Venus Meets Venus

by kaleidofish profile

2014

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Let us expand and complicate some definitions, June 10, 2023

Without delay, Venus Meets Venus makes it clear: this relationship will not end well, and the blame for it will fall squarely upon the protagonist's shoulders. Knowing this, I instinctively braced myself. How is it going to happen? Will it be related to this detail, or maybe that one? Ah, surely it'll involve this. Is Lynn going to say something thoughtless and stupid? Will there be a big fight of some kind?

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and it is to the writing's credit that it never does. Of course it doesn't; that'd be too simple, too easy. Had Lynn only made a singular big mistake that ruined everything, she could've comforted herself by thinking, ah, if only I hadn't done that one thing. If only I'd made a different choice at that point. Then, everything would've been fine. But what to do when one's failures are instead numerous, yet nearly invisible individually? What comfort can be had if, by the time you notice their accumulation, it's already long been too late?

As someone who's grown rather tired of straightforward, successful romance stories, Venus Meets Venus is energizing. I might've found the narration a little too dramatic or blunt at times, but it's hard for me to complain about that when the characters of Lynn and Macy, as well as their relationship, are all so soberingly real. Yes! Give me not fantasy, but this: the depressing, unsolvable complexity of the real world.

All of the above would have already been enough to make Venus stand out as a queer work, but it is the specifics of its realism that marks it as one of the greats in my mind. I've simply not seen anything else ever acknowledge the particular kind of transphobic violence it details, and honestly, no wonder. It's difficult to even imagine this desire to make things simple, to flatten individual complexities into easily-digestible general narratives, as violence in the first place. Further, these narratives have become so entrenched in society as of late that they've become nearly inescapable hell, even I succumb to them sometimes, and I'm a trans woman too.

But this is still violence. This is still dehumanization. If there is a core to all of Lynn's failures, then surely it is (Spoiler - click to show)her instinct to see Macy as a "Trans Woman", rather than a person. And how beautiful it is that, unlike what the game claims at the start, I actually can't blame her for it. After all, who is at fault here: her as an individual, or an entire society that has come to care more about Representation than the lives of real human beings?

It truly boggles the mind that Venus Meets Venus is nearly 10 years old, when it feels like it could've been written today. We long have been, and still continue to be, in desperate need of more stories like it.

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