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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the role of female competition in reproductive suppression in humans and other species. Most research on same-sex competition has focused on the showy, often violent aggression typically seen in male–male competition. Competition between females has been less studied for a variety of reasons, from the fact that many researchers have been male and focused on their own competitive arena to the fact that female competition is often more subtle, difficult to observe, and thus more challenging to study. Two aspects of female competition, competition for status or dominance and competition for mates, are part of the focus of this chapter. The other focus is the possible role that female competition plays in reproductive suppression, whether that suppression is self-induced or imposed by others. One modern outcome of the mismatch between a once-adaptive response to female competition and the modern environment is extreme dieting behavior.

Keywords: reproductive suppression, dieting, Female competition, status, dominance, mismatch

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