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Why one person's erotica is another's pornography

Mary Kenny


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Sexual element: Saoirse Ronan (right) and Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Sexual element: Saoirse Ronan (right) and Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Sexual element: Saoirse Ronan (right) and Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Saoirse Ronan's new movie, Ammonite, is about Mary Anning, a shy young woman who was a pioneering fossil-hunter. Her achievements were never credited in her lifetime by male academics, but the value of her work has been rediscovered. The film also introduces an apparently fictional theme in Mary Anning's life - a same-sex relationship, which is said to be hot stuff, when Kate Winslet as Mary falls for Saoirse's character, Charlotte.

Relations of Anning, a Victorian spinster who died in 1847, have asked why her story has to be made "sensational". Barbara Anning says there's no evidence that Mary had any sexual relationships.

But, some ask, why must a sexual element be inserted into the story of a reticent palaeontologist? Is her life not worth celebrating just for uncovering unknown Jurassic marine fossil beds in Dorset that added greatly to scientific knowledge?


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