There are a number of brands out there that carry a line of underwear designed with flags from around the world. These were intended to allow us the opportunity to show our national support at our innermost layer. Yet, can it be viewed as disrespectful?
Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8 of the United States Code states “(d) The flag should NEVER be used as wearing apparel”. Now enforcement of this particular section of the code is questionable. When it comes to misuse commercially for advertising reasons under Section 3 of said code, a person may be fined up to $100 or by imprisonment for up to 30 days. Even though the wearing of a flag is probably not punishable, does that make it right? The purpose of this code is to bring and maintain a high level of respect and reverence, almost to the point of worship, not just for the flag but also for the country it represents. Although I am using the United States as an example other countries have similar codes and laws and their flags deserve the same reverence. So in simple terms the point of this code is not to condemn but to encourage respect.
Let’s look at this in connection to underwear. True one could argue that plain flag print or color patterns are not the same as using the actual flag to make the underwear. However the basic respect argument remains the same. So consider this, when a man purchases underwear with a particular countries flag printed on it is he doing so because he detests the country and wants to disrespect it by wearing it’s flag as underwear? Of course not! It’s quite the opposite. He is buying this underwear because he has a pride and appreciation for the country represented by the flag put on show. The mans decision to array himself in a flag designed pair of underwear is his way of displaying his patriotism and to show honor to this country. And in that sense he is in no way breaking the code of respect for the flag. After 9/11, individuals across the country adorned their cars with flags to show their support and love for their country, yet this was breaking that same code. When Rocky and real life athletes, particularly at the Olympics, drape themselves in a flag after a victory they too are infringing on this same code. But the meaning of the code remains unbroken for the individuals acting out of pride, veneration and a deep respect for the nation symbolized by the flag. In that same sense, our underwear is not bringing disrespect but demonstrating admiration, pride, and respect for the country represented on it. So show your pride men and sport Patriotic Underwear!