Margaret Cho’s Tattoos Spark a Scene At Korean Spa
Author: Chelsea Hawkins
Posted: March 25th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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Photo via Jezebel

Margaret Cho is not known for biting her tongue. The outspoken Korean American comic has never shied away from confronting homophobia, racism, sexism and body intolerance in her stand-up routines and in her personal life.

But a recent incident left the funny woman at a loss for words.

While attending a well-known Los Angeles Korean spa, or jjimjilbang, Cho began to feel uncomfortable and unwanted. It should be noted that she is heavily tattooed — extensive body art she wears proudly. An otherwise pleasant spa experience went downhill after other patrons complained about her appearance, specifically her tattoos, as being offensive.

Cho recounts the experience in an editorial piece for Jezebel, where she explains that after she was prompted to cover up to avoid further upsetting anyone in the spa, the indescribable frustration she felt at being treated differently.

“My tattoos represent much of the pain and suffering I have endured. They are part of me, just like my scars, my fat, my eternal struggle with gravity. None of our bodies are ‘perfect’. We live in them. They aren’t supposed to be ‘perfect’. We are just us, perceived flaws and all. I am just only myself. … 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.”

Cho, a native of San Francisco, has arguably paved the way for many Asian Americans in popular culture, film, and television.

Despite the emotional response the incident caused, Cho still found a way to find humor in the situation.

I restrained myself from saying “joo-goo lae?” which loosely translated means, “you want to die?” I didn’t say it. I thought it. but I didn’t say it.


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