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Skinny Gap Model Sparks Twitter Controversy, Company Response And 'Thin-Shaming' Debate

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Mind the (thigh) gap, and its respective backlash.

The Gap sparked a Twitter firestorm by posting a photo of a thin, waif-like model in a cotton shirtdress to their official account on Aug. 4, alongside the innocuous message, "Dress up your days in pastel plaid. #since1969."

The photo, shot partly in profile, highlights the model's slight limbs, "25-inch waist" and angular features. Garnering 43 retweets, the response to the post, in part, has been less than kind.

"This picture is terrifying," writes @gggenevieveee.

"@Gap Someone get that girl some food!" tweets @keklar.

"Seriously, @ Gap?" writes @LittleLadyLH. "In what world do people look like this? Perhaps you could select models who represent regular gals & not a skeletor ghost."

While many of the brand's 432,000 followers called out the company for promoting unhealthy body image with their model selection, others defended the retailer's choice to profile a petite frame in light of its associated skinny-shaming.

Days later, on Aug. 8, the company issued this statement to the press:

"Our intentions have always been to celebrate diversity in our marketing and champion people for who they are," said Edie Kissko, a Gap Inc. spokeswoman, to PEOPLE Magazine. "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."

The Gap's original tweet remains online — possibly for the sake of transparency — but the clothier has since changed its online message.

Following the release of its official statement, the green plaid utility shirtdress, which retails for $59.95, is being marketed on its website with a different model — a redhead with a less petite frame. On Saturday, the brand posted a photo of the aforementioned shirtdress on its Instagram page. But this time, neither model was sporting the look. Instead, the ensemble was shown on a clothes hanger with the same caption as the tweet: "Dress up your days in pastel plaid. #since1969."

One Instagram user, @michaelmacko was quick to point out the Gap's new strategy in his comment, writing, "@gap did the anorexic model just disappear?"

Whether the brand was trying to distance itself from the controversy remains to be seen, but do you think the model was too skinny? Or, is the Gap now at the centre of a skinny-shaming war?

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misidentified Daniel Ralston as the husband of the model in the original photo, and quoted one of his tweets that referred to the controversy. This was not correct. The Huffington Post regrets the error.

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