Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkMask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House GOP Reps. Greene, Clyde accrue nearly 0K in combined mask fines Democrat speaks out on double standards, sexism and politics of 'going gray' MORE is speaking out on a hairy topic — the politics of going gray in Congress and the “double standards women face.”

In an op-ed for Boston’s WBUR published Thursday, the Massachusetts Democrat writes how her “personal” decision to stop dying her hair in 2015 — she juggled being a new member of Congress, with caring for her ailing parents and raising her three children — quickly morphed into a political issue.

“Something had to give. And for me, it was dying my hair,” Clark, 58, wrote. “I had been gray curious for several years as more silver roots emerged, but had never been ready to take the leap to natural color.”


Clark recalled being told that she would “no longer be taken seriously by the public” with the hair color change, writing that even some of her supporters questioned why she would “age” herself.

“America has been led almost exclusively by gray-haired men for more than two and half centuries. But as a woman, my career seemed to be hanging in the balance because I was going natural,” Clark said.

“It had not occurred to me that my competence and effectiveness were contained within a small bottle of brown hair dye, but it should have,” said Clark, who is viewed by many as one of a handful of House Democrats primed to take a top leadership post in a future Congress.

The follicle-related fallout served as a “painful reminder of just how ingrained traditional beauty standards are in our culture and the double standards women face,” she said.

Seven years after choosing to go gray, the fourth-ranking House Democrat said her hair color “hasn’t stopped me from being re-elected or serving my constituents.”

Clark applauded the “growing squad” of women going natural amid the coronavirus pandemic, who she said are “redefining what’s beautiful, acceptable, and powerful.”

“Like so many other reckonings brought on by the pandemic, women are reclaiming their time and power, and calling out inequities they face, from our broken child care system to wage inequality and reproductive rights,” she wrote. “The inequities that are built into our economy are born out of the same systems of misogyny that tell us how to wear our hair.”

Clark encouraged women to wear their hair decision “with pride” and “as a challenge to any notion that women should be anything other than equal and empowered.”