One of Paris’ most prominent museums and tourist attractions, Musée d’Orsay, has come under fire after a young woman shared an open letter accusing one of the museum’s staff members of denying her entry because she was wearing a low-cut dress. Soon after the letter went viral on social media, the museum took cognisance of the the incident and tweeted an apology, BBC reported.
“I’m not just my breasts, I’m not just a body, your double standards shouldn’t be an obstacle to my right of access to culture and knowledge,” French literature student Jeanne wrote in her open letter,that has over 24,000 shares on Twitter.
Lettre ouverte @MuseeOrsay
Ci-joint la robe de la discorde (photo prise quatre heures plus tôt) pic.twitter.com/FTIXQKsdRZ
— Tô’ (@jeavnne) September 9, 2020
Further giving out the details of the incident in her letter, Jeanne said that she was turned away by a museum staff member who told her “rules are rules” and was allowed to re-enter only after she put on a jacket.
“Arriving at the museum entrance, I didn’t even have time to get out my ticket when the sight of my breasts and low-cut dress shocked the agent in charge of checking reservations,” Jeanne wrote. “She left, chanting ‘ah, no, that won’t be possible, that isn’t possible, that won’t work that’.”
“It was far from my mind that my cleavage would be the subject of any disagreement,” she added, according to a report by the Guardian. Jeanne said that she initially refused to put on a jacket as she was made to feel “beaten, compelled” and “ashamed”, but later gave in.
When her post went viral, the museum took to Twitter to apologise for the incident. “We deeply regret it and apologise to the person involved, with whom we are getting in touch,” the tweet read. Jeanne confirmed to the BBC that the museum had in fact contacted her and apologised personally.
While acknowledging the apology, Jeanne said that the museum authorities did not touch on larger issues and failed to “to recognise the sexist and discriminatory nature of the event”, the report by the BBC stated.