The Sexualization of Freemasonry: Cheapening the Fraternity?

Every now and then, one of these gems pops up in my eBay feed while I’m trolling for Masonic books, pins, and other assorted paraphernalia:

freemason_pinup1 freemason_pinup2

Whenever I see them, I tend to ask myself why on earth someone–ostensibly a brother Mason–would feel the need to design such a thing. As if it wasn’t enough that the women in these pins are each wearing (well, sort of) Masonic aprons and jewels (Yes, I’m assuming that the pins were not designed by a Co-Mason–even if they were, these ladies are seriously underdressed for lodge. But lodge dress code is a whole different blog post for a different day…), the sexuality of the pins juxtaposed with the Masonic emblems (especially the square of virtue in the first example) conveys to me a distinct cheapening of the values we pledge to uphold and the tools we use to represent those values as Masons.


Similar, albeit less graphic, instances of the sexualization of Freemasonry have occurred at various points over the past hundred years. My friend and brother Carl W., author of the Masonic blog The Rough Ashlar, has recently posted examples of this on his blog here and here. While those particular photographs are more humorous than scandalous, they still make me wonder why we need to bring sexuality into Masonry at all. Perhaps it’s an attempt, at some level, to pay homage to our spouses and significant others who put up with the late night degree work and perpetually long-running meetings. But I think we can accomplish that without creating designs that objectify women and cheapen the meaning behind Masonic regalia and working tools.

I’m all about showing my appreciation for all of the Masonic ladies out there especially because, let’s face it, they put up with a lot of late meetings and nights out with the boys. But we need to remember to always emulate the values we so frequently inculcate. Otherwise, we’re just a bunch of fools.




2 thoughts on “The Sexualization of Freemasonry: Cheapening the Fraternity?

  1. My mother lodge here in Texas has adopted the practice of inviting the ladies to our monthly stated meetings. Our monthly lodge dinner is at 5:45, a program is presented at 6:30, and lodge opens at 7:00. But, when I arrive for dinner at about 6:00, the parking lot is full, due to the many ladies that drive their own cars so they leave early if they choose. So, now, I must park a half block away and walk, rain or shine, winter or summer. Half the time, I just go back home. If I choose to grit my teeth and attend the dinner, program and meeting, I find that the seats usually reserved for past masters are now full of women. In my younger days, 25 years ago, we used to have great programs each month about the history, symbolism and philosophy of Freemasonry. Our younger members were eager to delve into our library and present programs on what they learned there. Now, we get Officer Bob and a program on the Neighborhood Watch Program, or Fireman Bill and Safety in the Home, or Mrs. Jenkins to tell us about the Highway Cleanup Program, etc. It’s not a Masonic lodge anymore, it has become a combination of an Eastern Star Chapter and a Rotary Club. Thank goodness we have another lodge that meets in the same building. The officers and members of this other lodge approach Freemasonry in an entirely different way. They strive to be very observant of all the ancient customs and usages of the fraternity. Functions that are Masonic are for members only. Functions that include ladies are purely social.

  2. You know, I have to agree totally with you because I have had the exact same reaction when I have stumbled upon these “objets d’art” online- I mean, I KNOW what the reaction would be from my wife were I start sporting one of these “jewels” and I have to believe most women would object to their Masonic other being a participant in objectifying women. This can’t be what “making good men better” is about. Now, I am no prude and certainly not perfect, but I have the same reaction to sexist jokes from Brothers. If we’re working on our inner temples, surely a higher opinion of women in general and specifically the women in our lives is in order to not make the insulting association of crass images of the feminine with the Craft.

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