From Scary Movie onwards, Anna Faris has brilliantly subverted female lead movie tropes. In the 2011 The New Yorker piece “Funny Like A Guy,” she express her desire to verge from the Type A, likable and romantic roles offered to so many Hollywood starlets. She craves grit and authenticity: “I’d like to explore Type D, the sloppy ones,” she said.
So it makes sense that Faris’s relationship with Barbie, an early image of a stereotyped adult woman, was a little unconventional. In conversation with Conan O’Brien, the actress revealed that her childhood included “a lot of Barbies... [and that she] was fascinated with murder as a child.” Instead of going on dates with Ken, her Barbies solved murder mysteries. And although her mother doesn’t know this, she tells Conan, “There was a weird sexual component to it [...] had like a Barbie whorehouse.”
Faris’s retelling of the slightly disturbing story is not only entertaining, but perhaps it also offers refreshing insights into the way we, as girls, are asked to confront early models of sexuality and femininity. I mean, I don’t know about you, but a lot of the young ladies in my class enjoyed undressing Barbie and discussing her lack of genitalia. A graduate student at my college wrote and produced a play about the phenomenon in which Barbie was played by an actual actress. Just like many of her portrayals of women onscreen, Faris’s childhood relationship with Barbie sounds perfectly normal and authentic. She’s not “funny like a guy,” she’s a funny, courageous woman! Watch the video below, and let us know what you think in the comments!