File - Sam’s announcement is only the latest challenge to the definition of masculinity.
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Traditionally, the American male was measured against the stoic hero who shook off all doubts, vanquished all foes and offered women a muscular shoulder to cry on.This week, the ground shifted under the hypermasculine realm of America's most popular professional sport: The National Football League, it seems, will soon have its first openly gay player.Countless American men are trying to navigate these changes.The feminist movement that emerged in the 1960s fueled significant, though gradual, changes in many Americans' perceptions of gender roles and stereotypes. By now, although women remain underrepresented as CEOs, they comprise close to half the enrollment in U.S. medical and law schools and are being welcomed into military combat units.Perceptions of manhood and masculinity have evolved. Gays as well as heterosexuals have played a role in the changing concepts of masculinity. Michael Sam, who this week told the rest of the country what his university coaches and teammates already knew, is already helping break down stereotypes about gay men.
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