Actress and comedian Margaret Cho recently revealed that she was forced to cover up her body at a Los Angeles Korean spa because her tattoos offended other customers.
In an essay she wrote for Jezebel, Cho, 44, said she was told by the spa manager that her tattoos were "taboo" and not welcome at the Aroma Spa.
"The manager asked if I could please wear something, anything -- a towel or something -- and cover myself so that I wouldn't frighten anyone with my body," she said.
"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."
As she walked around the spa, where "everyone is naked," she said she was getting "dirty looks from the ladies" and they started talking about her "very negatively in Korean."
It only took a few minutes for the manager to ask her to come outside for a moment.
"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 apologized even more profusely and tried to explain that in Korean culture, tattoos are very taboo and my body was upsetting everyone there."
She said that she was aware of that, but that she wanted to enjoy the spa since she had already paid for it.
The manager brought her a robe and gave her some "extras" as an apology, but Cho said she left feeling more stressed than she came in, which is the opposite of what a spa day should be like.
"If anything, I understand Korean culture better than most, because I have had to fight against much of its homophobia, sexism, racism - all the while trying to maintain my fierce ethnic pride."
"I struggle with the language so that I can be better understood. I try to communicate my frustrations in Korean so that I can enhance my relationship with my identity, my family, my parents homeland."
"I deserve to be naked if I want to," she said.