Left-handed people struggle in a right-handed world

The forgotten history of left-handed people in a world dominated by right-handed people.


Alexandra Der Boghosian

The left-handed store in San Francisco is known world wide for their products that are essentials for many left-handed people.

Alexandra Der Boghosian, Website Editor

Although they make up 10 percent of the world’s population, left-handed people are unique. Sophomore Tina Geozalian, who is left handed, loves drawing and playing volleyball. “When drawing, the struggle of being left-handed bothers me a lot, especially with lead and ink smearing on my hand and on the paper,” she said. “With volleyball, the main problem is that there aren’t a lot of people on the team that are lefties, so I can’t ask for help and I have to teach myself.”

Many people, perhaps including noted lefties Angelina Jolie and Bill Gates, go through the same struggles that Geozalian goes through. However, left-handed people are often forgotten. Right-handed scissors, knives and uncomfortable writing desks are some but not all the struggles that lefties go through.

Spanish teacher Julie Ann Melville is a lefty who learned how to use both her left and right hands and feet while growing up. “Anything with my left hand I learned to do with my right hand,” she said. “With cutting paper or kicking a ball, I adapted with using my right hand and foot. A lot of creative students aren’t left handed, but I think that left-handed people think outside the box and have better adaptive skills.”

Alexandra Der Boghosian
The inside of the store has portraits of famous celebrities and historians who are left handed, including Alexander the Great, Justin Bieber and Benjamin Franklin.

School desks present another challenge for lefties. According to Handedness Research Institution, many left-handed students struggle with writing while sitting at a right-handed table. Now some schools don’t have right-handed desks; they have both right and left-handed desks. When most schools only purchased right-handed desks, left-handed students struggled more. Some students would turn the desk around in order to write, while others would just have to bend their arms and write messy. Melville said that when she was younger she would have to turn the desk around in order to write comfortably.

With the struggles left-handed people go through, unique tools are necessary. In San Francisco, there’s a store just for left-handed people. The Left Hand Store is located on Pier 39 and features items including a six piece left-handed kitchen set and left-handed spiral notebooks. The store has a large supply of left-handed pens and they even have T-shirts. Prices for lefty items can be high, however, as a two-pack pen set, for example, is priced at $7.50.

While lefties today have many tools, in the past, if someone was left-handed, they would get slapped on the left hand to make them get used to using their right hand. According to Time Magazine , the word left comes from the original word “lyft,” which in different languages is defined as awkward, weird, incorrect and untrustworthy. Left-handed people were also called “sinister.”

In many countries, left-handers face discrimination for writing with a different hand. According to the Smithsonian, in China and India less than 1 percent of their population is made up of left-handed people.

At Clark, many students and teachers question if the theory that left-handed people are more creative than right-handed is true. Physics teacher Frank Dale, who is left-handed, said that the theory of left-handed people is not true, based upon his beliefs. “I want to believe that the theory is true, but I know it’s not,” he said.

Researcher Stanley Coren conducted experiments on nearly 1,000 men and women by giving them two objects and asking them to come up with a way to combine the two objects together. Another experiment done by Coren, reported by Business Insider, was conducted with people who were given a set of words that they had to categorize. Results showed that left-handed men and women had more advanced thinking than right-handed people.

Alexandra Der Boghosian
Many products that are sold in the store are can openers, candle lighters and peelers.

Many people say that this is the reason left-handed people “think outside the box.” Since most people are not left-handed, left-handers had to think of solutions in order to write comfortably and not have smearing on their paper.

In a right-handed world, lefties are known to be creative, and they go through struggles that few people ever experience. However, Melville says, “I believe that all people are creative, and different. One’s creativity is not based on the hand with which the person writes, it just matters how big your imagination is.”