The world is not made for lefties


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A person writing with their left hand.

Jackie Clay, Staff Writer

When I was in kindergarten, the school taught me to write. I practiced letters and numbers, written by my right-handed teacher. Having to mirror the motions of writing using my left hand was difficult, especially since I was six years old. I was able to learn with my left, but I constantly thought about how easy it would be to learn with my right hand.

10% of the world’s population is left-handed, but where are the lefty scissors? Scissors are generally made for right-handed people, even though there should be more lefty scissors available for lefty people. Cutting was difficult for me as a child because the schools didn’t have lefty scissors and I now cut everything with my right hand because I have to.

I have only seen one lefty desk in every classroom at WA, if that, and they aren’t assigned to left-handed people. Having more inclusive supplies at school for lefties would make life easier, but most things in this world were built for the right-hand dominant.

“It’s just the little things you know, I haven’t used a left-handed desk until this year and it was really nice,” sophomore Sachi Rasne said.

English is written left to right and sharpies are a big problem. In a recent school project, I had to write the lettering in pencil and then backwards in sharpie to stop it from smudging. When writing with others on posters, my hand always bumps into everyone else’s.

The words of the languages themselves are also geared towards the right, not just how it is written. The word left in Latin is sinister, which is where the English word sinister comes from, and right in English means correct. There is a bias toward righties even in the languages we read and speak.

Lefties were oppressed in medieval Europe and continuously accused of being witches, especially if they were women. In more recent history, left-handed people were re-trained to use their right hand because people thought lefties would develop mental illnesses. When people tried to suppress left-handedness, it formed discriminatory practices in society that led to the right hand being preferential.

Many things in the world were obviously not made for lefties, making life very difficult at times. I go to do a basic task and have to think twice before switching to my non-dominant hand like going to open a door and seeing the handle is oriented to the right hand.

“It messes with people in sports, especially if you’re playing softball [and baseball]. You go to bat lefty and you have to watch them all shift,” sophomore Natalia Cincotti said

As a lefty, life is not painful to go through, but some things just take an extra second to think about when the world hasn’t considered your dominant hand when making tools.

“For fencing, I would always win because I was tall and left-handed and they never predicted that happening,” sophomore Charlotte Aeder said.

People always get surprised when they learn you are a lefty as if they would never expect that. It’s not all bad though.  There is a sense of community with lefties and it is certainly a great conversation starter.

“People are oddly surprised when you’re a lefty and if a lefty meets another lefty there is this whole happiness that happens,” Cincotti said. “There is a bond.”

More lefties learn to be ambidextrous because it is easier to use the right hand. My handwriting with my right hand is pretty good, much better than my friends’ left handwriting because I have so many opportunities to train my right hand. I cut paper with my right hand and do a lot of small things that I have taught myself to do with my non-dominant hand, like opening doors.

“I am more ambidextrous than the average person because I’m forced to use my right hand,” Aeder said.

I love being a lefty, even though I imagine life would be a little less complicated as a lefty. It is something unique; something that not everyone gets to experience in life. If given the option, I wouldn’t become right-handed.

“When I was younger, being a lefty was a mark of the devil. They tried to change me to use my right hand when I was a kid, but they failed,” English teacher Jack Holbrook said. “Now I am even more [of a] lefty than before. I am a proud lefty.”