Left-handed people face underrepresentation, struggles in society

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Treasure Tia/flickr

As shown here, pencil lead often gets onto the side of lefties’ hands as they write, which is just one of the many struggles they encounter daily.

Sarah Levenson, Editor-in-Chief

People use their hands constantly to help them complete everyday tasks. While some do not think twice about which specific hand they use to perform a function, many left-handed individuals are frequently reminded of their rareness because they experience countless unique struggles on a daily basis. 

According to the Better Health Channel, about 10% of the population, or one in 10 people, favor their left hand. Lefties are a minority group, and their specific struggles are underrepresented throughout many societies. While International Left-Handers Day is recognized yearly on Aug. 13, many nations and cultures are dismissive of left-handedness. 

Left-handedness is viewed as a bad quality in foreign countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. For example, it is perceived as a “rude” behavior to eat using your left hand in these countries, as it is used only for tasks deemed “unclean.” According to The Print, left-handedness is considered a bad omen in India. Therefore, left-handers there are forbidden from performing religious ceremonies. 

Aside from dealing with cultural disdain, left-handers are often bothered by things that are specifically designed for right-handed people. 

“I do think lefties are underrepresented. It seems like all things are designed for right-handed people, like scissors, desks and other stuff,” senior and left-hander Carter Huggins said.

Several of these problems arise in schools, and left-handed students often get behind in their classes because of the added challenges they have using equipment that is not meant for them. 

“Lots of stuff used in science and that we use in physics class are designed for right-handed people, so it is always annoying being behind in class because I have to adapt how to use the equipment,” Huggins said. 

One of the biggest annoyances for lefties is the constant smearing of anything they write. When writing in pencil, the side of their left hand rubs against their paper and becomes gray from the pencil lead. Additionally, the act of writing in a spiral notebook or binder presents a challenge to lefties, as their hand has to rest on and work around the rings. 

Also, lefties struggle when it comes to finding and using scissors that work for them, as places like schools and stores rarely carry left-handed scissors. When lefties are unable to locate left-handed scissors, they often have to crease and tear papers rather than cutting them because they have difficulty cutting along a straight line when using right-handed scissors. Many lefties are even forced to purchase their own pair of left-handed scissors in order to always be prepared. 

“The main thing that annoys me [about being left-handed] has to be scissors. Schools never have lefty scissors, and if I wanted to buy my own, they are impossible to find,” senior and left-hander Olivia Evans said. 

Bumping elbows with righties at tables, shaking hands, swiping credit cards, writing with pens attached on the right and reading tape measures are just some of the other impediments left-handed individuals deal with every day. Overall, when it comes to being adequately represented in society, lefties face a handful of struggles that righties simply do not experience.