News & Opinion | September 11, 2020 12:06 pm

A Woman Was Denied Entry to Musee d’Orsay Over Cleavage-Baring Dress

Yet another example of sexist dress codes and ironic double standards

musee d'Orsay
The Musee d"Orsay is home to plenty of nudity, but no live cleavage, apparently.
Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images

The Musee d’Orsay in Paris is, as one might imagine, home to many artistic depictions of nudity widely considered to be great works of art. Interestingly enough, however, in this, the year 2020, a low-cut neckline is apparently enough to get a woman barred from entering the museum and gazing upon its many prominent displays of female nudity.

This was something one museum visitor learned after she was denied entry to the Musee d’Orsay because her attire, specifically the amount of cleavage it displayed, was deemed inappropriate, CNN reports. The woman, publicly identified as Jeanne, took to Twitter Wednesday to detail the incident, claiming she was left “excruciatingly embarrassed” after being stopped at the entrance to the museum and told she could not enter unless she put on a jacket.

“Arriving at the entrance of the museum, I don’t have time to take out my ticket before the sight of my breasts and my appearance shocks an officer in charge of reservations,” Jeanne wrote. “At this moment, I am still unaware of the fact that my cleavage has become the subject of this controversy.”

After a museum employee pointed to Jeanne’s cleavage, she was informed she was in violation of the museum’s rules and told she would have to put on a jacket in order to enter.

“I do not want to put on my jacket because I feel beaten, obliged, I am ashamed, I have the impression that everyone is looking at my breasts,” she wrote.

While the museum’s guidelines do state that “wearing an outfit susceptible to disturbing the peace” is grounds for denied entry, there is no further information on what kind of clothing is considered “disturbing,” and Jeanne noted that her friend in a midriff-baring top was not denied entry.

Jeanne eventually put on a jacket and was permitted to enter, where she was greeted by “paintings of naked women, sculptures of naked women,” she wrote, slamming the museum for hypocrisy and “discriminating on the basis of cleavage.”

The museum posted something resembling an apology on Twitter, saying representatives had reached out to Jeanne to apologize.

“We have taken note of an incident that occurred with a visitor during her visit to the Musée d’Orsay,” the tweet reads, before going on to state that the museum “profoundly regrets” what took place.

“I question the coherence with which the representatives of a national museum can prohibit access to knowledge and culture on the basis of an arbitrary judgment determining if the appearance of someone is decent,” Jeanne wrote.

“I am not just my breasts, I am not just a body, your double standards will not be an obstacle to my access to culture and knowledge.”