Target "Thigh Gap" Photoshop Flop Fuels Body Image Debate - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Target "Thigh Gap" Photoshop Flop Fuels Body Image Debate

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Photo Credit: ABC News Photo Credit: ABC News
New York -

It's being called an epic Photoshop flop...

Two ads on Target's website for junior's bikinis shows a model who appears to be missing parts of her body.

A slice taken out of the model's right shoulder blade...but the most glaring omission is an area near her thighs...a manufactured thigh gap...

"Target has put out these totally unrealistic images, and they're really laughable, but at the same time you have to question what they were going for," said Ashley Lutz, who is a business reporter for Business Insider.

The photos have been taken down...but the outrage is just heating up.

One person Tweeted... "Obviously this thigh gap was not intentional, but the fact that we're photoshopping models of jr swimwear concerns me". Another woman used her 140 characters to say..." i am so appalled by this. @target has gone way too far with photoshopping their models online".

In a statement to ABC News...Target said "this was an unfortunate error on our part and we apologize."

The retail chain wouldn't say what it was trying to achieve by retouching ... one thing it has accomplished? Re-igniting that "thigh gap" debate...something Good Morning America discussed last year with a group of students from a New Jersey chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions.

The subject was also featured in a WJBF EXTRA report in July of 2013 by WJBF News Channel 6's Jennie Montgomery entitled "Thigh Gap": Teens &nd Body Image.

"A thigh gap is like when you are standing straight up and you have your feet together and your knees together and there is like a gap between your thighs. Girls just don't want their thighs to touch," said high school senior Hailee Perez.

Eating disorder experts say that some young girls are making the gap their goal, part of a thinspiration movement with pages on websites like Tumblr
and Pinterest. But, some retailers marketing to high school girls have gone in the opposite direction. This year, Aerie - an underwear brand owned by American Eagle - promised customers no retouching and no supermodels...

"Anyone that understands young girls knows that body image is really important to them ... and they look up to models and magazines and advertisements and it's really important that they give them a sincere representation of what they are going to look like in that bathing suit," says psychotherapist Dr. Stacy Kaiser.

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