Prejudice, discrimination and disrespect, left-handed individuals have to face all of it right from their childhood. On International Left-Handers’ Day on August 13, Vibes of India breaks the myths and reveals the facts of what it takes to be left-handed. The International Left-Handers Day was first observed in 1976 by Dean R. Campbell, the founder of Left-Handers International Inc., and has been celebrated every year since.
The day to celebrate sinistrality — the medical term for left-handedness — and the strength of having a dominant left hand. Recognising it to be a unique strength instead of an oddity, the day celebrates the left-handers while acknowledging the challenges.
Right from school, while writing in a notebook the ink is rubbed from their hand. It is a Right-hander’s world as only 12% of the global population is left-handed. The notebooks, scissors or certain stringed instruments are designed for right-handed people. Southpaw does come in handy during certain sports such as boxing, tennis, fencing and the beloved sport of India, Cricket.
A few myths and facts are surrounding the mystery of Left-Handers
Myth: Left-Handers are more creative and intelligent
All creative and intelligent people have many things in common; however, being left-handed is not one that is a qualification but a happenstance. As most left-handers would like to believe this myth it is not true according to a study from the University of Texas-Austin. Being more intelligent comes from being a minority in a right-handed world. One needs to have basic problem-solving skills for surviving in the world which fancies left-handers but abandons their needs.
Fact: Right-handed people are afraid of Left-handed people
This condition can take the form of a phobia and is known as Sinistrophobia. Sinistrophobia is defined as a fear of either left-handed people or objects located on the left side. The condition is generally thought to arise as a result of negative past experiences, but can also occur seemingly without reason.
Myth: Left-handers are right-brained
As most right-handed people use the left hemisphere of their brain, it is presumed that the left-handers must be using their right hemisphere more. However, it cannot be further from the truth. 98% of lefties are right-brained but so are 70% lefties.
Fact: Lefties have more sleep-related problems
A small study monitored the rhythmic limb movements of right-handers and left-handers while they slept. Researchers found that 94 percent of left-handed sleepers had limb movements (which can be an indicator of periodic limb movement disorder) compared to just 69 percent of right-handed snoozers.
Myth: Lefties are more likely to be leaders
It is a common misconception based on the fact that our current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and former President, APJ Abdul Kalam were left-handers does navigate this myth but it is a commonality rather than a necessity. Even six of the last 12 US Presidents were left-handed. There is no science to back this belief.
Fact: Lefties are better at certain sports
They are usually good at sports when in a one-on-one face-off. In games like cricket, boxing, fencing and tennis, left-handers often have an edge over their right-handed opponents who are used to playing with right-handed players mostly.
Myth: Lefties are introverted
Another common lore is that left-handed people tend to be more introverted than righties. A 2013 New Zealand study found no differences across any of the five personality measures tested between right-handers and left-handers.
Fact: Lefties may be more likely to experience serious mental health disorders
Among people suffering from mental illness, those with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia are much more likely to be left-handed than those with mood disorders like depression or bipolar disorder, according to a study from Yale University. Researchers studied a small group of individuals from an outpatient psychiatric clinic and found that 40 percent of those with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were left-handed. Researchers are particularly interested in exploring the link between characteristics of psychosis (such as hallucinations or delusions) and handedness; they believe the answer may lie in what part of the brain lefties tend to use more.
1. Left-handers have typing advantages. On a QWERTY keyboard, they can type over 3,000 English words by solely using the left hand. But only around 300 words can be typed with the right hand alone. We’ll notice that the most typed letters are towards the left side of the keyboard.
2. Right and left-handed people deal with tasks and memory in different ways. Left-handers are known to efficiently multitask as they look at the tasks as a whole.
3. In many cultures and countries, being a left-hander is thought to be unnatural. In eastern countries like India or the Middle East, left-handedness is thought to be rude. In the UK, too, left-handed children were once forced to use their right hands.
4. Out of 10,000 people surveyed, only 15 percent of right-handed people were ‘extremely satisfied’ with their sex lives while 86 percent lefties were ‘extremely satisfied’.
Read some people’s experiences with being left-handed in a predominantly right-handed world
Sukhversha Chopra, Soft Skills Trainer
Growing up in the 60s, being a lefty was a curse. I was thrashed as a child both at school and home to stop using my left hand. In time, I learnt to be mixed-handed or ambidextrous in order to conform and avoid beatings. In India I believe the left hand is associated with bodily functions like personal hygiene hence there is a lot of stigma around it being a dominant hand. Often while eating, I was nagged that bhoots (devil or ghost) eat with left. Of course, today I relish my rajma-chawal with my left hand.
I feel that left-handed people are often ignored while designing and developing products and tools. Simple things like bra hooks, scissors, peelers, spiral notebooks, door handles, ignition points in the car can become challenging. We need awareness and more ambidextrous design in order to be inclusive of left-handed people. Most importantly the society needs to get over the stigma attached to left-hand usage.
Sushrut Trivedi, Real Estate Sales Person
First. People react to you very nicely when they found out that you are left-handed. But while daily chores are difficult while dealing in right-handers designed world.
1. Starting the day with pooja and after that prasad…..soon you give your left hand for prasad…..poojari and other people see you in a weird way.
2. While eating with my left hand I have noticed that people surrounded me give a very annoying look and put you in an awkward position.
3. While in classes there is always a challenge to adjust and write as per your comforts ( as all writing tables are right-handed).
4. Swiping cards in shops and store is a challenge.
5. Scissors. Hard to use as it’s not comfortable for left-handers.
6. Computer mouse is not left-handers friendly.
8 Logo /images printed cups, pens are mirror imaged or on the backside, if used by lefties, so the purpose of getting anything printed on a cup and to be used is not fruitful for lefties. Generally, it is printed for right-handers.
9 . bumping elbows during lunch or dinner in a group.
Kimaya Rana, a class 9th student of Zydus School for Excellence, Gujarat.
A. I get looked at like I’m some alien
B. PENCIL. SMUDGES.
C. Ring-binder books.
D. Yes, we hold our pen weirdly. Yes, that bump blister on our finger is because of holding it like that. Yes, it’s different. Yes, it’s comfortable.
E. Computer mouse!? It’s time they make one for us!
Anish Ganpathy is a class 7 student at the Anand Niketan School, Bhadaj, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Well, first people should stop asking left-handers if they are lefty…….
Even after they see us doing something with our left hand, they have a doubt
Why do you still have to clarify?
This article is also written by a fellow lefty who agrees with all of it said above.