It’s well-established that the overrepresentation of white dudes in film directing means more movies about white dudes that reflect the values and interests of white dudes. But the problem becomes particularly obvious when these directors cast themselves as their own leads. Affleck’s is an egregious example, but he’s in good company: Charlie Chaplin, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, George Clooney, and Ben Stiller all paved the way.
In rare cases, these directors have used their power to highlight alternate perspectives. Clint Eastwood regularly leverages his position as an old white guy to explore how other old white guys might interact with people who aren’t old white guys (female boxers, Asian immigrants, their own daughters). And sometimes, these directors are actually correcting imbalances in Hollywood storytelling. There aren’t enough good roles for elderly actors, for example.
But you know who there really aren’t enough good roles for? Non-white, non-dude actors. Male actors are still valued higher than female ones. They get better roles and draw higher salaries (Taylor Lautner made more than Kristen Stewart in 2010). Historically,moving behind the camera has been easier for men than women. Meanwhile, black and Latino audiences buy movie tickets at a higher rate than white viewers, but appear less frequently on screen and are rarely stationed behind the camera. And characters of color are still routinely whitewashed, from Argo to the Hunger Games.