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French Museum Denies Entry To A Woman Over Low-Cut Dress

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The famous Musée d’Orsay in France, which hosts some of the world’s best impressionist works, denied entry to a woman on the grounds of ‘inappropriate dressing’. As the news went viral, the authorities at the French museum came out apologise to her.

The museum in question is one of the biggest tourist attractions in France. It houses quite a few nudes that were a part of 19th Century French Literature – including Auguste Renoir’s Grand nu and Edouard Manet’s Olympia.

The museum staff denied entry to Jeanne, a student of French Literature, because of her low-cut dress. Two female agents explicitly told her that “rules are rules.” Another official also went on to tell her that her exposed cleavage was “not allowed” and “not acceptable.”

Jeanne was allowed inside the museum only after she put on a jacket to cover herself. Once inside, she spotted many women wearing halter tops and other supposedly ‘revealing’ clothes. She noted that the only difference was that “they were all skinny, with very small breasts.

Jeanne’s Story Goes Viral

Jeanne shared a tweet detailing her ordeal. She put up a picture of herself sitting in a restaurant a few hours before visiting the museum with a friend. The art-loving student described how two officials stared at her breasts, one after the other, without specifying which rule she was breaching.

She added that she never thought that her “cleavage would be any subject of disagreement.” Furthermore, Jeanne recalled that even her friend’s navel was visible in a cropped top. However, the staff had put all focus on her breasts even before she showed her ticket.

The student said that she felt “beaten, compelled … Ashamed”. She also felt that the incident had reduced her identity to her breasts and sexualised her as a woman.

Also Read: Can We Stop Associating A Girl’s Character With Her Clothes

Museum Is Repentant

After the incident garnered attention, the museum authorities responded with an apology. They said, “We deeply regret it and apologise to the person involved, with whom we are getting in touch.” Jeanne admitted to the BBC that she was satisfied with the museum’s personal and sincere apology.

The Libération newspaper has pointed out some general museum rules about “decent dress” and a ban on clothing “likely to disturb the peace.” However, as per the BBC, there is still no clarity regarding the exact rules that the museum was referring to in Jeanne’s case. A Parisian website has gone as far as to mention “overzealous” officials at The Musée d’Orsay.

Intolerance in France

This incident was the latest in a slew of recent events that highlight the inhibition of personal liberty in France. Last month, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin reprimanded officers who asked a group of topless sunbathers to cover up in the beach town of Sainte-Marie-la-Mer.

The Casino supermarket chain, too, apologised recently for policing women on wardrobe choices. A security guard at one of their stores near Marseille had refused entry to a woman because of her top revealing too much skin.

Tarini Gandhiok is an intern with SheThePeople.TV