Thin Gap Models Sparks “Thin-Shaming” Debate

Thin Gap Model tweeter The image in question.

Oh dear, Gap is in the social-media spotlight because of one of their ads. While the fashion industry has never been shied to utilise thin models, it seems that the US retailer has found itself in the midst of a social media disaster. And it all started with a tweet.

Thin Gap Model tweeter
The image in question.

Gap tweeted,”Dress up your days in pastel plaid. #since1969,” read the caption to the pic, accompanied by a lanky young woman wearing a pastel plaid dress.

The image sparked an endless amount of controversy from the Twitterverse, with some users defending the brunette beauty’s frame, while others expressed outrage over the controversial shot.

Gap has since responded to the controversy via a statement to E! News. “Our intentions have always been to celebrate diversity in our marketing and champion people for who they are,” Edie Kissko, Gap Inc. spokesperson said. “Upon reflection, we understand the sensitivity surrounding this photograph. Customer feedback is important to us and we think this is a valuable conversation to learn from.”

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First of all, what makes it okay to body shame a person just because she looks thin? Second, what makes it okay for anyone to so quickly assume that she has an eating disorder?

The world has a plethora of body types and this happens to depict someone who is naturally skinny, is she not allowed to be represented? GAP also happens to be one of the most progressive retailers who has been consistently trying to depict diversity within their ads. Do you remember this ad featuring Sikh model, designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia from House of Waris?

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And their response regarding this particular ad was commendable too. 

“Recently, the ad featuring Waris Ahluwalia was found covered with racist graffiti on a New York City subway wall. “Make Love” was crossed out to read “Make Bombs.” Someone scrawled beneath it, “Please stop driving TAXIS.”

The racial epithets were familiar, but what happened next was altogether new. The photograph went viral on Twitter. Within 24 hours, Gap set out to replace the defaced ads, made the ad its background image on Twitter and Facebook and released the statement, “Gap is a brand that celebrates inclusion and diversity.” The company’s response set off a chorus of #ThankYouGap posts.”

What are your views on Gap promoting age, race, gender and weight in their ads? And should we as a society be more accepting of the way people look?