Is it respectful to wear a flag on your clothing?

This thread deals with a situation in the movie First Blood, where Rambo wears a jacket with a US flag on it. Khadaji said

What are your opinions on this? Would a person wearing your national flag offend you?

If I were to wear my national flag I’d be likely to be beaten up by a gang of immigrant youths as they’d think I was a racist and a nationalist. If I saw someone wearing the flag I’d think the same thing, but I wouldn’t be offended or think it was disrespectful.

I wouldn’t do it myself, but I can’t see what the problem is. (I have my country’s flag as a bumper sticker on my car, and don’t see that as disrespectful in any way either).

I’m an at this moment wearing a sweater knitted in the colours of the Esperanto flag.

No-one cares. :slight_smile:

I don’t see anything disrespectful about simply wearing one’s flag, although when taken to excess it can get a little tiring. There are disrespectful actions that can be performed with a flag: stomping on it or using it for ass-wipe come to mind.

Wearing it on one’s butt would seem to be somewhat borderline.

If it was kept clean and tidy, it would seem respectful to me. However, if it were dirty, or ripped/torn, then that would be severe disrespect in my mind. To me, it’s like those antenna flags you saw all over the US shortly after 9/11. At first, they were all nice, clean, and whole. A year later, those who still had them had allowed them to get dingy, ripped up, and in some cases, just a stub of the former whole flag. That’s disrespectful to me.

I’m one of those nuts, though, that is not offended by things like this. I figure it’s just a signal of how “honest” the person is about their feelings towards their flag and the country it represents.


Depends on where they were wearing it, and how. Flag bandana as a neckpiece or head covering: fine. Flag bandana as a snotrag: not fine.

It just depends.

Depends on the clothing, placement, etc.

Sewn onto clothing in appropriate places, I don’t think you’d see any problem.

It certainly wouldn’t offend me personally.

Esperanto has a flag? I think I missed the bit where Esperan (?) became a nation.

I remember being a little sprout in military cadets, where we were taught to salute the Canadian flag whenever we saw it. Cut to me, in a provincial capital on Canada Day wondering if I should tape my hand to my hat.

As they said, as long as it’s clean and in one piece, I don’t see a problem with it. Even if it is dirty or ripped up or whatever else, it’s within our rights to do so. The official rules for flying the flag make no mention of flags displayed on other items (other than poles, coffins, statues, etc.), which leads me to believe that they really don’t matter.

I think as long as you’re not wearing it as, say, a poncho, and the clothing is appropriate, not many people would get offended.

As a side note, I’ve got a white bikini with a Canadian flag design on the butt. (Hey, gift from a friend who it didn’t fit anymore, I’d never actually spend money on a bathing suit like this.) When I wear it, I sometimes wonder if anyone’s going to be offended.

Shades of the longest thread I ever started. I don’t care for the use of the flag for decoration on clothing, but if it’s respectfully applied, I don’t really have a problem with it, either. Respectful does not include printing it on a diaper.

One sees very many Union Flags & Crosses of St George on shirts and t-shirts in this neck of the woods. But they do not, in general, mean it disrespectfully.

I’d imagine that the vast majority of Americans would say that it’s absolutely the most patriotic thing you can possibly do, and you’re a godless America-hating heathen if you don’t own at least fifteen different T-shirts with the American flag printed on it.

They probably would say that, which is baffling to those of us of a certain age (I’m 45) who were taught in school that wearing the flag is a gross violation of flag etiquette:

We were also taught that it’s improper to use the flag for advertising, and nowadays that’s considered patriotic as well.

Wearing flags as clothing was actually a mark of the '60s counterculture (cf. Abbie Hoffman, Ken Kesey’s “Captain Flag” guise), and thus was something that “straight” types in the late '60s and '70s could take offense to.

It’s become something of a tradition for young Canadians traveling abroad to affix a Canadian flag patch to their backpack. No one thinks of it as at all disrespectful, though a few people find it tacky or too suggestive of what’s perceived as an “American thing”: overt patriotism, particularly of the in-your-face type.

I affixed one to my schoolbag when I spent a semester in Europe. I figured it was partly a neat littel tradition and partly a subtle way to indicate, while I was overseas, that while I did my best to blend in, I was new to the area, and once I’d come back, to indicate that I’d been overseas.

I wouldn’t put one on to wear in my home country, though. Too… wierd. Like, do I need to show off that I’m Canadian? Everybody around is. And who would go to all the effort of sewing that on just to show off that he’s a member of society? It might be just plain pride at the society we’ve built, but it might be jingoistic “I’m more patriotic than you because I wave that flag”, and that stuff usually comes packaged with “and that’s what it takes to be a good Canadian: rallying around the flag”. It’d be wierd to do it in Canada. Except where appropriate. Canada Day, a uniform, a ceremony of some kind, a government document… etc.
(Well, okay. I haven’t removed the flag from the bag I brought overseas. It’s not meant to be jingoistic, it’s discreet, and I figure it’s like a blue beret: you get to keep wearing it. :wink: )

Let’s be honest–they do it so they won’t be confused as Americans.


Nobody wants a roundhouse to the head from a guy wearing pants like these.

Now, come down for your first free lesson at Rex-Kwon-Do.

Well, that too. :wink:

What the heck is that statue behind Abbie?

To say nothing of Peter Fonda’s stars-and-stripes helmet in Easy Rider. I imagine that the force of these articles of clothing is lost on today’s viewers, who perceive any wearing of the flag as a red-state super-patriot thing rather than an act of counter-cultural defiance.

Question for Brits: Was wearing the Union Jack ever considered disrespectful? The Rolling Stones reference a “guy who’s all dressed up just like the Union Jack”: Would this have been kosher during the 1960’s?