Femme Fatale: Future Mortician Jess DuVal

B.C. brings us an illuminating interview with one of the young women poised to change the funeral industry.


written by B.C.


According to Broadly’s article, “The Women Making a Living in the Death Industry,” there are a rising number of women in their 20s and 30s choosing death as their profession. In the US, 43 percent of funeral directors and 57 percent of mortuary science students are women.

Before the Victorian era in the UK and the Civil War in the US — periods when the funeral industry became industrialized and commercialized — women were the caretakers of the dead. While they were not typically involved in the burial itself, they prepared the body — laying it out, dressing it and washing it. This was seen as an extension of the caring work they did for the household in general, looking after children, the elderly and the sick. Once this private care was moved into the public domain, women were largely pushed aside in favor of men who had gone to mortuary school.”

Now, that’s changing.


“When I was a little kid, I didn’t think I was going to grow up to be a mortician,” says 23-year-old Jess Duval.


It’s something she now not only embraces but is extremely proud of. Her Facebook profile has a short bio: “I study the dead and ignore the living” with a skull face emoji. People sometimes peg her as “looking the part” with her long dark hair, pale skin and mostly black wardrobe — but the profession is not about looking like Morticia Addams. DuVal says first and foremost, it’s a way to deeply care for people. Continue reading “Femme Fatale: Future Mortician Jess DuVal”

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