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Target Falls for the Terrifying 'Thigh Gap' Trend and Totally Gets Busted On the heels of its massive data breach, Target has something else to apologize for. And what it screwed up this time could have girls everywhere feeling even worse about their bodies.

By Kim Lachance Shandrow

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Screengrab Target.com

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's f--ked up, for real.

Target apologized on Tuesday afternoon on Twitter.

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

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.

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Former West Coast Editor

Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here

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