Into My Mind

Thursday, April 29, 2004

.....Role Model....

The term “Role model” is an idea that I do not believe in. No one is perfect and that is what role models are expected to be. I don’t model myself after anyone; instead, I get inspired by them.
comedienne/actress Margaret Cho has made a great impact in my life. For years I had admired Margaret for her comic talent. It wasn’t until after I had read her autobiography, I’m the One that I Want that I respected her as a person and an author.

In her own words, she describes her battles with alcoholism, eating disorders, failure and society’s distorted view of the “Perfect body”. With her hilarious sense of humor and her unbridled style of storytelling, Margaret depicts an inspirational tale of hope, recovery, determination and self acceptance.
One of the issues that she grapples with is living up to the standard of being the “Perfect Asian”. She had received pressure from her parents, Hollywood, producers and the Asian community to perpetuate the Asian stereotype (i.e. intelligent, submissive and most of all thin). After having her sitcom cancelled, her life went into a downward spiral. Eventually, she realized that failure is apart of life - not the end of it.

One of the reasons why I consider Margaret to be an inspiration is because she is unapologetic about who she is. She stands up for what she believes in and doesn't care what others think. If you check out her website, you'll see what I'm talking about. Recently, she has said a few things about President Bush that has say the least, upsetted his supporters. What does she do in response to their criticism? She posted their hateful e-mails on her site showing how spiteful SOME of these people can be. When she had to perform a few shows in Texas, the Young Conservatives threated to protest her show. Of course no one showed up and she actually had a small protest outside the venue as her fans piled in. It was just her and her best friend Bruce, but it still caught the attention of security and passerbys.

When she was on her television show, she received a lot of unneeded criticism. They even had a person come onto the set to teach her how to be more "Asian". One little girl said, "I feel shame when I see Margaret Cho." For what what reason? Was it because she wasn't portraying a submissive servant? Or was it because she wasn't a genius that constantly had her nose buried in a calculus book? Maybe, it was because she wasn't working as manicurist or owned a laundry mat. Give me a fucking break! Margaret's reply to this little girl?

"Was it because I didn't play the violin or maybe it was because I wasn't fucking Woody Allen?" Great isn't it? lol I personally thought that her critics should have backed off, because it wasn't like there were a lot of televison shows about Asians in the first place. The show wasn't about a Korean family living in South Korea, the show was about an Asian-AMERICAN family living in California. Yet, they criticized for not being Asian enough? Being Asian is small part of who she is, it's not what she's trying to be. And this is what a role model should be. He or she should be accepted for his of her flaws and strengths.

Whatever. Have you all noticed since then, there hasn't be any kind of show about Asian Americans? I'm quite hopeful that there will be in my lifetime. I just hope that people realized that it was Margaret that opened the door for them.


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