In it’s quest to ensure that all its models are sporting an appropriate thigh-gap, Target PhotoShop artists appear to have removed a junior model’s vagina altogether. The image was pointed out by several watchdog groups and blogs not only for it’s garish wardrobe malfunction, but also for the fact that it appears the junior model in question may have also been mutated into an alien creature with a very long torso and very long arms, best seen in the larger version of the photo here:
The photographic evidence of Target’s tampering have since gone viral and Target has issued an “apology” stating:
“In response to your query about the swimsuit image on Target.com, this was an unfortunate error on our part and we apologize. We have removed the image from our Web site,” a company spokesman said. Asked how the mistake occurred, “It was the result of a photo editing error on our part.”
Which leaves me with a few things to say to our friends at Target. First of all, in your “apology” I have to say that I don’t think that word means what you think it means. Sure, your PhotoShop guy or gal messed up. I can certainly understand how that happened. I doubt that it’s some sort of malicious protest on the part of the graphic designer as some have suggested. I really don’t imagine that some designer wanted to point out the brutality inherent in the system of PhotoShopping images by blatantly messing up and releasing a picture. I’ve produced websites and games and DVDs. I understand that stuff slips through the cracks. That poor graphic artist is probably not being paid less per hour than your minimum wage checkers and is probably working 80 hours per week on “salary” in a web sweat shop somewhere. And the junior manager or producer doing Quality Control on those images is probably working just as hard and not getting paid very well either. And if anybody gets fired over this whole mess, it will probably be them.
But I’m sorry to say Target, that you apologized for the wrong thing. Don’t apologize to me that a graphic artist messed up and released a photo that makes it blatantly obvious that you drastically altered a young woman’s body to convince 12-year old girls that they need to be seven feet-tall, size 00 and have a thigh gap that could hold a soccer ball. Don’t apologize to me that you got caught. Apologize to me for feeling the need to PhotoShop these images this way in the first place. Apologize to me for altering photos to create impossible beauty ideals to products aimed at 12-year-old girls in an environment where hospitalizations for eating disorders in kids under 12 are up 119% (see Pinhas et. al.) Apologize to me for being so certain that your model needs to sport a thigh gap, a trendy body trait that is nearly impossible to maintain for all but a microscopic percentage of the human race, that you were willing to graphically stretch her on the rack and excise critical bits of her anatomy to accomplish it. (You could consider the techniques shown in the video below. These are kinda cool actually.)
Target, you make me sad. I adore your wide, bright aisles and fun POP displays. I love your colorful and fun, yet generally affordable housewares, camping gear and sporting goods. But this has GOT to stop. It’s time for you to retract your fake apology and give us a real one. Then tell us how you are going to stop digitally dissecting the already beautiful bodies of your models to sell us a dose of unreality we just shouldn’t have to swallow.
Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)
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