Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Second Department


Reader 1

Adrienne Martin


This thesis will build off Debra Satz’s framework for identifying noxious markets from Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale to make an ethical critique of makeup. I argue that the market for makeup involves one of Satz’s source parameters, Weak Agency, and contributes to her two outcomes parameters, Harmful Outcomes for Society and Harmful Outcomes for the Individual. I identify an additional source of evidence for Satz’s Weak Agency parameter beyond her knowledge-based source of evidence: the manipulative creation of a consumer need by relying on prejudicial stereotypes. This consumer need is maintained by three forces: coercion by force or threat of force, loss of freedom due to the existence of a threat, and incentives. I also suggest another source parameter: the sinister exploitation of harmful stereotypes or existing injustices for profit. Through this Satzian framework, I argue that the market for makeup is noxious, and society should take steps to mitigate it through programs that address the noxious traits identified in this thesis.

This thesis is made up of three chapters. The first chapter provides a literature review of three figures within the Moral Limitations for Markets (MLM) debate. The goal of the first chapter is to find an ethical framework for analyzing the market for makeup; I argue that a Satzian framework is best for makeup. The second chapter develops and applies a Satzian framework to create an ethical critique of the market for makeup. The third chapter offers a few ideas on solutions to the noxious aspects of the market for makeup and concludes that this thesis could be used to identify other seemingly benign markets that when looked at closely could rely on and perpetuate inequality through a relationship to prejudicial stereotypes. A good place to start looking for markets similarly noxious to makeup could be seemingly acceptable gendered products.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.