Mattel Introduces Barbie Music Producer Doll to Highlight the Gender Gap in the Music Industry

Barbie Career of the Year 2021: Music Producer | Source: Mattel

Timed with the conclusion of the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Mattel has revealed its 2021 Barbie Career of the Year Doll: Barbie Music Producer.

While the VMAs paid tribute to a new class of artists amid MTV’s 40th Anniversary year, recent studies have shown that even though female artists dominate the pop charts, less than 3% of today’s music is produced by women. The unveiling of Music Producer as the latest Barbie Career of the Year is part of the continuing mission of the Barbie Dream Gap Project — an effort that seeks to level the playing field for all careers. Four versions of the Music Producer Doll are available starting today. Each wears a graphic tee, jeans, an iridescent crop jacket, and platform boots and has colorful hair. The dolls also come with a sound mixing board, computer, and headphone accessories.

Source: Mattel

As part of the launch, Barbie has joined forces with Grammy Award-nominated music producer, songwriter, singer, and actress Ester Dean, Girls Make Beats, and MTV for a variety of initiatives aimed at introducing the world of music production to girls everywhere.

“As part of our ongoing Dream Gap Project, Barbie is dedicated to leveling the playing field for girls in careers where women are underrepresented, like music producer,” says Mattel’s Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls.  “By exposing girls to inspiring women excelling in this role — like Ester Dean — and by highlighting the music producer career with dolls, Barbie is reminding girls of their limitless potential. Our partnership with Girls Make Beats takes our efforts one step further, championing female voices from the studio to the stage and giving girls the tools to pursue a future as a music producer.”

Source: Mattel

“I am honored to lend my voice to Barbie to inspire young girls to learn more about becoming a music producer,” says Ester Dean. “While female voices are heard from the stage, so many critical decisions are made behind the scenes and in the studio. Having been in the industry for over a decade, I’ve witnessed the power female voices can have in shaping the future of music production and want to ensure more women are in the room.”

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Girls Make Beats is an organization dedicated to expanding the female presence in music, particularly as music producers, DJs, and audio engineers. Barbie is funding Girls Make Beats scholarships to give more girls access to pursue their future dream. Together, Barbie, Girls Make Beats and Dean will host a live webinar, open to girls ages 5-17.

On Sept. 18, at 8 p.m. ET, an hour-long takeover of MTV’s Saturday Music Video Block will be hosted by Barbie and feature hit songs produced exclusively by women. The event will be followed by Barbie’s latest vlog, I Interview Ester Dean, Song Machine, on Friday, Sept. 24 on the Barbie YouTube channel.

For more information about the Barbie Dream Gap Project and the upcoming webinar with Ester Dean, visit

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About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.