During Eating Disorder Week, Miss Teenage Quebec hopes to help end the stigma
MONTREAL -- With Eating Disorder Awareness Week beginning on Sunday, Miss Teenage Quebec is launching a campaign to help end the stigma surround the disorders.
When Clara Chemtov first earned her title, she was just starting to recover from an eating disorder, so when the organization behind Miss Teenage Quebec asked her to pick a cause to speak about, she said the choice was obvious.
“If the world is a void where no one talks about eating disorders, when one person opens the conversation, it really does bring that dialogue to another level,” she said.
Chemtov said she wants people to know that disordered eating is a mental health issue.
“I can't tell you how many times I've heard 'But you don't look like you have an eating disorder,'” she said. “I usually respond with 'And you don't look like a psychologist.' It's about mental health, not physical body appearance.”
When she put out a call on social media for others to share their own stories, responses poured in.
“I've been really surprised by how many people have been so open, just because I was as well.”
Starting on Monday, she'll be sharing those stories on her Instagram account. One of those stories comes from a close friend and schoolmate.
“It's kind of scary and there's a lot of stigma around it,” said Grace Plaitis. “But knowing that other people are there to support you and the more others share their stories, the easier it is to let out.”
Chemtov has dubbed the project More Than Meets the Eye.
“When we don't see ourselves and our struggles represented in mainstream media, it makes us feel more alone,” she said. “It can make us feel that our problems are less valid and it can make us feel isolated.”