Post Modest

When you think of Melanie Hexen, many words probably come to mind. Modesty isn’t one of them.

I am suffering from PFD (post festival depression). Those of you who are festival goers can relate. It is so difficult to go from Witch hippies in the forest to mainstream muggles. That first stop at a gas station, everyone is so clean, and the attendants don’t want you to hug them.Β  And the pressure from society to wear a bra. Ugh! It’s 102 degrees people!

So with this PFD, I was dreading my first official meeting with the homeschoolers and supervising teacher. But I adjusted my attitude. Canoeing at Saulsbury is always fun, and some of the moms are my friends.

On the way out, I checked my mail box. One of the homeschool moms had written me a letter! It was long and seemed friendly. How nice! But as I read on I realized that this letter was actually a “shit sandwich” (something nice, something mean, something nice). Buried in the letter was a suggestion that I dress more modestly.

Of course.

Growing up, I was a German exchange student. A country where there are topless soap commercials, nude beaches, and you can sit naked in the community fountain.

I am a witch. I shall be naked in my rites. And my rights.

I am a bellydancer. Women’s bodies are beautiful!

Yes, that is 8 month pregnant me. A filthy harlot.

I am a breastfeeder. A promiscuous breastfeeder! This puritanical bullshit is making things more difficult for young mothers!

I would never feed my baby like this!:

Can you see that no young mothers will be inspired to breastfeed by this?!?

But like this:

Now, sometimes, there is a place for “modesty”. Like with children. But my definition of modest might be different than yours. I would much rather have my children dress like this:

Than like this:

I have had pregnant mamas ask what they will wear when they birth. Have you seen this?

The “Amazing Modest Birthing Skirt” – Tell me, how am I supposed to catch my own baby underwater with all that fabric floating around?

Once I gave birth like this:

But now I prefer to be more in charge:

Modesty is a remnant of our puritanical past. Not only does it keep women oppressed, it twists their sexuality. My aforementioned letter writer suggested I check out http://modestyispretty.blogspot.com/
So I did. In the FAQ, the blogger mentions that she rubs up her legs with lotion before the photos so they are shiny. How un-modest and twisted is that?

But in case you wanted to see how I’d look modest, my friend Rock took care of things:

And as a quiet form of protest, this post was typed completely in my birthday suit:

Next homeschool meeting I’m wearing a bikini and a boa.

 

Author: thewitchmama

Melanie Elizabeth Hexen is a midwife, regionally famous bellydancer, homeschooling mother and matriarch of the Many Hands House. She has been a witch for 25 years, and her belief system is currently based on the writings of Terry Pratchett and the teachings of Steven Posch. With her coven, the PrΓ€rie Hexen, she is creating the Hexen Tradition of Witchcraft.

39 thoughts on “Post Modest”

  1. I cannot imagine you any way other than the way you are. And frankly, I have never thought of you as an “immodest” dresser! Hippy, yes. πŸ˜‰ But I guess one of the complaints of hippies was their immodesty. But still, this is a free country, we can dress the way we like. and um, yeah, still hot. screw the bra!

    If that homeschool mom doesn't like how you dress, she doesn't have to look.

    Love that face-in-hole picture of you as a “modest” dressed person. LOL

    But, check out that modestyispretty woman's body posture. The way she stands slouched is all lack of self-esteem. She's not dressed to make herself happy, but to make whoever is looking at her (her oppressor(s)?) happy.

    And her clothes were not at all appealing. And she wasn't dressed in those clothes in the candid shots that I saw.

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  2. Love u and your modesty or lack of it! Lol! U r so amazing and beautiful in whatever u wear. I have never believed the clothes make the woman but that the woman make the clothes, or lack of them! πŸ™‚

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  3. 1. what? I never pegged you as an 'immodest' dresser. shows what I know. And I'm a Christian who cares about “modesty”, but I also think it's beyond how much skin is showing and teaching young girls that they're more than boobs and inner thighs. Heaven forbid if we taught them to be comfortable in themselves and not having to use those to attract attention and desire maybe just maybe, we could teach boys to appreciate a woman's body, and not just her tits. (though they're good too.) πŸ™‚
    2. Crazy pagent picture, nothing like telling your 4 year old she'll never be good enough without tanning/fake teeth/fake hair/and makeup! Especially when she turns 8 and you start waxing her pubic hair! Because Lord knows THAT'S what we went to be teaching girls!
    3. I went on a tangent. that happens occasionally. apologies.
    4. I like your rebellion. And I wondered if you sent her a 'sandwich' back. And then thought “It's Melanie, of course she did!” So please tell me you did πŸ˜‰

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  4. I consider myself a relatively modest person, mostly because I'm more physically comfortable when “the girls” have some support, but I've never understood a lot of the modesty “rules”. Why should I have to cover my belly, especially if I keep in shape? How is that a sexual zone?

    The birthing skirt. You know, I was told, and it was my experience that when you give birth, no matter how, all modesty goes out the window, and IMHO, a logical women should be able to deduce this when getting “felt up” during prenatal care. I know when I had my son, when push came to shove (pun intended) modesty and how I was dressed was about the last thing on my mind. Likewise when I was learning to breastfeed. How is a cute lil miniskirt going to hide the blood and pooping involved in birth? Are these for women who don't want friends & family members to see all that? If so, accept nature's reality and don't invite them in.

    And yeah, the child pageant picture is downright creepy. My husband saw a preview for a whole show about those pageants and was horrified by the fact that it wasn't just the clothing, it was also the stripper-like moves these kids were doing. I agree with hiccup that teaching kids that they can't be pretty without fake hair/teeth/boobs/tanning/pancake makeup is seriously wrong.

    -Sekhmetbitu

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  5. My friend once told me she wishes she could have grown up in a house like ours. Nine times out of ten, when someone comes over, Star, Ron, or I are in our underwear. She likes the open-mindedness of our family

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  6. Melanie, I hope you tell her she has made an idol of modesty and that she needs to get over it before she sends the message to her children that women are responsible for the sins of men.

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  7. I laughed at your words…but the pictures you included are amazing!! πŸ™‚ You rock, Melanie!! Please keep coming to the homeschool group – if only for me! πŸ™‚

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  8. A birthing skirt really?
    The last thing I was worried about having my daughter was modesty. I was more concerned with her being born and healthy.

    Silly people.
    This post was amazing. πŸ™‚

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  9. Ah, the shit sandwich. Never a good thing. I agree you should go in a bikini and boa. Or full FCBD garb. That would get them too! Take a little shimmy with you!

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  10. Immodest is simply not in the repetoire of adjectives I would use to describe you Melanie. I can understand how a women uncomfortable in her won skin might take issue w/ you – you exude sensuality, sexuality, self-love and self-worth. You walk in rhythm with your pulse. You are so seemingly secure in who you are…and pleased with it. That is amazing…and intimidating. Maybe she will learn something from you. Once can only hope. As for Jackie and I…well, we hope you keep being your breathtaking self!
    xoxo,
    traci

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  11. I just looked at that other blog, and all I can say is “ish”. Right on about her horrible posture, and she quips that she believes you can be modest without sacrificing style…but she didn't give any evidence of that! Not that I am worried about it happening, but PLEASE Melanie…don't ever become modest like this! xoxo

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  12. What an excellent way to express how beautiful it is to be as we are. Thank you so very much. And I also relate to the PFD…. how long does this shit last? I am still depressed. Hugs!!

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  13. Wow! It seems I should blog a weekly “rant”! Thank you all so much for your support.
    Tanya ReJoyce, that is really interesting what you said about making an idol of modesty. I will keep that phrase in my pocket for later.
    Rev. Crystal, I think you have caught the festival bug. I caught it 21 years ago at my first PSG. It helps me to keep busy with festival like activities: fire spinning, bellydancing, ritual crafting, and Pagan blogging, of course. And, as we learned from this post, I always dress and behave as if I am still at a festival. πŸ™‚
    Thank you all for reading my blog!

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  14. OMG I love it!
    We're in Georgia and we're pretty much the same way. We homeschool too, btw. You think the pagan mindset might just be a bit…different than 'mainstream'? lol

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  15. Hi there, I'm here by way of Star Foster's blog. I'm a pagan homeschooling mom; we've been homeschooling about 12 years now.

    When I first started homeschooling, denim jumpers were all the rage for homeschooling moms. I had one! It looked like a Tudor peasant woman's work dress, with a deep square neckline and yards of fabric billowing out around my ankles.. Ooops, not the Right Kind of denim jumper. Ah well, at least I can say I sort of tried that one time. . .

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  16. Spitting laughter! Great post. I grew up in a psuedo christian cult, and it was all about what you wore, what you ate, etc – I could never really get with the program. I remember denim jumpers!!!!!! LOL then they went to floral dresses, then stripes because it was the 'straight and narrow', then to blouses and skirts – drove them mad that my sister and I would sew our own and dart the bodices and have the skirts full and just above ankle length, so we looked wild west chic instead of shapeless lump. America is so uptight and prudish – I regularly had to vehemently defend my breastfeeding in the great state of Texas.

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  17. I read this post with a great deal of interest.
    I, too, am enraged by the recent promulgation of 'breatsfeeding should be done in private' propaganda.
    If you haven't yet read it, here's an 'oldie but goodie' on the subject: http://www.amazon.com/Politics-Breastfeeding-Issues-Womens-Health/dp/0044408773

    …and for something more current…this (aside from the grammar) is quite wonderful!!

    http://bluemilk.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/how-to-do-discrete-breastfeeding/

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  18. Ever seen the movie 'The Goodbye Girl'? There's a scene where a woman knocks on her roommate's door and yells “Are you decent?”

    “Yes!” he answers. She walks in to find him naked, playing his guitar. Scandalized, she yelps, “I thought you said you were decent!”

    He calmly replies, “I am decent. I also happen to be naked.”

    Here's to decent naked people everywhere! πŸ™‚

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  19. I mostly agree with you, though I see a place for bottle-feeding: it allows the father to feed the baby and bond with him/her. My family has a home movie that my dad made just a few months after I was born, and one of the scenes depicts him bottle-feeding me and telling the story of the summer I was born (which was a difficult one because I had so many complications during my first year) to the future me. It's one of my favourite parts of the whole movie.

    BTW, I was also breast-fed.

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  20. I so totally wish I had an army of you around when I was breastfeeding my kids! With my son I had an army of people pushing me to bottle feed. I know they meant well but I used to cry my eyes out every night Eventually we moved to a place where there was no one around us and i felt much better. I was able to breastfeed my son till he was three and then do the same with my daughter

    I still feel so bitter about being made to feel the way I did. It's ultimately why I decided not to have any more children, I am sure I would have killed the next person to suggest formula feeding to me. I don't begrudge someone that chooses to use formula, i have full respect for a mother to choose her own journey through mama hood, i just resent that i did not get that respect when i needed it.

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  21. Hi, Annapurna: I do agree that father's CAN bond with their child through bottle feeding, but I don't think that bottle feeding is the only way (or the best way) for a father to bond with his child. Wearing the baby as much as possible, changing diapers, bathing, and sleeping with the baby are all ways for the father to bond with the child without depriving it of natural breastfeeding. You may disagree. I appreciate your thoughts! -Chris

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