Old Navy Photoshops in a Thigh Gap to Plus-Size Jeans — Why I’m Not Surprised

Old Navy
Yes, Old Navy, we believe you when you show us a thigh gap on a plus-size model. Oh, wait. Strike that. Reverse it.

Stop the presses! Old Navy has joined the long line of magazines and retailers who are Photoshopping models and mannequins into looking unnaturally skinny in an effort to sell a thin fantasy to larger women.

Jezebel is reporting that the Gap-owned brand used the dark magic of Photoshop to give a pair of plus-size jeans a thigh gap, which, as most of us know, probably doesn’t naturally occur on most larger gals.

Said thigh gap can be seen as offensive to plus-size women (of which I have been known to be one on occasion), sure. It’s also just dumb.

I’ve spent more time over the past three years writing about companies and their plus-size hang-ups than I can even link to, although here’s a start:

1. Apparently “Plus-Size” and “Pregnant” are Synonymous, According to Target

2. “Always Skinny” Jeans Mannequins at the Gap Need to Eat a Sandwich (or Four)

3. Are Plus-Size Models “Having Their Moment?”

4. Is the Outrage Over Melissa McCarthy’s Elle Cover Misplaced? The Answer is a Big, Fat YES.

5. H&M Raises the Beauty Bar and Lowers Our Self-Esteem Simultaneously

However, I’m not sure why I even bother to keep writing about it, frankly. A large part of me is offended and outraged by the practice. But the other part of me is so not surprised. It’s simply par for the course to not show a blemish on anyone or anything who is being put out there for the purpose of selling something. Gisele and Gwyneth get Photoshopped. Why would anyone possibly think that Lena Dunham wouldn’t be modified on the cover of Vogue?

As a woman who has fluctuated sizes just as often, if not more than, Oprah, I can tell you that seeing a thigh gap on a pair of plus-size jeans doesn’t make me more or less likely to buy them. Nor does seeing any one of these Photoshop disasters erring on the skeletal size make me think if I buy this corset, I will look like that, too. I’m not some shopping genius nor do I have an eagle eye for what’s real and what’s airbrushed. I just have a reasonable IQ and a realistic picture of what my body actually looks like and I’ve become fairly skilled at guestimating how I’ll look in something based on the picture, taking Photoshop into account.

This doesn’t mean I won’t continue to secretly boo and hiss companies like Old Navy for not being honest about what a plus-size woman wearing a pair of jeans looks like, or celebrating companies like Debenhams that show what real people really look like in clothes. I guess it just means maybe moving forward I’ll keep my faux outrage to myself, because it’s just not news anymore. That’s a sad thing, I suppose, but it’s just what it is and short of a law (kind of like this one and this one) saying it can’t be otherwise, I don’t envision an end in sight.

Image credit: Old Navy

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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