Awareness of appearance goes back millennia. Look at the Roman statues of women with fancy hairdos, and the same sorts of stone carvings indicating women had the same thing 30,000 years ago.
The standard of beauty differs in societies, so there are African societies where the girls are sent to be fattened up while the West starves them. In Asia, they cover the skin to stay pale, while women in the West spray on fake tans to look darker.
So we're a visual species that competes to look attractive, even among others of the same sex, but that definition of beauty depends on the society at the time.
Competition for wealth and status is what the men do to attract mates or improve their own lives.