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The Body Project

By: Amanda Cardinal

In a world where Instagram models are a dime a dozen and likes are considered social currency, young women have it hard when it comes to loving our bodies. We are constantly bombarded by images of “perfect” women, whether they be gracing the covers of our magazines or plastered all over our social feeds. Thankfully, the BIDE (Body Image and Disordered Eating) Laboratory is doing something to combat this issue by holding its newly implemented program, The Body Project.

The BIDE Lab is a new addition to the College of Education, Health and Aviation at Oklahoma State University. Their program, The Body Project is a nationally recognized body acceptance curriculum. According to the Body Project website, it is an “acceptance intervention that was designed to help adolescent girls and young women resist sociocultural pressures to conform to the thin-ideal and reduce their pursuit of thinness.”

Ashley Hadwinger, a member of the research team at the BIDE lab and the member in charge of The Body Project, explains that the program aims to “create cognitive dissonance between how one evaluates their own body versus what is in the media and what’s expected of people.”

According to Hadwinger, the program focuses on addressing the “appearance ideal,” which has created a pressure for women to meet a certain standard of body or look. The objective is to show girls that this ideal is always changing and therefore unattainable. The program explores the cost, risks and benefits of obtaining the ideal and aims to help women see that “perfection” is not worth the cost associated.

In addition to her work with the BIDE Lab, Hadwinger is a graduate student in the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program at OSU with a special interest in body image and body image-related disorders. As someone with a special interest in helping others with body issues, she says she recommends the program to both women struggling with body issues, as well as those interested in going into education, counseling, the health field or others who plan on working with students.

The Body Project is free and will take place over two sessions on Oct. 13 and 14. Registration for the program ends Oct. 5, so be sure to sign up as soon as possible! Email to participate. Can’t make it to The Body Project? The BIDE lab plans on holding it once a semester in addition to other possible programs, so keep an eye out for those!

If you’d like to get involved with the BIDE lab, they are always looking for additional help in research, advocacy or outreach. Visit the BIDE Website at for more information.


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