As we brought up in class during presentations, there is something verging on the religious about aspects of this community that cannot be ignored. Such undercurrents are not so obvious in the blog community but on some of the sites I visited there is 'Ana's Psalm', 'The 10 commandments', The personification of Ana as someone who 'watches over' as well as Angel imagery. Perhaps this next posit is a stretch, but indulge me:
There is something about blogs and the anonymity of their authors that is similar to the confession. As modern science replaced religion as the institution responsible for the health of citizens, science kept an important religious practice - the confession - replacing the priest with the physician or psychiatrist. Similarly, the blog community includes this 'confessional' practice. From a more functional/ practical perspective this can be read as a way to not only assert one's legitimacy as a member of the group, but alleviate feelings of alienation and work through personal issues with food and eating.
With that said, there is the trend of Chronicling. Using Foucault as a platform, but moving in a different direction, Mark LaFrance introduced me to a useful resource entitled "Foucault goes to Weigh Watchers" by Cressida Heyes. Here she talks about the way that Weight Watchers requires you to 'chronicle' all of your caloric intake and expenditure. There is a handy point system and all. What she pointed out, as a feminist scholar doing an 'experiment' by trying this program, was the unexpected pleasure she got from reaching her WW goals. The result of this program was a textual representation of her body and how she was able to modify and change her weight and figure. Similarly on the blog community there is a tendency for entries to consist solely of, or be introduced by, a chronicle of calories consumed (sometimes what was purged, which does not negate calories - although this is a common misconception) as well as calories expended. Again, we see a self-surveillance, chronicling and textual record of the body from such practices.
Finally, we might consider another perspective from the feminists. Susan Bordeaux's seminal work "Anorexia Nervosa: Psychopathology as the Crystallization of Culture" talks about how in many ways anorexia and eating disorders more generally hold a mirror up to society to reflect the demands it puts on women. While this certainly is an aspect of anorexia and other eating disorders, such a theory strips women of agency. Surely the confession and chronicling in these blogs communities represent the pressure many women feel to attain a specific body, as well as the obsessive desire and extreme measure they will engage in to achieve this perceived 'perfection' but the ways in which many young women speak of their disorders on these blogs might challenge Bordo's posit. There is no indication that these girls are putting the onus on the media and society. This is a dimension of the eating disorder and an indirect factor, yes, but to reduce behavior to a cultural bottom line seems an oversimplification.