Sometimes it seems like we’re bombarded by study after study telling us fat girls that unless we fit a certain body type, we’re doomed to be relegated to the “unattractive” bin. If your fat happens to settle into an “hourglass” or “pear” shape, your fat is more likely to be seen as “OK” by the dominant culture. That’s less a product of evolution and more a product of the images drilled into our heads of “curvy” women with a desirable waist-to-hip ratio. Unfortunately, this is now a cross-cultural phenomenon and we have Western culture to blame for disseminating this beauty propaganda.

The hierarchy of body shape is something that exists in the very fabric of the plus-size clothes we’re sold. Pants and jeans are usually made with the pear or hourglass figure in mind, and tops can be ill-fitting if your gut happens to be bigger than what the manufacturer determines to be the correct size for the shirt. Our “plus-size” models are never apple types. Even when brands and magazines give us images of bodies that are supposed to be our representatives in the fashion world, they manage to marginalize a whole lot of fat girls by only presenting certain types as desirable enough to model their clothes. We’re expected to fit a type of fat distribution, and if we don’t, well, they tried to make clothes for us, right?

Of course there’s so much that goes into attraction; body shape is just one part of the equation. But it’s an important part of how you’re viewed as a fat girl who owns her sexuality. If you feel less desirable because you’re not the right shape, it’s hard to remain confident in yourself as a sexual person. We need to stop putting up celebrities and models who have a little extra junk in the trunk as models of fat beauty because a good majority of fat girls don’t and could never look anything like that. The fat ideal is just as dangerous to our self-esteem as the thin ideal, and they’re both equally out of reach for many of us.

The best revenge is looking good, and that’s also the best way to fight the body-type hierarchy. I say it again and again, but having confidence in yourself and your appearance is incredibly important to living a full life and expressing your sexuality. Don’t listen to what society says about which shape is the right shape because society is never going to encourage us to do anything but keep our heads down and stay out of sight. The more fat girls decide to ignore the rules of what shape is “right,” the more classifying body type becomes a relic of the past. We all have to retrain ourselves on a daily basis to reject narrow-mindedness and see the beauty in every body, including our own.