New York-based photographer Alison Malone ventured behind the typically closed walls of the secret society known as Job’s Daughters to capture portraits of girls who are the direct blood relatives of Master Masons. As she notes: ‘The group is the only Masonic Youth organization to require this blood relationship’. We spoke to her about the series. What does it mean to be a member of Job’s Daughters and how much time is dedicated to the society? ‘Being a member of Job’s Daughters can mean different things to different girls. The most common connection is that they are girls 10 to 20 years old that are related to a Master Mason, and they take an oath to keep the secrets of Jobs daughters and uphold the traditions with which the organization is based. Beyond that, it is a way for girls to connect to other girls with common interests but not be limited to a specific socioeconomic class, location, or religion’.
‘When I look at it from an outsider’s perspective I see girls balancing tradition with youth oriented activities (such as dances, camp, and social building skills). There is an element of theater or performance to the ritual work that is just amazing and there is a certain type of girl who just thrives on that. In this organization you don’t need to be the best athlete, come from the most money, or be the most popular girl in school. It is a chance for a girl to grow in a safe environment and be close to a new set of peers and get to know girls from all over the world, which to me is pretty amazing for a 13 or 14 year old.
‘The time commitment is minimal but can become a lot depending on what a girl wants to participate in. There are local meetings twice a month, state functions twice a year, and one international meeting held in the summer. Most girls do the local meetings and go to camp (each state has a summer camp that goes for about a week and is so much fun). If a girl holds a state or international title such as Supreme Bethel Honored Queen, or Miss Pennsylvania Jobs Daughter) they will do a lot more traveling and spend a lot more time at various functions. You really get out of it what you put into it both time and energy wise. A lot of the girls that are in this will keep one or two friends (maybe more) for the rest of their lives. That’s a lot for meeting people when you are in junior and senior high school’.
Are most of the girls voluntarily part of the society, or is it something parents are heavily involved in (similar to sending kids to Catholic school)?
‘All the girls that I know in the organization are there by choice. Some chose it above all other activities in their social sphere and other girls have it as one of many groups that they are involved in outside of their school lives. The reason to join varies from girl to girl, but most of them chose it at an early age and are excited to emulate the paths of the older girls (so they go from choir or custodian positions to the “honored queen”, which is the girl that runs the group for a term of six months). A lot of them get involved because their fathers are Masons, their mother was a part of it when she was young, or their friends are involved in it and they find out they have the heritage requirements. There are parents involved, but on a limited level. Job’s Daughters really promotes itself and is a “girl run organization”. The girls plan and promote all of their activities, run finances, fundraise for charities, and build a community on their own’.