A comedy writer tweeted about Jane Austen. It revealed a big flaw in publishing.

When most people think of Jane Austen's novels, they probably think of love and romance. But Jake Weisman doesn't.

In fact, according to a recent tweet from the Comedy Central writer, he wants to make his feelings clear that "Jane Austen does not write love stories."

He's not completely wrong. Jane Austen was funny.


She nailed satire, and her commentary on social mores during her time were ridiculously spot-on.

But her stories also featured love. And romance. And (gasp!) feelings. That's not a bad thing. And Austen fans near and far chimed in to remind Weisman of exactly that.

Because — spoiler alert — literature can be more than one thing. It can be both satire and romance. It can be both mystery and adventure. It can be both comedy and science fiction. Books can even be all those things at the same time.

Clearly, Weisman's tweet struck a nerve, and it's not surprising. Often certain genres of books, like romance, are largely written off or seen as less than.

Why?

Because the people who most often write and read those books are women.

It's a real problem because the publishing industry, like so many others, tends to be very male centered.

Ever wondered why books written by women are often labeled "women's fiction" but books written by men are just "fiction"? It's because, historically, men have been the default and women the subcategory. And attitudes like the one in Weisman's tweet are part of the reason. Those attitudes suggest that "love stories" are automatically beneath brilliant writers like Austen. And that only when her work is called something more "impressive" like "satire" is it worthy, which simply isn't true.

After all, books, like people, can have many layers — many brilliant parts of their whole.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.