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“An Australian witch in Paris,” photos from the Instagram stream of @mewsha, who was banned from entering the Louvre this week on the basis of her outfit (all images via the Instagram stream of Newsha Syeh)

Earlier this week, Australian social media personality Newsha Syeh was apparently berated and insulted by a guard at the Louvre before being refused entry on the basis of her outfit. The outfit in question was a skirt overlaid with tiers of transparent black fishnet tulle, and a velvety lycra top with a plunging neckline that prominently displayed Syeh’s tattooed cleavage. Syeh expressed her displeasure to her 232,000 Instagram followers in a story that relayed her perturbing treatment in captions:

From the Instagram story posted by @mewsha to her 232,000 followers

“Yesterday at the Louvre, I was stopped at the entrance by a guard for my outfit,” wrote Syeh. “He made the most disgusted and horrible gestures and facial expressions, swore at me to cover up, with hate filled eyes stopped me entering,” she continued. “I was heartbroken, because I thought the Louvre enforced this archaic rule [sic]. Turns out it does not.”

Syeh accompanied this post and a picture of her outfit with a screen cap from the Louvre website, which explicitly states that the museum does not have a dress code applicable to her attire that afternoon. According to the museum’s visitor regulations guide, visitors to the Louvre are not permitted to wear swimsuits or be naked, barefoot, or bare-chested. Syeh is inarguably none of these things, and so the museum guard’s refusal to admit her to the museum smacks of misogyny — especially when you consider that many of the works in said museum take naked women as their subject. It is definitely fine for there to be scantily clad women in the Louvre, just not ones that have free will or agency over their sartorial decisions.

It seems Syeh may have a boundary issue at the Louvre herself

While the “what were you wearing” defense has come to light these days as inappropriate and offensive grounds to infringe upon the rights of women in free society, it must be noted that Syeh seems to have boundary issues when it comes to the Louvre. In a June 30 Instagram post, Syeh is pictured leaning in dangerously close to a piece of marble statuary for a kiss, while wearing bright red lipstick. Though her choice of dress is by no means an invitation for banishment, it seems that in the case of Syeh vs. The Louvre, the disrespect is mutual. One suggests both parties examine their conducts, given the tendency of photo-seeking museum-goers to sometimes destroy priceless works of art.

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Sarah Rose Sharp

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, and multimedia artist. She has shown work in New York, Seattle, Columbus and Toledo, OH, and Detroit — including at the Detroit Institute of Arts....

29 replies on “Woman Barred from the Louvre for Her Attire”

  1. The ending of this article doesn’t make any sense because people will only get that she deserved that treatment. In my opinion, it resonates too much with “if she wears a mini-skirt she’s asking for it”.

  2. “According to the museum’s visitor regulations guide, visitors to the Louvre are not permitted to wear swimsuits or be naked, barefoot, or bare-chested”

    A guy wearing skin-tight latex panties with the butt cheeks cut out, cowboy chaps, gimp mask, dog collar etc wouldn’t be breaking the above rule, but would it be appropriate? There’s just a certain level of respectfulness and decorum necessary for cultural spaces to function. Being asked to behave moderately is hardly misogyny.

  3. I think this lady is looking for some free publicity. Her “outfit” is not appropriate for the Louvre. She can cry misogyny, discrimination, hatred, or whatever he wants. It will only sound like noise. I find her outfit offensive, and her behavior reprehensible.

  4. Frankly, I wish the Louvre would banish selfies. I was fortunate to see the Mona Lisa in the late 60s before it was shielded behind glass and you could get up close. Now, the crushing crowds are insane with their stupid smiling selfies. We all pay to see the art but these hysterical tourists from all over the world, who do not behave like art lovers, bar anyone interested from seeing this priceless painting. This is much more an outrage than whatever one person wears or what her motives are.

  5. So she got her 15 minutes as clickbait. Ugly outfit, she obviously wasn’t there to see and understand the art, and really who gives a damn… she’s just one of thousands of wannabe “celebrities” trying to make a buck off of inane behavior.

  6. The last paragraph is telling. The author feigns outrage at her being banished but is all in a tizzy because she is two or three inches from a bust, not even close to touching it. And the comments read like a prude’s gallery.

  7. QUOTE: “I was heartbroken, because I thought the Louvre enforced this archaic rule [sic]. Turns out it does not.”

    ME: I don’t understand that bit. Which rule does she want enforced?

    That said, she doesn’t show more of herself that any fully naked female statue or woman on a painting.
    Then again her choice of clothes does make me think, that she is there to be seen as well as to see … I don’t think, she should be banned because of her clothes. That just make more notice her.

  8. Is this really worthy as a new item on your site??? I know you tend to write things about the politics of the art world (a good thing) but this is nonsense, it’s someone desperate for attention, someone you yourself describe as a “social media personality.” And WTF is that anyway? It sure isn’t anyone I would respect in re: issues surrounding the art world, or art. Just because the incident intersects with a great museum doesn’t make it anything actually related art, political or otherwise. She has her 232,000 Instagram followers (why why why?), and now Hyperallergic is falling for her bait and falling in line. My, my, what a pity.

    1. This was the first time we heard of anything like this, so we thought it was noteworthy. The idea of being turned away from a major museum for attire is something new we haven’t seen before.

      1. Well if it was going to be included, the writer might have considered leading with a different point. One attends a museum in order to see the art. I’m sure all kinds of people have gone to museums wearing something slightly wack, but chances are not this wack. This woman wants attention (a photo almost kissing a Greek sculpture??). She most likely went dressed like that because she was planning another “photo op” with an artwork. I for one don’t give a rat’s ass if someone is barred from a museum if the purpose for going is to “engage” with the art as she did in taking that other photo. She’s a stupid vain narcissist and if she was posing in front of a work that I was there to see, I would damn well say something to her. So….perhaps it’s a news item NOT because she was barred (oh, poor baby….she was heartbroken? please, make me stop laughing) but because she was one of those who think the world is their oyster, and what they do in and for social media matters more than what they’re doing to the environment (other museum visitors) in the real world. Ugh.

      2. Would she go dressed like that in the Mosque in Dubai or Abu Dhabi?
        Museums are western temples of culture and civilization, they should be respected in the same way we are asked to do with muslim temples! You did well to post it, although it is a trivial subject but necessary nowadays… from several points of view. Common decency is required in all kinds of cultural places and should be respected.

    2. It’s a pity, too that she’s not being consideratconsiderate of the other patrons. …or should she be the only one to be made comfortable. ..and have her rights guarded….it’s about the whole. …not just the one.

  9. Sometimes museums deny entry to people who look like they are trying to do an unauthorized fashion shoot. There may have been a misunderstanding.

  10. She’s a work of ART !
    She’s Mona Lisa after work !
    Picasso’s eyes are following her around town !
    Marble breasts don’t move,
    Let her dance !

  11. I used to work with someone who always chose similarly ‘body-conscious’ clothes (backless or sheer or small, since you ask) whenever visiting exhibitions in my company. This individual also shared Syeh’s taste for being photographed in the closest possible proximity to rare and fragile artworks right under the noses of museum staff, a habit with which I was often asked to collude one way or another. These escapades, which had an undeniable autoerotic aspect, were similarly part of a highly self-conscious and performative social media lifestyle and were ultimately intended to elicit adulation. The most successful images, it seemed to me, were those in which the identity of the protagonist just occluded that of the artwork in the eyes of ‘followers’.

  12. She’s beautiful. …..but, not only are they’re children to consider, there are young woman who may see her and not understand how sexually sick some, most people are, and not understand how dressing like that can be dangerous.

    1. there are paintings and sculptures on display more ‘sexually explicit’ than her ….why are the children allowed to look at that ?

      1. well, those women posed for a painting, we, as a race of people were not so sexually deficient, and seeing someone portrayed as a work of art, back then was, and is somewhat different from being an under clothed lady in this day and time

      2. I mean, sure, she, as well as that work of art has an equal right to be, but I’d error on the side of safety, for young woman first, then their right to be be safe in their minds….just wanna give consideration to the young woman that might live in a environment that may not be as in lightened as those looking at the art

      3. she’s okay with her sexuality and so she should, but the mere fact that she was stopped proves my point, that others see that as not okay, and I’d wager that there are then others that see her as something she’s not, an object

  13. Really who cares about her attention provoking pic and posts
    She is disgustingly dressed but Asshat # is angry
    why?
    We aren’t focused on him and his disgusting face his hairlessness and revolting person and his words and deeds
    Sigh
    Why is this our website even paying attention to her

  14. France is a country that hates Arabs. This would not have happened if she were white. Surprised – but also not really – that the editors fail to include any discussion of anti-Arab racism in their analysis of this.

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