Ladies, Please Stop Wearing American Flag Bikinis

flag bikiniThis is wrong on so many levels. (Photo via Thinkstock)


The Fourth of July is just a couple of days away. The Olympics Opening Ceremony isn’t too far out, either. Americans everywhere are gearing up for the festivities. And this means that American flag bikinis — those ostensibly patriotic, polyester eyesores — are returning to a beach near you.

Ah, yes. The American flag bikini: A classic staple of highway-exit, discount beachwear retailers everywhere. Always advertised at the same low price, flag bikinis appear on billboards year after year alongside other such gems as the Beach Patrol mank-top (read: man tank-top) and the 99-cent genuine shark tooth necklace. And these days, it seems like these patriotic suits are going mainstream: Ralph Lauren and Lucky Brand are both offering their take on the eternal style this season. Finally, the major labels have picked up on what the designers at Wings have known all along: Stars and horizontal stripes are both fashion-forward and slimming.

What is the logic behind showing your pride in our nation than by wearing its flag on a couple of flimsy pieces of fabric stretched across your hips, butt, and boobs?

Note that I say “flag” here, and not flag-print, flag-painted, or other such descriptors that might differentiate between the American flag that’s proudly flown over the Capitol and those sold in bikini form — or worse, in flip-flop form. I avoid these descriptors because there is no difference.

That’s right: No difference.

That’s because an American flag is “any flag, standard, colors, ensign, or any picture or representation […] made of any substance or represented on any substance, of any size evidently purporting to be either of said flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America,” according to section three of the U.S. Flag Code.

In fact, “the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery,” as section 8d of the code states — not that this provision seems to have stopped anyone as they reached for a flag beach towel or two at their local Wal-Mart.

It seems that the Flag Code has done a rather ineffective job at preventing our flag from being fashioned into beachwear. This is most likely because there’s no penalty for individuals or companies who fail to comply with it — the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such penalties would violate our First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Although our Founding Fathers went to great lengths to secure our individual liberties, somehow I don’t think that they had the right to wear a tacky swimsuit in mind while they were drafting the Bill of Rights.

Regardless, it seems that legal action is out of the question when it comes to protecting our flag from such egregious offenses as its use as a butt-cover. (Not that I would seriously advocate a flag-print bikini prohibition. I think we’d all agree that there are larger and more pressing issues at hand in America today.)

But by transforming this symbol of our nation into any number of consumer goods — ranging from swim suits to flip-flops to plastic cups to paper napkins — we are trivializing our flag and everything for which it stands.

As we approach the Fourth of July, I simply ask that we all stop and take a moment to consider the way in which we each display our country’s flag: Does it honor our nation? Does it pay respect to those serving abroad, to those who are fighting to protect our freedoms and dying to protect our shores? And – last and certainly least – does it look flat-out offensive when it’s marching toward you at the beach?

This week, I encourage everyone to let the American flag fly high — but please, don’t wear it.

  • ILoveAmericaToo

    Loosen up Rosemary, we need all the national pride we can muster these days. I can’t help to think this article has less to do with the treatment of our flag and more about another of your concerns – which really should have been the primary focus of your piece.

    Enjoy the 4th and have a canned beer on me – like the majority of the US.

    • Spn221

      I couldn’t agree more with having all the National U. S. A. pride as possible. if one is actually handling a flag, then the US flag code reigns by all means. But the way the nation has become with banning the pledge, removing God and all that Americana stuff, I say this: Wear it, drape it, fly it, table it, mat it, put it in a plant or make any clothing attire your heart desires. Puttring the red, white and blue anywhere in America is detrimental to the freedoms we enjoy and the peace we have. Take america back. It is slipping away rapidly right under I noses becasue we are reluctant to show our colors and our pride. If you ban anything here, ban the bikini. It is too revelaing for the general public. but the old glory, a sight to behold to the world! Why do you think we hasve such a problem with illegals? Happy 4th of July! Fly them colors everywhere, everyday, anyway you can.

  • Crystal

    There is no “relaxing” when it comes to the US Flag Code. Take some National Pride that actually doesn’t despite the National Code. Although our great country allows you to do as you will, it would be of great respect if you actually respected a small thing that your country asked you to respect.

    • James

      Who…cares…waste of a thought. Go buy a pair of DDs and patriotically display them…no one will complain trust me.

  • June


    I would encourage almost any positive representation of the US flag! I am such a patriot, and found your commentary while on the net searching for a pair of patriotic board shorts like the ones I currently own. I love to go fishing on the beach, showing my love for my country!

    In God we trust!


  • Kevin

    I like to read a lot, and I can’t think of any other thing I’ve read that wasted my time more than this article. As long as somebody’s not burning or tearing a flag to pieces, why would you wasted valuable brain space caring AT ALL about something like this? This is so unimportant it makes my head want to swim in a shark-infested pool.

  • laura

    Honestly you’re taking this a little too seriously. It’s a bathing suit, get over it. You sound like an old man speaking about how outrageous it would be for women to show their ankles back in the day. It’s just fashion okay?

  • Joseph

    As a Marine fighting the good fight for the Flag. Nothing is better than coming home to an American woman. As she proudly displays her patriotism by her wearing The Red, White and Blue as a bikini.

  • Michelle

    I don’t see you having a cow over the American Flag the guy in the pictures is wearing over his nuts. The is sexist slut shaming bullshit.

  • Kristy

    I’m a 5’8″ blonde haired blue eyed bombshell and I will be wearing my American flag bikini with PRIDE all summer just for you, Rosemary;) this girl is 130 lbs of all American excellence- soak it in bitch.

  • elysha

    I’ve served in the military completing two combat tours and I want a American flag bikini for this summer… If you dont like what you see stay inside. I love my country and if I want my swim suit to reflect that I absolutely will buy my American flag bikini.

  • 357 Magnolia

    The Flag Code mentioned above is intended to discourage people from using an actual American flag to create clothing, not simply wearing stars and stripes. I am a patriot as well as an Army wife and supported my husband through two deployments to war. May I say I LOVE THIS COUNTRY! 🙂 Respect the American flag; enjoy patriotic symbolism as you wish!

  • James

    The woman who wrote this are just to ugly to look good in flag bikini and are jealous of all the other busty babes bouncing around the beach…say that three times fast. Anyhow lighten up its a bikini not the actual flag…there is a difference. Go get laid… please

  • Kiki

    How about minding your own dang business. Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean you will Chang other’s view on them. I love my AMERICAN FLAG BIKINI!! Proud to be an American.

  • Amanda

    I am pretty sure the troops would love to see young girls in an American flag bikini. PROUD TO BE A HOT AMERICAN.