Comedian Margaret Cho recently revealed in an essay on Jezebel.com how she was forced to cover up her tattoos at a Los Angeles Korean spa because they offended customers.
Cho made it clear to the manager of the spa exactly who she was and said at the end of her essay: "I guess it comes down to this -– I deserve better. I brought the first Korean American family to television," reports the Daily Mail.
Cho wrote on Jezebel.com:
Perhaps I do get stared at a lot because I am a heavily tattooed woman, but I am also a Korean woman, and I feel I have the right to be naked in the Korean spa with other Korean women. I don't feel shame that my skin is decorated. My tattoos are my glory. I am happy in my skin and I am not sure what to say when others are not happy with my skin.
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I walked into the huge sauna, naked, and sat there watching golf on tv –- they have a f*cking tv in the sauna. How sweet is that? A few seconds later, a fully clothed young woman, I am guessing the manager of Aroma Spa, came into the sauna, looked around and walked back out. Then, I guess she mustered up the courage and came in again and asked me if I would come outside with her, as the sauna was too hot for her as she was fully dressed.
I walked out to next to the pools with her, and she sat me down on the wet bench and tried to tell me, very apologetically that I was making the women there upset with my heavily tattooed body. She was really sorry and embarrassed about it, and I felt bad, but I was actually enraged.
This is something I have never done -– I actually said, in Korean "Do you know who I am? I am MARGARET CHO!" She realized who I was, and she was horrified! She said she did know me, and had seen me and was familiar with my work, and she apologized even more profusely and tried to explain that in Korean culture, tattoos are very taboo and my body was upsetting everyone there.
She brought me a robe and arranged for some nice extras in my treatments, by way of apology, or uh, whatever.
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Their intolerance viewing my nakedness –- as if it was some kind of an assault on their senses, like my ass was a weapon - made me furious in a way I can't really even express with words -– and that for me is quite impressive. This bitch always has some shit to say.
I guess it comes down to this -– I deserve better.
I brought the first Korean American family to television. I have influenced a generation of Asian American comedians, artists, musicians, actors, authors -– many, many people to do what they dreamed of doing, not letting their race and the lack of Asian Americans in the media stop them.
I deserve to be naked if I want to.