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date: 30 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Much empirical evidence suggests that “what is beautiful is good,” particularly for women. Whether in the courtroom or the classroom, attractive females enjoy a variety of benefits not available to their less attractive peers. It is therefore often in a woman’s best interest to engage in efforts to enhance her appearance. Women utilize a number of strategies to increase their physical attractiveness (e.g., wearing cosmetics, dieting), particularly when competing for romantic partners. Due to the competitive advantage it provides, however, a woman’s beauty can also evoke aversive psychological responses from same-sex competitors. These negative responses—such as decreased self-esteem and increased envy—can have costly consequences for the attractive women who elicit them. In this chapter, we review research suggesting that women strategically enhance their beauty in order to facilitate competitive success. We also address several important questions about the causes and consequences of women’s competitive beautification.

Keywords: physical attractiveness, intrasexual competition, human mating, envy, anti-attractiveness bias, appearance enhancement, beautification penalty

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