It was then that I stumbled upon this lovely article by Abigail Bray and Claire Colebrook titled "The Haunted Flesh: Corporeal Feminism and the Politics of (Dis)Embodiment."
Within it, Bray and Colebrook call for a new active feminist ethics through which to examine eating disorders which is modeled after the work of philosopher Gilles Deleuze. In doing so, they suggest a move away from traditional methods of understanding eating disorders that focus on representation, which places women in a position of passivity and reinforces the Cartesian mind/body dualism, and rather into a view of the body as “the event of expression (36).” This new ethics “approaches sexual difference as a site of practices, comportments, and contested articulations” through which eating disorders may be understood “in terms of bodily activity rather than in terms of a repressed or negated ‘normal’ body (37).”
This proposed ethics is applied further to instances of anorexia nervosa as body practices as “productive, as forms of self-formation (58).” This article is perhaps most useful for its discussion of deviancy and the suggestion that the anorexic body, as deviant and as active subject, might be considered an expression of sexual politics which challenge societal norms. The authors’ discussion (and challenge) of the biomedical language used to classify and pathologize anorexia as well as its approaches to “treatment” take this idea further as the theories traditionally used (and also informing other feminist scholarly discussions of the body) to discuss eating disorders are themselves phallogocentric and a form of disciplining gender identity through access to and control of the body. From this, the authors suggest that “anorexia, then, is a series of practices and comportments; there are no anorexics, only activities of dietetics, measuring, regulation and calculation (62).” This view then positions the anorexic subject to be read and understood as a discursive event (reflective of societal ideological context) which occurs “within a general discursive network,” in this case, “concerned with analysis, regulation, and normalization (63).”
Bray, Abigail, and Claire Colebrook. "The Haunted Flesh: Corporeal Feminism and the Politics of (Dis)Embodiment." Signs 24 (1998): 35-67.