Why American Flags Are Not Fashion

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Confederation Park


One requires a hefty sense of humour to be able to cope with the current state world affairs. Laughing at the insanity helps. Some have criticized my dark version of humour as it’s heartless, crude, and depressing. For me, finding levity in the worst of times helps me get through. Sometimes it’s a little sarcastic; other times it is downright cynical.

As my circles continue to talk about the NFL protests of the rampant police brutality and how that is getting misconstrued to some as a slight against the American flag, I found the need to try a new way of getting through to the stubborn and misguided. Some people just refuse to educate themselves on the true purpose of the protests. There are only so many times a person can slap his/her/their own forehead before it bruises. I need a new angle. Perhaps laughing at hypocrisy will help?

One of my ride-or-die peeps was chatting about an article he read about all the ways Americans actually desecrate their own flag. Most folks likely don’t even know that they are doing that. There, too, does not seem to be penalties for such abuse. Now I realize that a flag is not fashion and perhaps not suitable for a fashion blog. Yet, I do know that various flags do appear on fashion items. Fair game.

The Flag is Not For Fashion

How many t shirts, swimsuits, hats, gloves, toques (wait, they’re “knit hats” in the USA) have you seen with the American flag? Faux pas, darling. As it turns out, putting the American flag on everyday garments is basically no-no for our American friends as the Flag Code prohibits it.

"No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart."

I guess the “members of patriotic organizations” include gift shops, musicians, and Forever 21, hey? It's all about the Benjamins.

Flags Need to Fly

I am a sucker for a huge flag, rolled out and supported by hundreds of people, with jets flying overhead. Something about the combination gets me going. Every time is see the red and white of the Canadian flag I am reminded of just how lucky and privileged I am to be born and live in Canada. But that’s Canada. Sorry to be a bummer but every time the flag runs horizontal at an American big game, event, or concert, that’s really not allowed. The code states,

"The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free."

Flag has got. to. fly. So are we going to adjust that or just ignore that one?

Keep the Flag off the Ground

Ever watched a movie where a non-military deceased person has a flag over it’s closed casket? Turns out, nope. How about a flag painted in the centre ice or near the blue lines of a hockey game? Eeeek. That’s forbidden as well. Turns out the flag should never be on the ground, or above anything that’s on the ground.

"The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise."

That’s a lot of code breaking naughty clothing garments, souvenirs, and home décor that are somehow slipping through.

Here in Canada, there are no laws prohibiting disrespecting, defacing, or destroying the flag. Rather it is considered a protected form of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I’m not advocating destruction of any country’s flag. I’m also personally okay with having flags on clothing and other items.

What I’m not okay with is the cherry picking of laws, amendments, and codes to try and demonize those who aren’t feeling it. It’s a silly whishie-washie some-do-some-don’t situation that probably needs rethinking. As we often see, cultures evolve and change. Often the laws and codes made years ago don’t suit the modern needs of a society. Why so rigid then?

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to take a look at things and change what’s outdated, inhumane, or you know, allows the victim shaming of people in your own country needlessly. Unless you're profiting financially from it, right?