As if women don’t have it hard enough when it comes to leveling the playing field with men in the workplace, a Silicon Valley CEO recently revealed that she had to make a fairly significant beauty change to help herself get ahead: She dyed her hair brunette.
When Eileen Carey was pitching to investors, a female colleague explained to her that the investors might feel more comfortable dealing with a brunette—instead of a blonde.
“I was told for this raise [of funds], that it would be to my benefit to dye my hair brown because there was a stronger pattern recognition of brunette women CEOs,” she told BBC. She further explains that with blonde hair in Silicon Valley, she was being linked to the controversial Elizabeth Holmes.
Carey went even further to change up her look. She now wears glasses instead of contacts and loose-fitting clothing. “For me to be successful in this [tech industry] space, I’d like to draw as little attention as possible,” she says. “Especially in any sort of sexual way.”
She came to find she wasn’t the only woman who dyed her hair for these purposes. When interviewing women for her startup, Glassbreakers, she discussed the fetishization that surrounds blonde hair. “People are more likely to hit on me in a bar if I’m blonde,” she says. “There’s just that issue in general.”