2014 Faves

How could Target fail so badly at Photoshop?

It’s that end-of-year, time-for-reflection time and so we’re thinking back to all the HelloGiggles stories that we (and you!) truly loved in 2014. Here’s just one of our faves, which was originally published on March 12, 2014.

Only recently did I learn of the horrors that surrounded the “thigh gap.” A thigh gap is pretty much exactly what it sounds like—having thighs thin enough so they don’t touch while standing. Sadly, there are websites dedicated to achieving and maintaining your thigh gap when in reality, the look could be pretty haunting when it’s not your natural body shape.

However, Target accidentally made the gap even more horrific while advertising their Xhilaration swimsuit line on their website. Besides the fact that the model has had her arms thinned out and lengthened to an almost non-human degree, the artist who touched up the photo tried creating a thigh gap so extreme, that it removed a chunk of her ladybits.

It’s shopped so badly that I feel like I could have accidentally done the same with the square “eraser” icon in MSPaint. The image was made popular over at Jezebel, and soon after, Target’s digital mutilation of these young women was fully examined. Butt gaps were created. Ribcages were hastily thinned. Oh—did I mention that the bikini in question is marketed towards juniors?


“This is what is being marketed and pushed on young girls,” Jezebel writer Rebecca Rose stated. “This absurd image of a crotch that absolutely does not and cannot happen naturally.”

In a recent survey created by Today and AOL, 80 percent of the teenage girls surveyed said they compare themselves to the images they see of celebrities, and many of those girls said those images made them feel worse about their own appearances. Even more interesting, a majority of those polled wished that Photoshopping would stop entirely. While recent campaigns have tried to show us that women can be beautiful at any size, with or without makeup, we still have a long way to go. Target definitely isn’t sending the message across that women don’t need to have an orb of air running between their thighs in order to look and feel beautiful in a two-piece bathing suit.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1548011455 Shar Rowell

    What, exactly, is their core demographic?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=17801143 Mels Lien


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=52800405 Missy Hardesty

    That’s crazy. I’m a graphic designer and understand that most photos in the media are retouched, but this is NUTS! Ew ew ew. Terrible job.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=8400706 Natalie Roman

      The only way I can imagine that this happened is that someone must have uploaded their working copy of this image rather than the final copy and no one caught the mistake.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=516498365 Virnalisa Ureña

    This is horrible. What is up with Target’s Online Department? Is it that difficult to find a decent graphic designer to at least do the job right? I’m not in favor of the manipulation of images but the truth is Target isn’t the only one doing this. Unfortunately this is what “sells” now days …

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1272237576 Sebastián Viqueira

    Es un gran error en los archivos, no es un retoque a proposito. El “path” dentro de cada archivo que sería el contorno de cada figura, esta achicado hacia el centro, y enmascara la foto dejando afuera lo que queda afuera del “path”. Se equivocaron y juzgaron mal un error de diseño gráfico.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000317071827 Gwendolyn Pelletier

    It almost seems like somebody in the photoshop department corrected the images so drastically on purpose to make us realize that everything we see is photoshopped. If so, I’m betting they’ve been fired.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504983567 Alysa EB Friesen

    vagina gap

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10103106 Amelia Shister

    There’s no way this is real… You can obviously see parts of the original arm. It’s so bad nobody would allow that to be published.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=17801143 Mels Lien

    “It’s shopped so badly that I feel like I could have accidentally done the same with the square “eraser” icon in MSPaint.”

    I laughed out loud at that. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=80403768 Chris Jones

    “80% of the teenage girls surveyed said they compare themselves to the images they see of celebrities”

    Honestly, I think that’s a bigger issue than the photoshopping itself. I’m not sure where exactly the fault there lies (because I’m not female), but as a male I sure don’t look at models, regardless of whether the model is male or female, and think it’s even remotely realistic. Is something not being communicated to teenage girls by parents, or what?

    I really don’t mean to sound ignorant on this, I’m just unable to grasp the mindset.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=544289433 Alicia Elizabeth

      I agree with Chris Jones. I have never felt the need to look like a model or a doll yet I hear everywhere that models and dolls are responsible for low self esteem and eating disorders. I know that anecdotal data dues not compare to scientific fact, but my point is, I think something is being done differently with girls who grow up to think they aren’t fine just the way they are. I don’t think it’s magazine models because I grew up with Dolly and Girlfriend and clothing catalogs. I think something different is happening in the social influence on these kids, and if I had to guess I would say that it’s comparison. People are planting the idea of envy and comparison in their heads where they wouldn’t naturally come to that conclusion on their own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700049935 Samarra McQueen

    Are they promoting female castration? That’s what it looks like. Look at the arm, too, so badly shopped! The hand looks enormous in comparison to the width of the arm! It’s really frightening. They surely could not have allowed this to be published… Surely…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=13735440 Crystal Lynn Kamm

    Okay…this statement: “This is what is being marketed and pushed on young girls,” Jezebel writer Rebecca Rose stated. “This absurd image of a crotch that absolutely does not and cannot happen naturally.”

    This isn’t a look they are trying to push on anybody. This is a mistake. Yes, it helped us to see that they are Photoshopping. That’s about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505766875 Heather McPirate

    If this was real (and we all know it’s not) that would be some EPIC Cameltoe!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502470932 Aiesia Corbett

    This whole thigh gap thing is dumb. Now it is just ridiculous that photoshop is doing this to insanely thin models to make them look even thinner. People are exercising to try to get the “thigh gap”…I see all over Pinterest, etc different exercises to help this. The fact is the “thigh gap” is determined mostly by the shape of your hips,…not how much weight you have to lose. I have the thigh gap, but my friend who is easily 15 pounds lighter than me does not, because she has narrower hip bones. Just another unattainable “beauty” for young women to aim for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1068128547 Kate Pray

    I may be reaching, but I think that the person who did this was trying to draw attention to the fact that this is being done. No one could really do that bad of a job and call it good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=31006101 Christa Prentice

    As a web developer and avid Photoshop user, I am not surprised by this at all unfortunately. Number 1, Target needs more quality control on their edited photos going live. Come on, you’re a huge corp. Don’t batch your files or rush your staff. Also, proof everything. Hello, content/copy editors?!?! You wouldn’t let a print display go out like this. Why are you slacking on the web?

    Number 2, just stop thinking we won’t buy your clothes unless you drastically change the models’ bodies. It’s getting really ridiculous that corporations like Target think the general population wants to see unhealthy looking body portrayals. They need to wake up and realize we’re intelligent, confident women and we’re banding together, in large part due to the internet, to say ENOUGH is ENOUGH. We want to see real people with real bodies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=200500160 Ken Stein

    Not only is her crotch badly photoshopped, her arm was stretched too long, and you can see the remnants under her armpit and on her thigh from her ribcage being photoshopped. Also, notice her detached fingers and wrist where her thighs were photoshopped…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001852181900 Henry Galdamez

    thigh gaps look wrong, just my opinion

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=532882491 Shannon Bradley Colleary

    Do women actually need their vaginas? With all of that free space between their thighs wouldn’t their vaginas simply fall out onto the ground? You can’t pillory Target for fixing that problem. Sigh of relief.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=649665185 Alex Jost

    It seems that someone needs to be fired in Target’s graphic design department over their poor photoshop skills, and someone needs to be fired over the fact that the first person’s work wasn’t checked. Target should be better than that to allow something as shoddy as that to escape their eye, but is it does, who knows what other poor quality things make it under the “scrutinizing” eyes of the higher ups there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=723725338 Heriberto Encinas

    plot twist : they did thtat with PAINT !

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