Target’s Thigh Gap Fail: That Happened


ColumnOh the thigh gap. Controversial. #Thinspirational. A stop on the way to bikini bridge on the body dysmorphia journey. But, in many cases, the thigh gap is total bullshit.

Juniors browsing for swimwear on Target’s website this week were treated to models whose private regions had been (very poorly) Photoshopped in an effort to create that coveted gap between women’s legs. The gap that proves: I’m super thin.

Two words: LEGO crotch! The designer gave these girls LEGO crotch. We are way past a thigh gap here, people.

More alarming than the  lack of quality control on the design team is that this kind of Photoshopping is the norm in most women’s magazines, catalogs and websites. Even worse is that it appeared on the juniors section of Target’s site.

Young women face enough adversity about their bodies without also having to strive for square vaginas.

Forty to 60 percent of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat, and 20 million women will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime.

Looking at the original photo, it’s clear that the design team also went to town erasing parts of the model’s arms—especially near her armpit where her arm would have come into contact with her gross, disgusting size XXS body.

“It was an unfortunate error on our part and we apologize. We removed the image from the site and we’re working to get a new image up there,” Target spokesman Evan Miller told

This apology is rather half-assed (maybe Target’s design team Photoshopped out the other half) and doesn’t address the bigger issue about the company’s contribution to negative body images among teen girls.
The ABC News segment has a lot of reporters asking why. But, really, is anyone shocked by this at all? Do we need Target to explain why?

Looking at the juniors swim page on Target’s site on Wednesday, it seems like the company got the message. The first model is thin, but healthy looking. At least she looks like she probably has the strength to hoist herself out of the pool after swimming.

It’s hard to say if she has a thigh gap because she’s standing like a normal person. And, when you zoom in, it’s clear that she has a butt that is separate from her leg.


So, rather than push Target to tell us what we already know—it was trying to make a thin girl even smaller—let’s focus on helping our girls stop starving themselves to meet beauty standards that are not only unattainable, they aren’t even real.

That Happened is Libby Lowe’s weekly column for EcoSalon analyzing media, news and pop culture through a feminist lens. Keep in touch with Libby @LibbyLowe.

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Image: Target