Sadly I don’t mean the ice-cream company. I mean the singer.
Beside singing she apparently also tries to direct movies, and on the 19:th of November the trailer was released. It got a lot of backlash, because it is about “Zu is newly sober when she receives news that she is to become the sole guardian of her half-sister named Music, a young girl on the autism spectrum.” (IMDB. n.d). Sounds nice right? If done correctly this could have been a nice, heartwarming movie with good autistic representation. Sia managed to fail on the representation front without even having to release the movie. Music is played by Maddie Ziegler, who is not autisitc.
If a disabled actor is not cast to portray a disabled character, then the movie has already failed with its representation. It doesn’t matter how good the storyline is, disabled characters should always be portrayed by disabled actors.
The best thing is (/s) that Sia did originally have an autistic actor, but she found the filming environment stressful and unpleasant. So instead of changing the environment Sia hired a neurotypical instead. This is stupid and frustrating in so many ways that I can’t even write it out.
Another amazingly ironic thing she did was when she expressed her anger over the movie being judged before it could be watched. In a way Sia experienced what many autistics (and other neurodivergents) experience on a daily basis; being judged beforehand.
She claims to have done a ton of research for this movie, but she did still pair up with Autism Speaks, which is more or less an autism hate group. For example, they have no, or close to none autistic board members. Most of their money doesn’t go to helping autistics and they want to cure autism. In short, they suck and now Sia does too.
Sia did also refer to autism as a “special ability” rather than a disability. That just screams ableist to me. No one that truly respects autistics would say it gave us a special ability. I’m good at many things, but I’m also limited in many ways. You could almost say it hinders my life. Disables it even.
Now, I can’t say whether the movie is actually good or not. But I have seen the trailer and from that one minute clip, I can tell that the portrayal of autism seems stereotypical, but I guess it is nice that Music is a girl? It is also a lot of things happening all of the time and that seems kind of exhausting to watch. That’s all you will ever hear from me about the actual movie, I have no intention to see it.
I do not understand why neurotypicals insist on making movie after movie about autistics played by other neurotypicals and still acting surprised when we say we would have preferred if the actor actually was autistic.
IMDB. (n.d). Music. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7541720/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_6