Is the Meaning behind ‘Elastic Heart’ Art or Pedophilia


Is the Meaning behind Elastic Heart: Art or Pedophilia

As you may or may not know, the music video for Sia’s latest single, “Elastic Heart” was released on the 7th of January 2015. There has been a lot of uproar about this video and has been heavily branded as inappropriate by certain members of society.

The controversial video shows two performers in a cage performing some type of contemporary dance to create a short story. The problem here is that both performers are dressed in nude coloured clothing; one a 12-year-old girl (Maddie Ziegler) and the other a fully grown man (Shia Labeouf).

Yes, you’ve probably guessed it. There are shouts that the video is representing or presenting some sort of pedophilia.

Truth be told, the video has nothing to do with the subject at all and is a beautiful form of art with great music, amazing singing, beautiful lyrics and an awe-inspiring performance from everybody involved in creating the video.


After watching the video several times today, before I even realised it had become a trending topic in the news feeds, I think I finally understand what the video portrays. Well this is my own personal interpretation anyhow.



This is the first time I’ve tried to analyse a music video but I feel the need to do so, just so people can understand the beauty and not write it off as inappropriate. So watch the video and read through what I see what it signifies.


The video starts off showing the young girl and grown man trapped in a cage inside a white room dressed in nude-coloured clothing.

This to me represents the mind of an individual with two personalities trapped inside. The cage represents confinement and the white room, closed off from the world, shows that it’s a private matter. There is no colour in the video and I think that represents that it’s a serious psychological matter as entire scene reminds me of a mental asylum.

The clothes of the performers are filthy and the two glare at each other panting hard as they encircle each other.

The filthy clothing can represent an ongoing struggle as it clearly seems the two have gone at it for a while and neither is willing to back down yet. The man also has a decent sized beard that has sprouted which also can mean a lot of time has elapsed inside this cage for him and his state is clearly one of distraught.

The male reluctantly steps forward to meet the wild girl and immediately steps back clutching his chest at where his heart should be whilst she makes an aggressive expression in his direction. A stand-off of various gestures occurs following this.

I believe this shows that it is the girl who is doing the challenging and the man seems a little afraid of the whole ordeal. Although he is trying to compete with the girl but he is unable to match her eccentric nature and ability.

The girl manages to scare the male into evading her but eventually she is able to take him by the arm and throw him against the cage. A fight ensues between them but it is the girl who is again in control and the man is at the receiving end of kicks and strikes. She is even able to mount his back and take him down to his knees.

I believe this represents the more dominant personalities that are trapped inside the cage and although one of them is trying to hold on, the other is able to provoke it into combat and forces its dominance upon it.

The man manages to climb to the top of the spherical cage and hang from the centre as the girl ends up falling to the ground below him. He jumps down eventually but is careful not to hurt the girl. He moves in close to her to inspect her but the girl springs back to life. He gives her his hand in a friendly gesture but she bites his finger.

This gesture was a bit confusing but it seems to me that through will-power, the personality that is represented by the man can stay clear from the danger that the eccentric young girl represents until she grows weary and falls asleep. He isn’t violent in nature and wants to get to know and understand the little girl.

The girl however isn’t willing to trust him and her wild nature attacks him despite the friendly gesture but this is not after she had drawn him into a false sense of security as she too allowed him to draw nearer and in a vulnerable position where he could get hurt.

This gets the personality of the man angry and he decides to fight back. The two compete on equal footing now and the man too shows that he can be dominant as he lifts her off her feet several times but she still manages to fight back. The man continues to chase her but is left astonished as the girl is able to escape through the cage due to her slim figure and he is left reeling in fury inside the cage.

They finally reveal the violent nature of the man and how he now isn’t willing to hold back any longer. Unfortunately for him, he finds out that hard way that he cannot leave the cage whilst the girl can and this in turn infuriates him even further and he falls into a feeling of true despair.

The girl watches him with an innocent but teasing smile as she taunts him. He shakes the cage in anger a few times but eventually slumps to a crouch. The girl walks back into the cage and handsprings on to his back so that he is holding her legs on his shoulders as she dangles freely upside-down.

This to me shows that he willing to accept the burden that he is trapped inside and the girl is willing to accept his gesture of friendship but on her own terms. The way he lifts her as he gets off the ground felt like he finally understood what it means to carry the responsibility of something worthwhile. It seemed like a whole new world had opened up to him.

The girl sits up on his shoulders and allows him to hold her hands before she swings around into his arms. She knocks his head a few times and his expression changes each time, ranging from fun, to angry and eventually all expression leaves his face as he seems to switch off. She watches him in thought for a moment before seemingly switching him on again as if she has reprogrammed him to her liking.

This marks the period of rehabilitation for the man as the girl accepts him and then goes through eradicating the problematic characteristics the personality of the man held.

She takes his hand and leads him toward the outside of the cage and although she can manage to escape, he is too large and is unable to despite his greatest efforts in leaving the cage with her. He holds onto her and stares at her in agony and despair whilst she stands there helplessly tugging at him. The man finally gives up as the realisation sinks in that there is no way for him to escape the cage now.

This was very emotional to see. Despite the two personalities settling their differences, the grown male personality is forever imprisoned inside the cage and only the girl is allowed to leave.


As you can see, this isn’t your usual run-of-the-mill music video. There is a very interesting and I believe worthwhile story in there that should be viewed by the world with an attempt to understanding it made.

Obviously like all forms of art it is open to interpretation but my overall view was that of two personalities that belong to artist. Whilst the older one is unconfident and has anger issues, it is still very compassionate and vulnerable. The younger personality is wild and creative and can take care of herself. She is independent and full-of-life but can also be difficult to handle due to her wild nature.

There was a struggle between the two personalities and although they have come to terms with each other, one remains trapped whilst the other is allowed to roam freely.

I think they both represent parts of the artist’s life. Although she has come to terms with her past and present self; the past must remain inside the cage despite how desperate her present self is for it to be a part of her future.


Do watch the video and decide whether it’s an abomination in the name of a music video or a remarkable piece of art.


12 responses to “Is the Meaning behind ‘Elastic Heart’ Art or Pedophilia

  1. Excellent interpretation Desperado. I agree with you also renykyoko.
    My interpretation, since it is suppose to be one person represented is the masculine and feminine energy that we have to battle in life. We sometimes have to assert one or the other. (I.e. The “thick skin” “elastic heart”) Sia is a talented female artist and as woman we have to know when to be dominant with our masculin and feminine energy. This “person” seems off balance. Maddie Ziegler is obviously playing the part of Sia, the hair looks like Sia’s and Shia is very masculine and emotional. That’s the gist this could go much deeper but since I don’t know Sia and her personal struggles and what motivates her then that’s what I see as the surface of the meaning. I think it’s awesome. Great job Sia. Society today has too much media in their faces and are not in the habit of thinking for themselves so automatically want to assume it is pedophile material.


    • Completely agree with you. I love the thick skin, elastic heart concept. Usually its only the lyrics, voice and music that is special for me in a song. One of the first time when the video is in par with everything else.


  2. I agree. I don’t listen to radio or any popular music (I usually listen to classical or traditional scot and irish music). But i checked this out to see what all the fuss was about. I really like it–the whole package–the music, lyrics, and singer are great but i found the video absolutely fascinating. Thanks for the analysis! — Osla


  3. IMO the problem is that society has sexualised children. I don’t see anything sexual or inappropriate in this – its simply performance art.


  4. I don’t think he is trapped in the cage, as you can see 3:02 in the video he almost slips out of the cage. I don’t think this was by accident but was showing us that he could leave the cage if he wanted to. I think he is unwilling/afraid to come out of the cage.


  5. My issue with this video is much more complicated than seems to be expressed in most of these posts. The issues can be phrased in a lot of ways, but calling the video pedophilia is not correct.

    1) Does the video represent pedophilia in an artistic dance? For me this is unquestionably, “yes.” I don’t see how the dance is interpreted any other way. The cage represents the destructive psychological trap of codependency and hate. Either of them can escape, but they choose not to. After the five minute mark, when the music stops, seems to represent the consummation of the relationship.

    All that being said, an artistic representation of pedophilia, is not pedophilia and can be valuable. I just don’t see how denying that image is constructive. After all, the lyrics say, “There were so many red flags.”

    2) The more important question is ‘who would place a twelve year-old girl in a cage with Shia LaBeouf? Some people may remember him as a child star, for me, Shia LaBeouf represents everything wrong with making children into entertainment super-stars. He has spent the last few years of his career in a pseudo-“life as art” project trying to escape his child-star past. He has been expressing this through softcore performance art as painted by teenage angst and substance abuse. He is a parody of an “artist” who has taken self-absorption to its natural extreme. Who would let a rising twelve year old child star near that? That is basically telling that child that Shia LaBeouf is normal and we expect her to go through that same stage of development. Worse yet, it is telling her that she is mature enough to understand such a relationship.

    3) The video is perfect material for the stages of grooming by pedophiles. Basically, grooming is exposing children to progressively worse images of pedophilia, giving them the impression that adult-child relationships are a normal stage of development. The goal is to break down any reservations to adult-child relationships during a period of self-doubt. Our society is not lacking such images, but such a high profile video makes it easier. “Your parents won’t understand the beauty of this art, but you and I do. You’re no longer a little child, and your parents don’t see that.

    Clearly, sex sells and controversy sells. We all know that. That’s the basisbehind these sorts of images. This video is the latest in a long line of pop-culture images trying to normalize child sexuality. This attitude doesn’t help the children of today, nor Maddie Ziegler navigate this time of confusion. As I see it, that is the true legacy of denial. Instead of proclaiming that “this is an artistic representation of the destructive nature of pedophilia”, they are saying “this is art. You just don’t understand it.” Which is exactly the message pedophiles love, “This is beautiful, your parents just don’t understand you.”


    • I just want to let you know that although Maddie is twelve, she fully understands what pedophillia is, and her mother told her about the trouble Shia had been in. A lot of people think twelve year olds are ignorant children, but that is not the case. For some reason, twelve seems like a very young age to many people, but twelve year olds are very mature and smart.


  6. I agree that it is art for sure. Sia put up the video to create controversy. She wanted people to interpret it for themselves. Many creative or so-called “right-brained” people saw it as art, while many of the “left-brained” saw it as pedophillic. My interpretation was that it was representing the fact that you don’t need to be the same to be in love. Maddie was playing a wild animal, while Shia was the human. It was metaphorical for saying that love can be between any two people, no matter how different or alike. Shia was trying to get Maddie to warm up to him, but she was too wild and fought back. He eventually gave up on her, but when he gave up, she began dying. So, out of pity, he tried again, and eventually they “fell in love.” I love this video and I think it is beautiful.


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