Target's Photoshop fail draws criticism

KRISTIN TILLOTSON | Updated 3/12/2014

A botched Photoshopped image featuring a crude thigh gap on a bikini model has led to a credibility gap for Target Corp.

An image from Target's website shows photo-editing errors on a model's body.

Target has drawn sharp criticism from national media and across the blogosphere for a Photoshop fail that has gone viral. In an online ad for junior swimwear, a photo of an already-thin juvenile model wearing a bikini has been carved and sliced to create an extremely unnatural -looking “thigh gap” and skeletal arms.

“Thigh gap” is a space between the legs at the top of the thighs that only exists on very thin people, and it has become a concern among eating-disorder experts because trying to achieve it has become a fad among some teen girls. After websites including the Huffington Post, Jezebel and BuzzFeed cried foul, Target removed the image from its website and apologized, calling the bad Photoshop job an “unfortunate error.”

The attempt to trim flesh was so obviously crude that some bloggers speculate that whoever did it was being subversive in protest of this common fashion-industry practice. (See Photoshop Disasters for more examples.)

“If it weren’t part of an ongoing attempt to mould unrealistic bodies in fashion marketing, it would almost be funny,” wrote the Ethical Adman.

Target spokesman Evan Miller said that the drastic photo editing was not done to make the model look thinner, but the result of incorrect formatting. The company is now reviewing all model images on Target.com to ensure they have been published correctly, he said.