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date: 18 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Intrasexual competition between women is a critically important construct with real implications for women’s physical and psychological health. This chapter argues that female competition can cause women to fixate on their appearance and take unnecessary risks in an effort to improve it. Western society sets seemingly impossible criteria for female beauty that few women can naturally—and healthily—achieve. These standards and evolved partner preferences for physical attractiveness in women help to explain why women generally feel enormous pressure to be attractive and are compelled to compete intensely with one another in the realm of physical attractiveness. The authors suggest that intrasexual competition may lead some women to alter their physical appearance through unnecessary, expensive, and ultimately risky medical procedures in order to outdo female mating rivals and attain the best-quality mate. This is may be a dangerous strategy, equivalent to the overt risk-taking behaviors that exemplify male–male intrasexual competition.

Keywords: female intrasexual competition, cosmetic surgery, mate competition, sexual selection, risk taking

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