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:
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.