This paper explores the role of online body talk (text-based communication about bodies and bodily experiences) in the management, negotiation and development of eating disorder related identities. Two anorexia related Internet discussion forums (a pro-ana and a recovery website) were analyzed through the means of discourse analysis. The analysis focused on the type of body-talk produced in the different sites and the functions of this talk in relation to eating disorder related identities. Three forms of body talk were identified: descriptions of doing something with the body; descriptions of the body and descriptions of bodily experiences. On both sites these forms of body talk reproduced the thin ideal; demonstrated valid claims of group membership; and, for the pro-ana group, dynamically (re)produced eating disorder related identities through the reframing of health/appearance concerns as markers of success.
Riley, S., Rodham, K., & Gavin, J. (2009). Doing weight: pro-ana and recovery identities in cyberspace. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 19(5), 348-359. https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.1022