“23” and Lacan

Within Lacan fresh in my head, I immediately noticed the presence of the mirror shots in Miley Cyrus’s new music video for “23.” The first shot is seen at 0:41 and the second at 5:01. While Lacan focuses on the mirror stage, which occurs between the ages of 6 and 18 months, the video made me wonder how we can think about how celebrities relate to the images of themselves that they constantly produce.

In the mirror shots in “23,” Miley Cyrus is writing on the mirror and the camera is positioned behind her to capture the image of her in the mirror, looking at what she is writing. This means we are looking at the image of her in the mirror which is looking at the mirror, but not at herself.  At first I thought the presence of the mirror and her image in it were significant. However, I now begin to wonder if media representations themselves are a type of mirror. If so, how do celebrities relate to the images they produce? Also, if celebrities are producing the images, can the images be the product of a mirror since they are not passively reflected?

I also can’t help but think that the mirror shots are somehow related to the recent controversy surrounding her VMA performance and her image change. In these shots, the mirror distances us from her image. Maybe this distancing is supposed to call our attention to the fact that we are simply viewing images of her, and not the real her? Or maybe the fact that she does not look at her image while we do suggests that she doesn’t care how her image looks to us?

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