chapter  9
Refuge
The female tradition, gender, class, sex and sport in northern England, 1960s–1970s
ByCatriona M. Parratt
Pages 12

This chapter focuses on the transitional era that Patricia Vertinsky characterizes as poised in a tension between conservative discourses on womanhood and a social reality incorporating greater freedoms and opportunities. Billy Casper, the film's main protagonist, is a favourite target for Mr Sugden who subjects him to various humiliations and rough handlings that build to a considered and cruel assault in the showers. In Billy's case, the particular refuge is falconry; in mine it was the female tradition of Women First. In distinct contrast, the falconry and perhaps most importantly, the kestrel that Billy learns to love inculcate in him and draw from him gentleness, empathy and compassion, attributes it can be difficult to imagine hard masculinities easily accommodating. The dance between Billy's agency and the constraints within which he lives his life runs from an opening scene that introduces him, his older brother Jud and their fraught relationship.