Balanced & Broken: A Pop Culture Exploration of Venus in Libra by Guest Blogger and Austin’s Star Student, Nick Cititello.
Venus: “You gotta hear this one song, it’ll change your life I swear.”
The quirky rom-com girl. She’s not a stunning beauty, though she’s usually comely. Her body isn’t the nicest you’ve seen, but you want to touch her. There’s something about her that charms you very easily, naturally, like it’s her job.
Turns out that it is. I thought I was the only one that wanted Natalie Portman to be my girlfriend after seeing Garden State, but there’s a whole internet full of like-minded nerds out there who fell for her portrayal of “Sam” in said film. I have been queried, on more than one occasion, by women who don’t understand her appeal, and I don’t really know how to explain it to them. She’s got the right combination of weirdo and interesting, mixed with a laid-back attitude and a very bright smile.
In the movie, Zach Braff plays a young man whose emotions have been numbed by anti-depression medicine for over half of his life. The lithium was prescribed by his psychiatrist father, following an accident which crippled his mother. He has returned from Hollywood to his New Jersey hometown for his mother’s funeral. While in town, he meets Sam, a girl who lies about her life for kicks, and who has a love of animals and songs by Frou Frou. As they connect, he discontinues his dosage of anti-depression meds, discovering for the first time in years that he can feel something for another human being, something good. But with the good comes all the unresolved conflict with his father, whose diagnosis has deprived him of a heart for a very long time.
Sam’s lies are benign, a method of flirtation – when Braff’s character offers her a ride home on his motorcycle, she complains that her boyfriend’s bike is way cooler, only to reveal at the end of the ride that said boyfriend does not exist. She invites him into her world slowly but surely, keeping his interest with silly quips and noises and stories. There’s a lot more flirtation involved in the film than there is actual physical consummation of the romance, and for her part, there is a marked dependency on the relationship that nearly crushes her when it looks like he’ll be going back to California for good. These are both Libra relationship staples. But most of all, the carefree charm that she exhibits is telling of the power of Venus in its dignity. It’s the intellectual/emotional equivalent to the physical/emotional response that the Venus in Taurus “blatantly hot girl” archetype exhibits.
Of course, this is the suburban version of Venus in Libra. The same attributes could be applied to the coy coquette in the black evening dress. But it works just as well in a pink hoodie and jeans. Speaking of that evening dress…
Venus: “I’m the only girl you can’t have, and it kills you.”
The manipulative bitch. See, not all women with that easy charm want to use it to connect to nice boys with feelings. Maybe they did at one point, but were dicked over, taught that there is no justice or balance in affairs of the heart, and made a conscious decision to stop looking for love and start getting what they want. Or just engage in some sadism through mental cruelty and instigation of conflict. This is a lady who knows how to bend people to her will, whether they want her for their own or just don’t want to piss her off.
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that Kathryn from Cruel Intentions was the first one to spring to mind on this, especially since she’s based on Marquise de Merteuil from Les Liasons Dangereuses, which would have been a much classier lead-in. But I digress. The plot is the same in each film: manipulative girl bets manipulative boy that he can’t corrupt innocent girl. Manipulative boy falls for innocent girl, and manipulative girl tries to destroy them both out of spite. To do this, she employs gossip and sex to move less-clever nobles about like chess pieces, particularly in pitting one of her more angry and impetuous acquaintances against her former comrade. She gets her comeuppance eventually, but not before causing a lot of destruction with her talented lips and tongue.
Emma Frost, The White Queen, a former X-Men villainess-turned-heroine also fits this profile. However, she doesn’t need to rely on words and affection (though she sometimes falls back on this), as she is a powerful psychic who can manipulate minds and bend wills as a part of her innate mutant ability.