updated 3/13/2014 4:18:16 PM ET 2014-03-13T20:18:16

Listen up, ladies. Please stop starving yourselves in the dangerous quest for a stick-thin supermodel “thigh gap.” Your thighs are perfectly fine the way they are. Even if they touch. Even if Target’s horrific Photoshop fail has you thinking otherwise.

Maybe the country’s third largest retailer was too busy to notice that this glaring thigh gap eyesore (and this winner, too) was lurking on its website. Too caught up in eating humble PR pie for one of the worst credit card hacking attacks on record -- one that exposed its customers' personal identifying and financial data for 19 long, violating days during the 2013 holiday shopping season.

A media watchdog with a blog called Ethical Adam wasn’t too busy to notice, though. He reportedly blew the lid off the freakish Photoshop faux pas on Monday, though a handful of Photoshop job critics are vying for credit. Ethical Adam also noticed that this thigh-disfiguring Photoshop fail is unfortunately still live.

Related: Target's Security Breach Stresses the Need For Better Cyber Secruity

It wasn’t long before the botched crotch (and mangled armpit) image of a young swimsuit model went viral, inciting a firestorm of angry tweets and this Target-shaming post by Jezebel writer Rebecca Rose published on Monday night.

Target reportedly yanked the heinously cropped juniors’ Xhilaration brand bikini shots that looked like they were touched up with a pair of Playskool scissors Tuesday afternoon, not long after Rose and a slew of other bloggers called out the Minnesota-based corporate giant, lambasting it for the body-image warping hack job like so:

The worst, most horrible part of this (aside from the horrible Photoshopping skills of whatever poor graphic design intern got assigned to do this) is that this product is for their junior's line. This is what is being marketed and pushed on young girls—this absurd image of a crotch that absolutely does not and cannot happen naturally. This what young girls have to look at and try to reconcile with their own, normally shaped bodies. It'sf--kedup, for real.

Target apologized on Tuesday afternoon on Twitter.

@NikkiFeroni This was an unfortunate error on our part. We apologize and are working to address this issue on our site. Thanks! - Marie

March 12, 2014

The terse apology came in response to this burn of a tweet by marketing and public relations professional Nikki Polifroni:

Really @Target ?! You cut out her crotch to make a fake thigh gap and WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER ARM?! #photoshop #fail

March 12, 2014

The disturbing thigh-gap fixation has reached fever pitch as of late. A quick Google search using the keywords “how to get a thigh gap” dishes out an astounding 63,000 results. Some of them are extremely disturbing, especially many of  the dozens of Pinterest boards solely dedicated to the increasingly popular unnaturally chiseled inner thighs ideal. There’s even a wikiHow that walks readers through 26 steps to thinner thighs. The once popular #thighgap and related #thinspo hashtags thankfully are no longer allowed on Instagram.

Related: Target Hit by a Sophisticated Hack Job

Bravo Target for removing the images and saying sorry in response to the criticism. But you can’t “un-publish” the damage already done, not only to your brand and reputation, but more importantly, to the countless “junior” girls you target, many of whom no doubt ran into your latest public relations nightmare online, looked down at their thighs and sadly wondered if they were nonexistent enough.

Yeah, because girls, old and young, aren’t stressed out enough about looking perfect for swimsuit season in just a few weeks.  

Oh, and, please, girls, your underarms are just peachy, too. Target and Jennifer Lawrence apparently have issues with armpits, but you don’t have to.

Copyright © 2013, Inc.


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