Main White Male Lead Discussion

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11:30:51 AM May 2nd 2018
Aside from being white and male, what are some common characteristics of the white male lead?
11:53:57 AM Jan 12th 2017
edited by Larkmarn
Pulled the entire Star Wars example. Reasoning will be in bold.

  • Star Wars
    • The Empire Strikes Back: Despite the introduction of Lando, Luke is always in charge throughout the original trilogy.
      • This only makes sense if introducing a new character means that it logically follows for him to be the new main character. The fact the main character is still Luke is not this trope.
    • The Prequel Trilogy had this. Introducing Mace Windu, a Maori Jango Fett, and other minorities, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padme; (All White) recieve the most screen time.
      • Again, it's not this trope because it's continuing (or rather, leading up to) the same story as the original trilogy. It suddenly being about Mace Windo or Jango Fett would be an entirely different movie.
    • In The Force Awakens, Finn (Black Male,) is implied to be the hero for most of the movie, and Poe Dameron is played by Hispanic actor Oscar Isaac. While both do play major roles in the films, it's revealed that Rey (White female) is the Chosen One while the main antagonist is Kylo Ren (White Man).
      • None of the leads are white males, though.

I wouldn't be averse to adding an example for A New Hope, mind you. Of all the characters in the galaxy, the straight white male was the who was the Chosen One which seems like it could be at play. I might come back and add that. But these three are crazy shoehorns.
08:42:54 AM Aug 12th 2013
This page is proof that TV Tropes has succumbed to their white-guilt and male-guilt. It's vitriolic and pathetic. I really hate how biased this site has become in the name of "Political correctness", it's almost bordering on Political Correctness Gone Mad.
08:47:01 AM Aug 12th 2013
How is it any of those things? This trope is an observable phenomenon. Claiming it doesn't exist is just... kinda silly. I don't get how that's vitriolic to claim "marketing people find white male leads to be the most marketable overall" to even be overly politically correct.
02:34:24 PM Oct 7th 2013
Leder Hozen is prefectly right. "Cisgender" gave me a chuckle. Stay classy, tumblrTropes.
08:35:49 AM Jul 20th 2014
It wouldn't be especially classy to not acknowledge that transgendered people exist, so I for one hope the site will "stay classy".
01:19:21 PM Jul 20th 2014
Eh, this discussion ended one year ago. Let it die.

And, IMO, Mr Shakar is Right for the Wrong Reasons. Transgender people should obviously be acknowledged but "cisgender" is a nonsense term. You can always say non-transgender.
04:16:29 AM Jul 20th 2015
edited by NNewt84
Wait… This is TV Tropes being politically correct? But… it's grouping women with minorities. Because, you know, that doesn't have any unfortunate implications. I can only imagine how I'd feel about that if I were a girl. If that's politically correct, then I've lost all hope for womankind.
05:05:56 PM May 14th 2013
edited by
07:34:39 PM May 14th 2013
... what?
08:39:47 PM Feb 23rd 2013
Shouldn't this trope be called "STRAIGHT White Male Lead"? After all, aside a few rare cases, the big big big majority of white male leads (in video games, movies, tv shows, whatever) are heterosexual.
01:26:16 AM Feb 24th 2013
Perhaps. However, White Male Lead gets across that it has to be generic without being long, and the description mentions other traits like being straight.
05:57:15 PM Sep 12th 2013
It might be a good idea to rename it. On the other hand, a big majority of white males in REALITY are heterosexual, so it doesn't tie into the 'disproportionate representation' aspect of the trope.
01:37:34 AM Feb 23rd 2013
edited by Arivne
The following are Zero Context Examples. If you know something about them please add enough information to show that they're examples of this trope and return them to the main page.

Live-Action TV
05:10:02 AM Feb 7th 2013
When you think about it this trope is incredibly fairly broad in Western media. I mean a lot of or even most shows and movies have white male leads, action movies (unless he's Will Smith), Spy films, sci-fi movies, basically all superhero movies (minus Catwoman, Supergirl & Elektra)...put traditionally "blokey" movie under White Male Lead and you basically have examples. Maybe we should start listing aversions.
04:52:05 PM Jul 1st 2012
I'm a bit creeped out by the way several entries on this trope page have been made by people who apparently believe that white people who are Jewish are not white. The idea that Jewish people are somehow a separate race has a really ugly history, and should TVT be endorsing this?
04:56:30 PM Jul 1st 2012
I looked and I see what you mean. I guess Jewish is considered minority even if they're white. Also, some the the examples are lame (like the Incredibles entry). Too many shows have this to list every show that's ever had it.
02:49:24 AM Dec 22nd 2012
I'm not sure outsourced is the best example for this, it's white male lead acts as the (western) audience surrogate rather then just being... White.
06:00:20 PM Sep 12th 2013
edited by
Yeah, Outsourced (while a terrible show) was a classic 'fish out of water' scenario, dealing with a Westerner trying to navigate a distinctly non-Western society, while poking fun at bizarre aspects of both cultures.

Basically, the whole story was ABOUT him being a white Westerner, it's not purely incidental like most WM Ls seem to be.
10:00:21 AM Jan 12th 2014
White audience surrogate I think it a big reason for the trope not mentioned in the article. It goes for The Last Samurai too. Because of Tom Cruises character, the Last Samurai can explain things that would be obvious to the Japanese. Katsumoto's retainers don't question him or his ideas, but when he talks to Algren, he can not only be questioned, but answer in English.
04:21:14 AM Apr 17th 2018
You know, I just had an "eureka" moment regarding why this trope is so prevalent - the WML is generic. I dabble in writing, and my leads are both male and female, depending on the story - but when I write about a woman, that's what defines her (I am myself a woman, by the way). If I wrote about a black guy, he'd be seen as defined by his blackness, and among my to-dos are a noir story with a male protagonist (actually, two, but spoilers) and a ghost story with a female protagonist. I sort of instinctively keep trying to come up with more characteristics for the noir detective guy (he's a Defective Detective already, but is that enough? Is he distinctive enough?) - but the lady who sees the ghost is just this, a lady who sees the ghost and starts investigating it. And know better than to deny others the imagination to put themselves in the shoes of a character who isn't like themselves - but apparently people do worry that their non-WML would be too different to be relatable.

Do you think it can be avoided?
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