The video for ’23′ featuring Miley Cyrus has just been released, and I don’t think you’ll be shocked to hear that I find it pretty controversial. What is shocking is why. Sure, she’s scantily clad and her tongue is out and she’s gyrating — I’ve become disturbingly numb to all that. But her new trick is smoking cigarettes, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the most offensive things she’s done yet.
I even kind of like the song (more than ‘We Can’t Stop‘ and ‘Wrecking Ball‘ anyway, which isn’t saying a whole lot), but I’m just so distracted and annoyed by the fact that Miley’s trying to make smoking look cool again. Haven’t we already been through this? Hasn’t Hollywood been working kind of tirelessly to give smoking the kind of stigma it deserves on television and in movies? I mean, aside from shows like Mad Men where it’s really necessary to provide period context, you really don’t see that many characters smoking cigarettes these days. (And even when they do, they typically use herbal cigarettes that don’t contain nicotine. I mean come on. It’s 2013.)
I get that there are some people out there who are still loyal supporters of Miley even through all this hypersexuality stuff. It really is her body, and she’s entitled to do whatever she wants with it, even if that ends up being something I’d rather not watch on national television. Or anywhere. But my issue with her from the beginning has been the message that she’s sending to her young fans — and no, I’m not even referring to specifically those who came up with her from Hannah Montana anymore. I feel like those days were so long ago that they’re not even really a part of the conversation anymore.
I’m talking about current fans of her music, fans of her lifestyle, fans of her movies, fans of her relationship with Liam Hemsworth. There are millions and millions of people who look to her to see what’s cool, and a large percentage of them are young, impressionable people who really don’t need yet another reason in the world to start smoking. I mean come on, girl. You do it in real life, do we really need to see it in a video? It’s just a disservice to your fans, I feel like, because where it’s fair or not (spoiler alert: it’s not), you have an unwritten responsibility to set a good example for them. It’s one of the drawbacks of being in the public eye.
Especially after reading that Rolling Stone interview with her, I’m just so fed up with Miley and her attitude. It’s like she thinks that because she had to listen to adults so much earlier in her career when she was still a kid herself, that she doesn’t have to act like an adult now that she is one. I just think it’s stupid, and irresponsible, and it’s starting to piss me off. But enjoy this video, I guess. Miley’s rumored new boyfriend Mike WiLL Made-It is in it also. Not that the music really even matters anymore with her.