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Thin Gap model: Outcry over gaunt Gap model, pin thin is the fashion standard?

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A thin female Gap model – very thin – is causing clamor on social media this week. The brunette model is styling a rather frumpy looking plaid dress, but the design of the clothing is not the issue. It’s the rail thin body that the dress is hanging on. And Gap is hearing about it big time. Call it shaming the slim.

Here’s the initial pic:

Dress up your days in pastel plaid. #since1969 http://t.co/MahfoxlM5i pic.twitter.com/xWWSxyImnA

— Gap (@Gap) August 4, 2014

Cosmopolitan wrote a commentary piece that was picked up by MSN Living. Entitled Dear Internet lynch mob: Thin-shaming is not OK, Amy Odell writes:

All Gap wanted to do was promote a plaid shirtdress. It's easy to say or do the wrong thing on the Internet, but surely this couldn't be one of those times, a clothing brand posting a photo of a model in one of its pieces. Fashion labels do this every day! Bloggers do this every day on Instagram! And so the brand shared a seemingly innocuous image on Twitter of a model wearing the garment.

But the pic has launched a ferocious spat of opinions between those who say models portrayed to the public should either be plump and paunchy, slim and trim, or somewhere in between. Should a girl that is arguably emaciated looking represent the fashion standard for Gap’s demographic customer base, namely: young teens?

"Our intentions have always been to celebrate diversity in our marketing and champion people for who they are," Gap Inc. spokesperson Edie Kissko said. "Upon reflection, we understand the sensitivity surround this photograph. Customer feedback is important to us and we think this is a valuable conversation to learn from."

Gap removed the model under the dress, instead hanging the dress on a hangar in subsequent online ads. As commenters pointed out – there wasn’t much difference.

The debate has started a Twitter war of words. In one camp are the defenders of the model, who say that she may simply be naturally-thin, and that “thin-shaming” is no better than mocking those that are overweight. Others say that because many models are already unrealistically thin and do not represent the average woman, fashion companies should shy away from promoting lanky, skeletal models that instantly make one think they have an eating disorder.

A sampling of the comments:

Seriously, @Gap? In what world do people look like this? Perhaps you could select models who represent regular gals & not a Skeletor ghost. — AgnesLoo (@LittleLadyLH)

@Gap @AndreaKcc Doesn't the Gap feed it's models? Seriously she looks ill. Please use healthy looking women in your ads next time. — Katie (@KJ041912)

@Gap Eating disorders are deadly diseases. This model needs help, promoting thin ideal is dangerous. Disappointed, Gap. — faith kandel yesner (@faithngd)

@Gap @SterlingJoy94 When will our culture stop calling ALL thin women anorexic? This is a common body type. These comments are appalling.— Sarah Chamberlain (@SBChambe)

@upendi5 why are you allowed to say "she needs a hamburger" but someone can't say "she needs a salad"? The double standards blow my mind — ansel pls

@Gap stand up for this model. There are real women who wear size 0, like me, we don't have an eating disorder. Why is being skinny taboo? — Alexis Bogobowicz (@AlexisBogo)

Where do you fall on this debate? Do you think this model is too skinny, or are commenters being far too critical? Sound off below.

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