Vocalist Justin Young explained the song's meaning to NME: "It starts off describing a woman's beauty, then when the chorus kicks in you realise 'I don't want to f--- her, I want to be her.' I was wondering if being beautiful made life any easier. I'm pretty sure it doesn't, but it's something I was exploring. Say what you want about my lyrics, but I feel I've been quite brave on this record."
Justin Young told NME: "I wanted the title to be direct. I wrote it on tour. I was in Bridlington, looking out on the beach and the sea from the dressing room when I wrote the music, then the lyrics came when I was watching pretty girls walk by from my hotel window."
Dido helped shut down a Neo-Nazi Web site after learning it was using "White Flag" to promote its hateful messages. Owners of the site had misinterpreted the track as racist and thought they represented their white supremacy views.