words with this review!
Feb 12, 2021
@thewayiam thanks so much as well! Yea this needs to be talked about more.
Feb 12, 2021
@Chode yea fuck Sia me and all my homies hate Sia lol
Feb 12, 2021
Sia bots pls don’t kill me πŸ₯Ί
Feb 12, 2021
As someone who works with children with autism, just letting you know you’ve got my support and understanding! I’ve read up on this situation and hadn’t formed my own personal opinions and instead tried to let the community guide that conversation. Happy to see you voice it.
Feb 12, 2021
@MasterCrackFox thank you so much! I really wanted to put myself, as well as the situation out there. As a whole, I’d like to thank everyone supporting this as it’s still pretty surreal that I am revealing my autism. Thanks so much.
Feb 12, 2021
god idek what to type w/o sounding corny so sorry if this is stupid πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ’€ but as a fellow autistic person, i rlly appreciate this review. ableism is something that's so normalized in this day and age, and to see it explained so well is something that i appreciate. gr8 review!!
Feb 12, 2021
say it louder for the people in the back
Feb 12, 2021
thank you for this review!
Feb 12, 2021
@CLJesse and @PipePanic OMG THANKS SO MUCH!!! I WILL SAY IT LOUDER!!!
Feb 12, 2021
You got me at the "she said they were bad actors"

While I cannot necessarily get in your shoes and relate too much to the issue, I hope your doing well now. Most importantly, we're NOT gonna stream this bs when theres a slowthai record out πŸ˜†. But seriously though, fuck this, it's not the worst thing ever but its certainly not too excusable as she had more options than this.
Feb 12, 2021
thank you for coming out wit this king ly
Feb 12, 2021
@TomBejoy thanks king stream TYRON
Feb 12, 2021
It is very sad to see artists like Sia with such great visibility wasting it so stupidly. Her behavior was ridiculously childish and disrespectful. Congratulations on the bravery of exposing yourself that way for such a noble cause. I watched a series called Atypical and I found it very interesting because it broke many of the preconceptions I had in relation to autism. If you want, I'm open to hear more about this whole problematic and your views on it.
Feb 12, 2021
Thank you for opening up with this review! :)
Feb 12, 2021
Well said man ❀
Feb 12, 2021
jesus this is fucked up, i don't really know what to say but don't want to go without saying anything, just know you got our support! ❀️
Feb 12, 2021
Thanks for the information, well said!!!!
Feb 12, 2021
Thank you for this, I was being despise by my part-time job boss with the r-word, I was so offended...he even treated me lunch before, I havn't seen Music before, I can imagine how bad that is
Feb 12, 2021
actually sia was going to put an autistic actress to play the role but in the nick of time she had some health problems and then she had to call Maddie to play the role.
Feb 12, 2021
<3
Feb 12, 2021
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™
Feb 12, 2021
@Ahmadkm_ @Cry @Phillip @pizzagrande @Rater @bread_mold @okcomputer12127 @ihavetwoyears thank you all so very much. The overwhelming support warms my heart.
Feb 12, 2021
@Davbitt1234 she did say that on Twitter but with more digging I actually found out that she allegedly didn’t hire an autistic actor in the first place. I am unsure about this, but if it was real, I wanted to add it as a detail. Also there are a ton more neurodiverse actors, and she made her set very neurodiverse unfriendly.
Feb 12, 2021
this takes a lot of courage. good job
Feb 12, 2021
@BGL13 yea I’m still kinda in awe that this is happening.
Feb 12, 2021
Damn, this was an experience. Thank you for opening up man <3
Feb 12, 2021
@horse <3
Feb 12, 2021
Talk that talk brother!
Feb 12, 2021
@eliiscool5 I will!
Feb 12, 2021
This is the most insightful take on the Sia situation I've seen, thank you reedy, this really changed my perspective. Fuck sia
Feb 12, 2021
@rapscorer321 thank you very much
Feb 12, 2021
I honestly loved this review, thanks for being strong enough to voice your opinion πŸ‘‘
Feb 12, 2021
@cold tysm this support is absolutely insane
Feb 12, 2021
Sia should’ve did the right thing and apologize and cancel ‘Music’ altogether, but now she’s promoting the shit out of it. Someone like her shouldn’t be that desperate for relevancy. I’m embarrassed for the people who actually put time and effort in the movie and album, Sia knew better and should be ashamed of herself.
Feb 12, 2021
@okcomputer12127 she actually apologized, but its still not enough in my honest opinion. she should've known better, and had so much time to change these things. I might update the review based on the new tweets but probably not.
Feb 12, 2021
I wasn't fully aware of the whole situation up until just now. Thanks for sharing this you're so strong. Also Fuck Sia
Feb 12, 2021
Great post. I don't follow Sia and didn't even know about this movie until a couple days ago when my wife discussed it. Neither of us are autistic, but have our own special mental diseases. My wife works with autistic children and loves it so obviously she had much to say about this movie. Your post helps me put it into perspective and I appreciate it. Thanks for sharing this with us and remember, there's always going to be strong support for our beloved neurodiverse community. Peace, love, and respect.
Feb 12, 2021
@nostar thanks for the support, there should be more advocation for this
Feb 12, 2021
<3
Feb 12, 2021
Big Man Reedy vs. Small Cock Sia
Feb 13, 2021
Damn, I didn't even know about this...
Feb 13, 2021
@realrealweasel who will win⁉️
Feb 13, 2021
As someone who's also on the Autism spectrum, this review really means a lot. Thank you for this, my dude πŸ’–.
Feb 13, 2021
Fantastic review. Fuck Sia
Feb 13, 2021
@FleetwoodGrips @Case thank you so much, this is absolutely surreal.
Feb 13, 2021
you dropped your crown πŸ‘‘
Feb 13, 2021
This is important and must be read in every corner, thank you for sharing this with us strangers
Feb 13, 2021
Oh yes!! Not to mention how the movie shows the restraining of the character in a way that has caused death in many autistic people. Uninformed...smh :(
Feb 13, 2021
@ParthanyJobtano yea I’ll pick it up 🀴
@JulianGomez tysm I’m still shocked
Feb 13, 2021
Damn. I had no idea about this. This was very disappointing of Sia. I also didn't know that apparently 5% of diagnosed NDs get undiagnosed. That's concerning.

For the record, I am hugh-functioning. I was diagnosed at three years old. I don't remember how I was, but my mom has stated I didn't speak for two years. I do remember speech therapy, which I had all the way up until high school... when I was taken off it. I had p bad meltdowns whenever loud sounds happened. I still have trouble speaking or communicating, and yeah. Still don't get social cues as much.

I don't state my disorders outright because I don't like to put much emphasize on them. I don't want autism or such to be tokenized or put on a pedestal. It is sometimes living hell.
Feb 13, 2021
I've been around low-functioning and special needs students in high school... and even then, I doubt whether or not I would have experience on that forefront. But... from just what I read, I can imagine that Sia did not at all do her research regarding autism and letting a neurotypical act is.... imo, problematic. I'm not outright strict on it, but I do prefer if NDs were cast instead. If they can do a good job, I'd be fine. I've even known a kid in passing who communicated with an iPad so... yeah. I'm p much expecting the trailer to be horrible.

Even tho I'm way tolerant of my sensory issues now, I would still agree that the movie should be calibrated for autistic people foremost. Also Music is on the nose for a name.

And the Twitter stuff was not helpful either.
Feb 13, 2021
I did watch a few episodes of the Good Doctor, and I enjoyed it back then. I think you are right regarding its portrayal, but I don't find it offensive to me even though I should. Atypical is another series that I think is not that bad, and apparently the creator has actually put in effort to portray it well... even tho the lead actor is not autistic.

But yeah.

Also... about the use of the r-word. I don't mind it's usage personally if it's a joke, but I do understand its harmfulness. I say it very rarely, but even then... I'm not too fancy on it. Still figuring out where I want to stand, or if I should even stand at all.
Feb 13, 2021
Last thing: Support minority creators, but don't support them BECAUSE they're chiefly part of a minority. Going back to what I said, it would be amazing to receive such support but I would be infuriated myself if my disorders are all I am known for and it creates stigmatization.

So yeah. Really good statement. Agreed with p much all of it. I hope you have a good day.
Feb 13, 2021
@sheldon_andre it’s really nice to see more neurodiversity on this site, and you have a great story to tell. Thank you so much for the support.
Feb 13, 2021
As an Aspie who is still overlooked and misunderstood at the age of 23, thank you. Just, thank you. How do I save a review for life so I can read it over and over again?
Feb 13, 2021
@Rob how do you pin someone else’s review
Feb 13, 2021
@ThatOtherGuy I hope things get better for you, thanks a ton.
@SMTCubes lol thanks
Feb 13, 2021
but seriously this was a great read, thank you for opening up on your experiences and explaining what’s wrong with this movie. this is 100% one of the best reviews on the site even if it’s not a typical review, thank you again for putting this out there. <3
Feb 13, 2021

Thank you so so much for addressing this!, from a neurodivergent being to another, thank you so much, I couldn't have stated this any other way
Feb 13, 2021
I thought I replied on this...
Anyway, what a great piece of writing.

I’m sorry that all I can do here is give you a like and a comment :(
I'll try my best to get more people to know about this irl :)

And once again, thank you very much for sharing your experience with us through this extraordinary review. 😊
Feb 14, 2021
@August and @SMTCubes tysm
Feb 14, 2021
I habe a big cock

-reedy

facts
Feb 14, 2021
@TomBejoy only facts yes this is real yes 100% big true
Feb 14, 2021
@AngelSown sorry I didn’t reply, thanks a ton
Feb 14, 2021
reedy hav bieg cok?.????!!?!!,?..??!s?γ…πŸ˜¨πŸ₯ΊπŸ€£πŸ€—πŸ˜ πŸ™„πŸ€­πŸ€­πŸ€­
Feb 14, 2021
You’re a real courageous person, so I want to thank you. Someone very close to me has autism and it effects me everyday so I’m glad this is being spoken about.
Feb 14, 2021
<3
Feb 14, 2021
@August yeah

@ImplicitDoom and @Dudehere once again thank you all
Feb 14, 2021
This was amazing!

Thank you so much for opening up to the community and reinforcing your love for the neurodiverse community! I hope someday there’ll be an authentic portrayal of Autism in the ma in treat someday and that this be a lesson to those who try to craft a progressive piece only for the sake of money and exploiting those who suffer from said illness.
Feb 14, 2021
what an absolutely enthralling piece, reed. one more thing though; is anybody gonna talk about how sia just... straight up put blackface in this movie? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTxw_BTUd2I - like, the darkened makeup, the braids... she really had to sprinkle in that little bit of racism to top it all off ah?
Feb 14, 2021
@oakie WHAT LMAO HAHAHAHAHAHA

@YessYessYessYes 100% agreed with you. Thanks a ton.
Feb 14, 2021
<3
Feb 14, 2021
@Nightwing734 <3 (2)

Heart chain???
Feb 14, 2021
You truly are an amazing writer. It'll for sure take you places. Love ya homie ❀️
Feb 14, 2021
@theryanhimself thanks homie
Feb 14, 2021
Hey man, meant to comment this waaaaay earlier, but this was an amazing piece. I am happy for you that your able to stand up for the people of neurodiverse community, as even though I am not on that spectrum. I felt I learned more about autism than Sia did for this shitass movie. Proud of you, B! :)
Feb 14, 2021
Bruh you dropped this

πŸ‘‘
Feb 15, 2021
<3
Feb 15, 2021
@TehSniper_143 thanks so much, I’m happy you learned something new!
@max2k more crowns I see 😎🀴
@ kylenrico <3
Feb 15, 2021
Thank you for saying all of this reedy, honest to God I'm extremely proud of you. Normally I don't like to talk about this kind of stuff (even to my closest friends) but as someone who is in the spectrum, I'm glad someone finally said something about this with such coherence and honesty. This needed to be said and I'm glad you did, once again thank you reedy ❀
Feb 15, 2021
@MickyT holy crap thanks so much. I’m a huge fan of ur stuff, and I’m extremely thankful for your and everyone’s support. ❀️
Feb 15, 2021
<3
Feb 16, 2021
Autism representation in media is pretty unaccurate since decades (while I love rain man, the movie is pretty centered around only one type of autism. Same applies for recent series or movies) ! My brother has been diagnosis for autism since decades and when I was younger, I didn't understand why people believes that autistic persons are automatically frightened by some sounds, violently repulsive when you change habbits and of course the hyper intelligence. The spectrum is so large, the reactions are so large, it's very similar to each persons. In France we have specialized centers which welcomed large spectrum of handicap : trisomia, autism, etc etc and each one of them is totally different. I also don't understand the big fascination and the huge compassion around autism. There are just ... people. They don't necessarly behave the same way as a good chunk of the population but they aren't just a poor thing ... I'm not angry against the media, they are as clueless as a lot of people
Feb 16, 2021
It was really nice of you to bring this topic to everyone's attention and it was written superbly. It was great that you addressed the stereotypes surrounding this which need to be talked about more. I am not on the spectrum but the repeated unrealistic representations of those who are is sickening. It's a shame this occurred once again but this review really breaks it down well and promotes positive change. Thanks Reedy, a lot of people needed this.
Feb 16, 2021
@Metrik_System tysm, it really means a lot to me
Feb 17, 2021
@reedybdeedy Wow it's a good thing I don't follow anything related to film, b/c man would I have flipped out. Based on what you wrote in this review, it just seems like Sia's attempted something so tone-deaf it makes AJR's "The Click" sound like some gospel & then got mad when people pointed out her tone-deafness. I'm also on the Autism Spectrum, & although I don't really remember where I lie (since I got diagnosed when I was about 2, it's definitely been a while since then), reading this review was really relatable. I also had a speech therapist at a very young age (mostly at home), & was (& definitely still am) a quiet child. I can't flex that I'm undiagnosed, but it seems that you know what you're talking about b/c of your experience having autism. This was a fantastic & relatable read.
Feb 17, 2021
I agree with things said in this essay, but I still don't understand what's wrong with non - autistic person playing an autistic role? Isn't actor's whole job is to play someone they aren't?
Feb 17, 2021
@CRAZYF1R3 I think the main argument that would usually come from it is that is that a non-autistic actor would seem inauthentic in some way. The non-autistic actor would definitely try to seem like they're autistic, & even if they play their role kinda well, at the end of the day, you'd need someone who's actually autistic b/c you'd automatically get a better portrayal of it as that person's actually autistic. That's probably the argument where most people come from when it comes to that issue. The point of an actor is in fact to play someone they aren't, but I think most people would say that they'd rather have an actually good portrayal of autism than someone who's trying as hard as they can but most likely failing.
Feb 17, 2021
@CRAZYF1R3 it’s more in the sense where if a neurotypical person acts disabled, it can lead to harmful stereotypes being spread to the masses through the media if the actor doesn’t do enough research. There are also plenty of autistic actors out there, and it’s a shame to see that in this situation, Sia chose Maddie, who didn’t want to be there in the first place, and admitted that her performance was offensive. Also, with autistic actors, you dg a more accurate portrayal of the disability since those people are going through it themselves.

@KoopaToad18 thanks for the support
Feb 17, 2021
Also not dg it’s get lol
Feb 20, 2021
Very well written, thanks for shedding light onto this issue.
5d ago
props for talking about this Reedy :)

do you have any people or resources I can learn more about autism? your review was super good bro
4d ago
really well said, thanks for sharing.
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