Popular Clothing Retailer Takes Heat Over Ad

Urban Outfitters, a popular clothing retailer among tweens, teens, and young adults, received criticism over its “thigh gap” ad and was asked to remove it immediately, sparking conversations about company ads, young girls, and body image.

The move was aimed at Europe's division of Urban Outfitters. After hearing a complaint about the image in one of the store's ads, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of the United Kingdom demanded that UBRN INC remove the offensive photograph. The image depicts an extremely thin model wearing with a large gap, a thigh gap, between her legs. Teens and other young women have been sucked into the trend of achieving a thigh gap through means of eating disorders and other unhealthy behaviors, and the ASA believed that the store's ad only encouraged such destructive habits.

The ASA deemed the ad “irresponsible,” as Urban Outfitters' target demographic is young women and teenagers. By seeing a very underweight model, the store is, in effect, showing their consumers what they should admire and try to be like. While URBN INC changed the image on its website, other images continue to display unhealthy-looking models with very thin bodies.

In a society where thinness is equated with success and beauty, the store's choice to use such unhealthy-looking models highlights the fact that media is indeed indoctrinating young impressionable minds that thinner is better. As the Urban Outfitters situation shows, the matter of unhealthy body image continues to dominate the world of style and fashion.