2014 FavesHow could Target fail so badly at Photoshop?Karen Belz

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=508229526 Megan Kathryn

    Banana Republic is guilty too. Saw this one on their page today… http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=26499&vid=1&pid=547657922

    No way that girl’s waist is naturally shaped that way. She is pictured in other outfits throughout their website, and is shaped pretty square (little variation between her waist and hip measurements) in other pictures. They wanted there to be a big gap between her arm and her waist…. Instead of re-shooting the garment and making it WORK… they just cut out a chunk of her torso.

    Not only is this sending the wrong image to consumers, but it’s also blatant laziness and carelessness. I’ve been responsible for photo shoots and you’d think it would be as easy as putting a garment on a model and snapping a picture. Not quite. Not even close. It’s hard work and people rely on graphic design/Photoshop WAY WAY too much!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2409204 Ron Low

    The publishing industry should develop voluntary standards for realism, and compliant publications and catalogs could brag of their status to attract the audience/consumer segment that cares.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a54klMfnBWY video tutorial on how to lose weight in 3 days

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1612596008 Nancy Karon

    As a 65-year-old woman, I object to the Ageless Beauty: Ad Campaigna & Editorials That Challenge The Norm article. Except for a few, these women are made up to look like clowns which not only makes them appear absurd, but just plan scary. This is what we want to present as a model of beauty for younger women to look forward to? The “Just because.you’re over the age of 65 doesn’t mean you’re devoid of all power, spirit and style ” statement says it all doesn’t it? The lengths older women have to go to to appear relevant rival any imposed on younger women.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=629461479 Jaime Gatner

    This makes me think about what a great campaign it would be to poorly photoshoped image so it is obvious that the image isn’t “real” with elements of fake and true throughout.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666004993 Martin John Bullivant

    This is such an important issue and raises so many questions that cross gender boundaries, I have blogged on it here, as men are targeted in a way that is both the same and different, hope it is OK to post a link? http://www.prismcounselling.org/index.php/behold-the-man/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1376910070 Sarah Kosloski

    I never thought I’d see “recent” and AOL in the same sentence again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=706072393 Michelle Berntson

    I don’t agree with photoshopping any images; but to take an already thin TEENAGE girl and mutilate her body in unnatural and unnecessary ways??? Apparently even the “hottest” girls aren’t “hot” enough!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649225788 Daraterese Cathryn Gracie

    Here’s the thing… EVERYONE DOES THIS! We need to be more concerned about what we teach our kids is acceptable for their body shape, type, and health so that stupid shit like this doesn’t even make an impression on them. I had kids make fun of me and call me every name in the book just like every else when I was younger but I certainly didn’t give a damn. My parents taught me to take care of my body from a very early age and to be damn proud of it. So I was and still am. I never looked at girls in magazine and though I should or could be anyone other than who I was. If we stop giving a shit what is be aimed at us and start spending that much more time on building our kids up, eventually marketing will go that way too because health and wellness will sell if that what our kids seek.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=550460346 Arielle Kline

    This is just absurd! They’re not even trying to hide the fact that they Photoshopped the picture, but if they were, they certainly weren’t very smart! It’s not bad enough that this is aimed towards women but it’s aimed towards teenage girls/young women, who are at their most vulnerable age & time of their life pretty much & Target knows this & is taking full advantage of it. I keep hearing about this “thigh gap” trend suddenly everywhere but I don’t really feel like it’s something new that girls/women want (because I know when I was in high school & lost weight & got thin, I was excited to have a “thigh gap”, although I didn’t call it that) but I guess it’s just become more mainstream & gained more media attention & whatnot. They’re even creating plastic surgeries like lipo to have this. But on the Dr Oz show, he explained how we don’t all have the same bone structure (obviously) therefore meaning that even at a healthy, skinny weight, not everyone is going to have a “thigh gap” & if you’re someone with a smaller, more narrow bone body frame & you’re skinny but still push to get one, that you’ll actually have to lose MUSCLE in order to get that gap & that’s not healthy. So these places like Target trying to give girls a complex or just feeding into all this crap is just messed up. I hope they took the image down & if they didn’t, they better soon!!! It’s not bad enough for the “thigh gap” but they cut out her crotch, her butt, made her arms look scarily thin & long (& if you look at the right, her left, wrist, you can see how the wrist is bigger than the whole arm!!), her shoulders are super thinned down, square, & weird, & everything is crazy. The whole thing with cutting out a chunk of her crotch & butt reminds me of the body of a Barbie doll, seriously! That’s totally exactly what this looks like & even Barbie got a bit of a makeover a few years ago or so because her body was so ridiculously unrealistic, & even though it still is pretty much unrealistic, at least it isn’t absolutely insane measurements & stuff like before. But also, on the left (her right) thigh, on the outside, it kinda goes out slightly, nothing that I would think is a problem, but just considering they thinned her out everywhere else ridiculously, I’m completely surprised that they didn’t Photoshop that too. It seems like they don’t know how or just don’t Photoshop when it’s skin over skin. I think whoever did the Photoshopping doesn’t really know what they’re doing or is new or just sucks or something! Either way, it sends a horrible awful message & needs to be removed. Lastly, about the “manatee grey” for the plus size…if it had just been grey or some other type of grey, it would’ve been fine, but the fact that it was MANATEE grey on a PLUS SIZE dress?!? Wow Target, wow. I’ve always loved Target so this hurts & bothers me & not sure how to feel. They didn’t say if the manatee grey dress was a Target brand or not, but Xhiliration IS a Target brand so that means you guys better clean up your sh!t before it becomes an even bigger huge stinkin’ mess of BS. Being beautiful has nothing to do with whether or not you have some stupid thigh gap. It’s just another dumb trend. But if that’s what you want, do it right by exercising & realize pictures like this are false & fake & sending the WRONG MESSAGE (like Target needs to hire better Photoshoppers & stop trying to ruin young girls’ self-esteem/confidence with horrible pictures & stuff like that).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=518228467 Dawn Early

    Well, Target is my part time job and I’ve had about enough of the credit card hackers, and now this? I’d like to just return to the retail therapy glory days of the past!

    I also heard a rumor that whomever was tasked with ‘shopping’ these models thought it was stupid to shop someone who was already super thin, so they went overboard! Here’s hoping that’s what it really was!!

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

    plot twist : they did thtat with PAINT !

  • 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=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=100001852181900 Henry Galdamez

    thigh gaps look wrong, just my opinion

  • 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=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=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=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=505766875 Heather McPirate

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

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