Years ago, when I began collecting images of femulators, I was surprised to discover that there was lots of femulating in the military, both in the military of the USA and other nations.
The military femulations fell into three categories:
- Prisoners of war femulating to entertain their fellow prisoners
- Sailors femulating during crossing-the-Equator ceremonies
- Personnel attached to military theatrical productions who femulated to entertain the troops
Which reminds me of an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show in which Rob Petrie (Van Dyke's character) recalls being attached to Special Services in the Army. During that stint, he was the Special Services boxing champion. To attain that status, one of the soldiers he boxed against was a female impersonator.
But none of those categories explains the snapshots I have of one of my relatives in an Army camp in the Hawaiian Island during World War II wearing a grass skirt and a bra top.
During a recent Internet interrogation, I found an enlightening article, "Cross-Dressing in Military Theater" by Stephan Likosky, which provides a history of military femulating. The article is the last one on this page - scroll down past three-quarters of the page to find it.
By the way, according to the article, "Today, drag performances are no longer permitted by the United State Armed Services."
American and British sailors femulating during crossing-the-Equator parties.
A British military troupe who performed en femme during World War II.