Sia’s ‘Music’ is harmful for autistic individuals

Sia’s ‘Music’ is harmful for autistic individuals

Jess Oakley, Reporter

Sia is a 45-year-old pop singer from Australia who is famous for her song “Chandelier” and wearing wigs that never show her face. Currently, she is in the process of making a movie called “Music.” The basic synopsis of the movie is about the relationship between a drug addict sister and a young teenage girl who is a non-verbal and autistic. Sia claims to have worked closely with the neurodivergent community, neurodivergence being anything that isn’t strictly normal brain, and by that I mean ADHD, autism, dyslexia, Tourette’s, etc. Despite Sia having claimed to be working with them no one is happy about this movie. 

There have been cuts of the movie to be released extra early and there’s actually harmful force used against this autistic girl while she’s having a meltdown.  Meltdowns are when an autistic individual is feeling too much stimulation at one time and can’t self-regulate to bring themselves back to equilibrium. During a meltdown an autistic person might cry, scream or hit themselves, and the one thing you should never do is hold them down. This is actually so obvious, yet it happens multiple times in the movie. You wouldn’t hold down a crying child just because they’re crying, so you shouldn’t hold down an autistic person just because they’re having a meltdown. Sometimes even physical touch will send them into a further meltdown. 

The best thing to do for someone who’s having a meltdown would be to just be quiet and don’t yell at them. Please don’t yell at them, try to stay quiet and just let them breathe for a while. If you hold an autistic person down you may actually seriously hurt them or even kill them because in that state of mind they’re not going to tell you to get off them and even if they do would people listen to them?  

Another issue with the movie is that Sia casted a non-autistic person for the lead role. This is an issue because for so long autistic people have been begging to be able to tell our own stories.  Autistic people have to live this life and never get to say anything about it, but people like Sia, who have never had any actual involvement with the community, get to tell the story and get the profit. She was asked multiple times by multiple different people for her to have a different cast with an actually autistic person. She made the claim that she had worked with a non-verbal autistic person, but that it was too difficult and stressful for her. I think this is the most interesting. Sia wants to tell our stories but isn’t even willing to give us a voice.  

When people called her out for this and called her an ableist, which is someone who is prejudiced against disabled people, she actually admitted to it. She came right out and said yeah well it is ableism, and yet nothing was done. I haven’t heard more than three people that aren’t autistic talk about this movie. It’s just very frustrating that it seems like that only autistic people care. We are being spoken over again, and we are the only people that are speaking out against it. 

I talked to some other autistic people and family members of autistic people about the movie and one thing is clear, we all hate Sia for this. We all agree that it’s so dangerous for this movie to be released. We’re tired of neurotypical savior stories. We’re tired of being treated like we don’t have something to say about the world we live in. We’re tired of being treated like children or animals. We’re tired of people like Sia saying they want to tell our stories, yet literally partners with an autism hate crime organization, Autism Speaks. 

Autism Speaks is actively looking for a cure for autism. A cure for something that isn’t broken or an illness. Autistic people aren’t a burden or something that needs to be fixed. Another issue is that Autism Speaks doesn’t have a single autistic person on their board, so once again autistic people are trying to speak and are spoken over by neurotypicals. The only solace I get from this movie is that the rating on Rotten Tomatoes is so low already. The Raven currently is at 29%. My only hope is for the rating to get so low that Sia actually loses money on it.  That probably won’t happen though because once again, autistic voices aren’t heard. Let’s just say if I had a budget of 16 million dollars I would actually talk to autistic people and have their opinions put into the movie. I cannot stress this enough, but if you read this before watching the movie, can you please just tell other people that this is another instance of neurotypical people speaking over autistic voices?  Please, we are tired of this.

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