Louvre Guard Bars Entry for Blogger Over “Revealing Outfit”, as If There Aren’t Naked Women in the Museum
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Over the weekend, a story came out about Austrian blogger Newsha Syeh being denied entry from Paris’s Louvre art museum over her own outfit. While the Louvre has no dress code, it does say that you can’t “wear swimsuits or be naked, barefoot or bare-chested,” none of which fit Syeh despite her neckline.
The story created a lot of mixed response between defending the dress and others calling Syeh a “sex worker” and an “attention whore” who needed a lesson in class.
Nothing says class like calling a woman a “whore” on the internet.
Let’s be clear about something: If Syeh started causing a ruckus with taking pictures or stuff like that, then I could understand the desire to kick her out. The Louvre is already a small space, the art is roped off, and getting close enough to take a good picture is hard enough unless you’re Beyoncé. However, just kicking her out for wearing a “revealing” outfit? I’m gonna call bullshit.
Yes, the outfit is a lot, but honestly, if I were that confident and felt I could pull it off, I’d dress like that and worse every single day. When your job is to look pretty and be seen, then that’s what it is, but at the end of the day, the need to tell a woman to “cover up” in a museum is sexist and unnecessary.
It’s not a religious occasion or a Holy site. She’s going to see some art and take pictures in front of that art, plenty of which, I’m sure, features women naked, in some state of undress or being raped.
I’m not calling her outfit “feminist,” because it isn’t, and honestly that’s not the point. Of course, there’s a time and a place for everything, but she’s on holiday with her wif,e taking cute pictures at the Louvre. The fact that she can’t go in because of her cleavage is sexist. Policing of women’s bodies is a feminist issue even if you don’t like the outfit, especially since many of the comments in response to this story have been calling her an “attention whore” and other vile comments.
Whatever you may think of Instagram travel bloggers and the internet culture we have today—and yes, many of them are annoying—doesn’t erase the fact that, when it comes to dress codes, women’s bodies are policed the most.
Would I love to ban everyone who wears flip-flops or those Nike sandals from ever being around me? Yes, but that’s because it irritates me, not because it’s causing any real harm. Who is going to be harmed by Syeh’s outfit? Children? The ones who spend most of their time on Instagram?
Thankfully there was some sanity to be found online.
@MuseeLouvre it’s ironic since half of your sculptures and paintings depict nudity #VenusdeMilo #LibertyLeadingthePeople #GrandeOdalisque #TheDeathofSardanapalus#SleepingHermaphroditus#BathshebaatHerBath #DyingSlave #TheThreeGraces etc. 😂😂😂 https://t.co/mbMrarW30Q
— Half-Moon (@kyameron94) November 9, 2018
— Youssef Zbib (@yzbib) November 11, 2018
What makes this extra dubious is the fact that France has been one of the biggest enforcers of burqa bans. France, Belgium, and Austria are three countries in Europe that have national bans, and there are several counties in Europe and parts of Africa that have partial bans on burqas.
France was among the first to do so starting in 2004, “with a clampdown on students in state-run schools displaying any form of religious symbol” according to The Telegraph. In April 2011, the government then passed a total public ban on full-face veils, with then-President Nicolas Sarkozy saying they were “not welcome” in France. According to the law, women risk up to 150 euro fines and instructions in citizenship for breaking the ban.
No matter if you cover up too much or not enough, in the end, it’s about control. You can think the outfit is “inappropriate,” but no one’s opinion should mean she’s not allowed to access a museum. There are nudist beaches across the French Mediterranean coast, and the country loves to view itself as being sexually progressive, but a brown woman walks into the Louvre showing cleavage and it must turn into a thing.
Maybe she was trying to be your guest!
(via Insider, image: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
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