I think YES there IS probably a connection between cut-ups and anorexia...since there are strong connections between food and the cut-ups as a kind of destructive digestion, as well as cut-ups and women...
She then goes on to give "Tristana Tzara's hat as a kind of vagina" as an example. But then "for a different kind of gustatory expression," Whitney references the women of Little Gidding "wielding scissors like they would knives to a kitchen" and then links to this amazing post she wrote about this phenomenon. This is really interesting to me, on a textual level (because I am obviously not a scholar, things interest me with the time-span of a golden retriever, I am interested in things for later text experiments, hmmm).
Anyway, in the 17 century, an English man named Nicholas Ferrar moved his family to the town of Little Gidding, lived a life of strict prayer, etc., and as part of this religious expression the women of the family constructed what are called Biblical "Harmonies." This is what Whitney writes:
Like sewing, weaving and other forms of text/ile production, assembling the "Harmonies" was women's hand-i-work at Little Gidding. The patriarch Nicholas directed his nieces on the form, structure and verses to compile; then the women extracted the relevant sections from the text, laid them out on the table, and recombined them to form a new narrative.
Thus with appropriately-phallic "Knives & Cizers" in hand, these nameless nieces tore into the body of the Bible -- the "Heads" -- to breathe life into a new text. Like strands of DNA splicing in the womb, discrete elements must disassemble themselves before reassembling into a new organism -- a creature paradoxically the same and yet wholly different from its parents.
* * *
As Paul Dyck points out, the source texts for the "Harmonies" often contained marginal commentary, so that "the Little Gidding books literally sunder much of the biblical textual markup ... from the textual apparatus that gives it meaning" (Dyck 2-3). Ensconced in a bedding of commentary, words are woven into an intellectual tradition, acquiring meaning through abstract syntactical relationships in the same way individual threads form an image when woven into a tapestry. Sliced from the page, though, they become material objects, suddenly strange -- all form and no content.
* * *
Although seventeenth-century women were not often given their own pens and bid write, they were at Little Gidding given their own scissors and bid cut, paste. Disallowed from forming their own, they fed off the words of others.
I find this all really fascinating, on one level because I'm so interested in the idea of writing that functions as a collage (am reading Lance Olsen's new Chiasmus Press book Heads in Flames that I hope to write about later, in the context of terrorism, and it does function as a sort of collage, the cutting and linking together of strands about three lives, van Gogh, his nephew the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, and then the extremist who murdered Theo Van Gogh). But besides an interest in the cut-up literary technique and the textual collage, I am interested in this in the context of women writing, how women have been forbidden to write historically. And somehow in my mind I am linking this to medieval women mystics, how their words were dictated by male confessors. But I'm also interested in the idea of these women yielding sharp knives/instruments, in which they were allowed to construct some sort of meaning, in the form of collage. Also thinking of times in history when women were forbidden to write (Silas Weir Mitchell advising Charlotte Perkins Gilman to never touch a pen or pencil for as long as she lived). The way women on the rest cures were given only tiny nubs of pencil in which to write with, as the pen was seen as too dangerous. But the ways women rebelled from this. And also how women who have been silenced have reverted to violence (which explains my image from Chantal Ackerman's Jeanne Dielman, thinking how she suddenly stabs the john at the end, this is what comes to mind when I think of "women with knives in the kitchen").