Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

We analyze beauty pageants from an evolutionary perspective, with the goal of providing a unique insight into a novel cultural practice. Through a detailed review of adult and children beauty pageants, we propose that pageants elicit intrasexually competitive behaviors that would typically be seen within a mating context. In real-world settings, women’s intrasexual competition is often focused on gaining and possessing resources, typically through mate attraction and retention. While there is no mate to “win” in pageants, there is a substantial amount of status and resources to be gained by the winner. Further, the context also highlights individual differences in such mating-relevant attributes as physical attractiveness, talent, and compassion. We propose that beauty competitions feature traits that heterosexual men find attractive in a mate (e.g., indicators of youth, fertility, long-term commitment, virginity, intelligence, and creativity). Finally, we discuss future avenues of evolutionary research in the context of beauty pageants.

Keywords: pageants, beauty competitions, intrasexual competition, evolutionary theory, competitive strategies, self-promotion, competitor derogation, competitor manipulation, fashion

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.