Musée d’Orsay Apologises For Turning Away Woman Wearing Low-Cut Dress
Paris’s Musée d’Orsay has issued an apology after a customer called it out on Twitter for denying her entry over her low-cut dress.
French literature student and art-lover Jeanne attempted to visit the popular museum on Tuesday, September 8, to round off what had been a hot day in Paris, with temperatures reaching 26°C.
She was wearing a dress with a V-shaped neckline and long sleeves at the time, but while it might have kept her cool in the heat, museum staff argued that it was inappropriate for the venue.
The student shared her story on Twitter, where she explained that the friend accompanying her could also have been considered to be wearing inappropriate clothing, as she was wearing a crop top that showed her navel, but staff at the museum seemed more concerned with Jeanne’s breasts.
Before she was even able to show the museum worker her ticket, they said, ‘Oh no, that’s not going to be possible, that’s not allowed, that is not acceptable.’
A guard then arrived on the scene, though staff still didn’t specify exactly what the problem was.
At no time does anyone say my cleavage is a problem, they’re manifestly staring at my breasts, referring to them as ‘that’.
It was far from my mind that my cleavage would be the subject of any disagreement.
Staff refused her entry, saying ‘Rules are rules’, though they didn’t refer to any rules in particular. It wasn’t until Jeanne put on her jacket that she was eventually allowed to go into the museum.
On Twitter, Jeanne wrote (translated):
I don’t want to put on my jacket as I feel beaten, compelled, I’m ashamed. I feel everyone’s looking at my breasts. All I am is my breasts; all I am is a woman they are sexualising.
Jeanne’s tweet went viral, with thousands of people sharing her story and sticking up for her. The attention around her ordeal prompted the museum to issue an apology on Twitter, with staff saying they ‘deeply regret’ the incident and offering their ‘apologies to the person concerned’.
The student told BBC News she feels the museum’s public response ‘fails to recognise the sexist and discriminatory nature of the event’, though she noted that the museum had also reached out to her directly and ‘has been very understanding, providing [her] with a very sincere apology’.
The Musée d’Orsay is home to world-renowned pieces of work such as Gustave Courbet’s Origin of the World, Edouard Manet’s Olympia and Auguste Renoir’s Grand nu. Though Jeanne’s most recent experience there was tainted by the staff, she has said she is not bitter and is too much of an art-lover to not go back.
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Credits@jeavnne/Twitter and 2 others