Femme Friday – Jackie Monahan

Jackie was handing out fliers for her show at the annual Women’s Week football game when I rather abruptly asked her if she identifies as femme. Although her first answer was that she does not, when I explained that I have a blog called The Total Femme and asked her if she would be interested in speaking about femme, she very graciously said that she would. Welcome Jackie! Thank you so much for stopping by. And you, precious reader, might like to stop by Jackie’s website to see what she’s up to!

Deep gratitude to Jackie for her kick-ass queer humor, for sharing the fact that she had a toad collection as a kid, for loving to read (me too!!), and for her willingness to explore femme even though some days she might actually be a stealth butch.


Do you identify as femme?

I identify as Queer. On stage I am most comfortable in a dress because it softens the things that I talk about. I think most people identify me as femme and that is completely 100% fine with me.

Why or why not?

Some people call me stealth butch, I had one girlfriend that totally felt I was butch, as she identified as femme. None of it bothers me as I pretty much identify with all of it at one time or another. I feel like I am always changing. I do not have a favorite color, a favorite movie, nor a favorite musician. I love so many. It is easier to name what I do not like.

I identify a lot with this Alan Watts quote  “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.”

What is your (femme) coming out story? 

I lived in Providence, RI. I kept accidentally sleeping with my female friends. Then I met Anne Robertson my ex-wife of 12 years. (We are still very best friends and I love her new wife.) She knocked me off my feet,  I officially came out, we had a ceremony, and moved to Philly and then to NYC.

What does “femme” mean to you?

 I do not want to identify myself as ONLY femme. I can be femme. I can look very femme, but I am not just femme. I feel as though a total femme cares about her appearance a bit more than me. I absolutely do not unless I am on stage or have to be “on”. I want to be as comfortable as possible and to have zero makeup on and play sports. I love playing basketball. I was the first girl picked on teams growing up. I beat boys at sports all the time and still do. I was a major Tomboy. I played with toy guns instead of dolls. I had a barbie pool that I put frogs in. I had a toad collection. With 14 toads. I may look femme but I feel very down the middle. I went on a tour with 4 very butch lesbians and I had the least luggage and took the least time to get ready.

If you are a femme who is romantically attracted to butches, please discuss!

My ex is a soft butch Ellen look alike:


I have never dated a hard core butch but I have made out with a few.

If you are attracted to other femmes or other identities, please discuss!

I used to get mad when femmes hit on me; I cannot even imagine it now. I really do like Femmes now. I have dated a few. But I do not have a type. I am really attracted to energy. Strong, confident, authentic, and joyful energy. Something I noticed, for me, with dating femme women is that when you break up with them they won’t let you. They scream, yell and rattle off all the things you did wrong.  I am sure that is not all femme woman it was just my experience that I found interesting.

What does “butch” mean to you?

More rugged looking.

What attracts you to butches/other femmes/other identities?

Independence is sexy. A passionate existence. Finding satisfaction in every moment. Being unstoppable. Loving themselves and taking care of themselves. Travel. Educated. Good sense of humor. Good taste in films. I love to read so it is nice to date someone who also likes to read.

Is your femme intrinsically linked to butch? In what way?

Sometimes I hate how girly I get around butch women. I catch myself saying hiiiiiiii and want to throw up. But I love how butch I get around a more femme woman. All of a sudden I am chivalrous and I don’t even realize I am doing it.

If not, how does butch connect with your femme?

I have to say when I was younger I really enjoyed being femme there was a power in it that really was A BLAST. It is still there but it isn’t as fun for me now. So much has shifted for me recently. I felt like it was fun being femme and flirty but now we are at a time when the definition of fun has changed for me. We have to help the fall of the patriarchy along. For me that is fun. I feel very much that femme woman can stay femme and kill it in that area. For me I am tapping more into my butchness because I find a lot of personal strength there. Don’t get me wrong my femme side is just as strong if not stronger. She has dealt with stuff my butch side probably couldn’t handle. For where I want to go and what I am doing now, I am embracing my inner butch and femme equally. At my core I really feel as though I am both, and that can change — it always does.

Has your understanding of femme changed over the years?

Heels have gone back and forth as strength and self sabotage in my mind. But Ginger Rogers proved them to be strong and so do Drag Queens. I do my best dancing in heels. I feel powerful in heels and I feel powerful in sneakers. It is just different power.

How do you see femmes as radical? Unique? 

When I was a kid my Dad said feminists “were women who never got the door held for them so they said they didn’t want them held. ” I remember that making my blood boil. I knew that was wrong and I knew I hated all the unwanted attention I got day in and day out. At 12 years old I could not walk down the street without grown men honking at me constantly. I remember walking home from school and counting all the honks. I made myself feel better thinking maybe they thought I was 16. These men were much too old to even be honking at a 16 year old. Also, they knew I was 12.  I live in LA and just the other day I took an Uber and the driver assumed I was straight and made a homophobic comment. I took my car to the dealership in Santa Monica and the employee of the month made complete homophobic comments to me. He actually said “the gays are bringing the rapture.” Not looking gay means we have to come out all the time.

Who are your femme role models in the present? The past?

Sandra Bernhard, Grace Jones, Suzanne Westenhoefer and St. Vincent

Do you have a femme community? Why? Why not?

I have a lot of femme friends they are badass and I love them.

Have you encountered issues in the wider queer community as a femme?


What are three things another femme did to cheer you up when you were sad?

They have helped me get work; they have taken me to the beach during hard times and screamed at the ocean with me; they have also told me I am incredibly loved and supported.

How many femme friends do you have?


What is one wonderful, special, unique thing about each of these femmes?

They are beautiful, strong, and they won’t take any shit . All while staying incredibly calm, together, and fierce. They each want to be the best versions of themselves. For themselves and for the world.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers of the blog about your life as a femme? 

That I love being a woman. Growing up all I said constantly was “it isn’t fair!

I was ANGRY I knew the world was set up for men and I was powerless to change it. Everyone around me just conformed to it and wondered why I had to be so mad all the time. I went to Catholic school I saw the nuns live in poverty and the priests live like kings. My Mom had been a the first female pilot in New Jersey but she quit when her instructor kept making advances at her and stalking her. She really never had strength again, just rage. I am beyond happy for the status quo finally being really shaken up and things made right. I am proud of all my friends who have lived through the same nonsense I endured. They are here, being themselves, falling down and getting back up. The hate has always been there and I am beyond glad people are way more aware. I want all the beautiful woman in the world to not let an ounce of that hate in their hearts. To keep their centers filled with love so we can make this world as beautiful as she deserves to be.

Jackie Monahan is a comedian, actor, writer, and producer who is setting comedy stages on fire from LA to New York with her fearless brand of humor. She toured the country featuring for Amy Schumer, which included opening for her monthly in Vegas. Jackie has since been headlining clubs, colleges, and cruise Lines such as Atlantis and Olivia. She can be seen live at: The Comedy Store, The Improv, and alternative rooms throughout Los Angeles. You may have seen her on Adult Swim’sThe Eric Andre Show, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, or Comedy Jam on Showtime. Jackie currently co-stars in Wild Nights With Emily starring Molly Shannon as Emily Dickinson. The film premiered at SXSW to a rave review in Indie wire and currently holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In addition, Jackie starred in and co-wrote Madeleine Olnek’s beloved Sundance feature film The Foxy Merkins which was also nominated for an Independent Spirit award for best Director. Jackie was Zylar in Olnek’s Sundance hit Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same which received rave reviews from both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Roger Ebert called Monahan “A delight, and the Queen of Deadpan.” She has been professionally trained at UCB and Groundlings but she was born with a spot on sense of timing and a unique look at life that cannot be duplicated. Jackie won Time Out New York Joke of the Year and was voted comic to watch by Esquire magazine, who said “Jackie has the looks of your friend’s hot older sister with the jokes of a deranged serial killer. She will kill you and you will be smiling.” Jackie’s dynamic presence, both on television and on the stage, brings an unapologetic fearlessness to every performance, and a spontaneous combustion that will give you an ab workout and make you want to dance in the aisles. According to The Comedy Bible  “Jackie wins over the crowd with her contagious energy. Jackie is fearless and patient. She keeps the energy up with every joke and she always delivers. She shines when being herself which is silly, relatable and absolutely disarming. She embraces universal humor that is genuinely entertaining to all audiences.” So do as the Brink says and  “…jump at the opportunity to see this unstoppable comedian on the rise.”

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it! New Femme Friday feature starting fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)


Published in: on November 8, 2019 at 4:50 PM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://thetotalfemme.com/2019/11/08/femme-friday-jackie-monahan/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: