Why I wont be watching Sia’s Music

Kit Carlier


Kit Carlier talks about the controversy around Sia's film Music and why they won't be watching it.

We need to talk about Sia – or rather, what the Grammy-nominated singer has been getting up to lately with her capital-M Music. 

In the wild, constant spiral of the twenty-four-hour news cycle and a world ravaged by a pandemic, it can be difficult to visualise such facts in time. One - Autism Acceptance Month took place in April, and two - Sia’s film Music was only released in January of this year. 

If you are living under a rock, not beholden to the never-ending flow of social media, congratulations, you must have no clue what I’m talking about. Go about your day in bliss, unaware of the fact this A-list celebrity has garnered all her knowledge of autism without speaking to autistic people directly and has promoted prone restraint as a quick and easy fix to your little sister’s meltdown! 

Wait…what?

Twitter's response to Sia's Music film

That is right. From the high-stress, inevitably nepotistic production; to the flashy, even racist, meltdown-inducing scenes; to the Twitter after-party of nightmares, Sia’s Music has it all. Across the internet (as we can’t exactly meet and protest in real life right now), autistics have bravely subjected themselves to a film that seems to go out of its way to be triggering and discussed their own experiences, even traumatic, for the world to see.

I am not one of these brave autistics. Or, at least, I have not fulfilled the first criteria; that is, seeing Sia’s film. I have my limits. As someone under the disabled umbrella, I suppose this is just as inevitable as Sia’s casting choice of her non-autistic goddaughter for the eponymous autistic character’s role.

Regardless: I might just join my fellow autistics in adding some well-needed, first-hand experience to the shockingly ableist noise. Being transgender as well, I can say with a firmness that I’m even doubly sick of the discourse. But I also know how a problem so big as transphobia or ableism against autistics cannot be ignored, or things will never change.

My experience

I have been restrained during an already oppressive situation. I was bullied for half of my life, and I have felt alone amongst non-autistics and autistics alike. I think I despise the phrase ‘giving others a voice’ because whether hyperverbal, nonspeaking or somewhere in-between, autistics have always had a voice.

It’s just that there seems always to be other voices to shout over us. Autism acceptance, as opposed to awareness, is a concept only appearing to be accepted now – the former has stood behind the latter for too long. The individual voice of Sia and the collective voice of charities taking over the vibrant, diverse voices of autistics themselves is a microcosm. An ugly light shone over a neglected issue.

Non-autistics need to step up to the plate and then take a step to the side. There’s one thing good about the internet, and that’s the range of autistic voices that are easily accessible.

Befriend an autistic! Organise, volunteer and listen not to Music but to our words.