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The Blacks and The Pinks

Orange is the new Black. And Green is the new Pink.

I don’t think Regina George would approve of that last one, but for women striving to find the perfect work/life balance, it’s catching on.

Fashion is fluid—this we all know. But now we can watch every aspect of our lives change shape with that same fluidity that makes the fashion industry as volatile as it is.

But in this extremely dynamic world, there are more ‘New Blacks,’ more trends than even we, the Millennial and Gen-Z kids, can keep up with. Sometimes, they consist of the ever-changing clothes on the racks in stores, or the books on the bestseller shelves. Sometimes the Black takes the shape of a person, such as Kylie Jenner, and suddenly people are donating money to make her the world’s youngest female billionaire. So what if there are people starving on the streets, let’s try to make the filthy rich even richer, right?

Trends exist in all forms, and as long as there are trends, there are people who will do anything to keep up with them. Perhaps it is the desperation to avoid being left behind, or the inevitable need to fit in, but crowds are often unthinking. This means that no matter how much an individual distinguishes themselves as intelligent, in a crowd, they are susceptible to the power of mind-control these trends seem to possess. While this is harmless when it leads to nothing more than every teenager owning the exact same pair of Adidas ‘Superstars,’ it can prove to be a dangerous power—one that can instil in teenage girls the sudden, inexplicable urge to get out of a moving car to dance to the ‘Kiki Challenge.’

That being said, ‘The Black,’ although the name might suggest otherwise, is not some dark, evil force that puts us all under the Imperious Curse for a while. It is representative of the change that fuels the world we live in. Human beings, by our very nature, tend to fear change. But these passing trends ease the transitions and carry us forward. Because we are ever so ready to jump on the bandwagon, we forget to resist the changes around us. And I can’t help but see that as a good thing.

Unsurprisingly, the trends that influence human minds influence the words they produce too. That is why literature is said to reflect the times—it is, after all, a product of society. Or at least one fragment of it.

Several hundred years ago, Miguel de Cervantes wrote several hundred pages of words that, together, formed the ‘first novel’—Don Quixote. He was the ‘trendsetter,’ and we are all eternally grateful to him for giving this world the magic that ink and paper collude to create. Around two centuries later, Charlotte Brontë gave us a woman made of delicate fire, far ahead of her times. Skip another century and we have Jane Austen, holding up a mirror to society, exposing the ugly patriarchy while simultaneously making us fall in love with a certain Mr. Darcy.

Today, we have Sally Rooney, the 28-year-old sensation who captures with unparalleled accuracy the essence of inextricably messy relationships in the 21st century, giving insights into morally ambiguous characters that makes us sympathise with the morally questionable choices that they, like all of us, inevitably make.

Just like these trends in literature are an essential indicator of progress, the New Blacks are essential tools that keep that progress coming. The day society becomes stagnant, we will stop evolving. So let Orange be the new Black and Green the new Pink, because as long as the colours are changing, the rainbow never ends.

Focusing on Literature and Lifestyle of the Urban Youth of the Country, LitGleam is a monthly magazine, an intrinsic part of BlueRose Publishers.

Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on literature and lifestyle, guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversations among fellow professionals.