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Left-Handers in Society



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purpose of page | employers | product design | misc comments
intro | basic problems | intrinsic bias | socio-cultural bias
parents | educators | the school desk plague
tips: music, sports, daily life
index & references
archival page
comment form


hand preference questionnaire
"the world of sinistral subterfuge"
what handedness has to do with brain lateralization

best with Netscape Navigator 3+ | author & editor: M.K. Holder, Ph.D.

          P R O D U C T  D E S I G N    &    M I S C.



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The bottom line: clear a healthy profit. Taking care of your workers helps you achieve maximum profit: helping them function at maximum efficency and keeping them free from injury are basic strategies for good business. Talk to your employees, listen to them, find ways you can work together to improve the work environment for left-handers and ambidextrals.

Where can you buy left-handed equipment? A left-hander on-line maintains a long list of resources.


b a d  e x p e r i e n c e s . . .

"My husband has a problem at his job. He is being discriminated when he can't keep up on a [manufacturing] machine. He has been written up for not keeping up with the [equipment]. Is there any way to give him some help in dealing with this? He is getting very depressed. He has been trying to explain that some parts are set up for right-handed people, but they don't seem to understand. I'm getting very concerned. I don't want him to lose his job."
Anonymous, USA

I would be pleased to discuss this directly with you, if you will provide your e-mail address.
One of the reasons for this page is to inform employers of the difficulties, dangers, and sometimes unreasonable demands placed on left-handers who must work with right-handed equipment. If speed of performance is already an issue, and the explanation of intrinsic mechanical bias has already been broached and ignored, you might consider obtaining a formal letter from a handedness expert and/or a kinesiologist, to help lend further support to the mechanical bias explanation. If the employer could be timed on this equipment, using his/her non-dominant hand, the problem of bias might quickly be made relevant! I advocate making employers aware of these problems, with the hope that reasonable people can find solutions and compromises to problems. However, if all else fails, there is always legal recourse. Discrimination against left-handedness is no different from discrimination based upon ethnicity, gender, or religion. The American Civil Liberties Union might be able to offer some advice. Coren (1992) cites a legal case in which the plantiff was injured by a hazardous machine part. In Campo vs. Scofield (1950) the court ruled that a "concealed danger" or "latent defect" is grounds for establishing liability. Under certain circumstances one might argue that right-handed bias in machinery is a source of concealed danger. There may also be other legal precedents of which I am unaware.
M.K. Holder
"There have been cases in military and police units where left-handed soldiers and officers have been forced to wear their service weapons on the incorrect side. This obviously puts them at increased risk. [see also "firearms"]"
Jim, USA

What a truly bad idea. If you know for certain that this is occuring in a specific police department or military unit, let's post a contact NAME and ADDRESS on this page, so that concerned citizens may send letters suggesting that officers could serve us better with their more skilled hand! This is a serious yet simple problem that might be corrected by educating the responsible authorities, reinforced with public/media outcry.
M.K. Holder

"In discussing being left-handed with my co-worker, he mentioned that the military was very poor in relation to tools, equipment and especially, weapons. They are all built and designed for right-handed folks."
John Bruce, Maui, Hawaii, USA

"I have found that in my brief work experiences, all of my employers are biased towards righties. My encounters with computer specialists have been horrible, since they give me grief about things such as changing the mouse and rearranging the desk. It would be really nice if I could function in a way that is best for me! "
Anonymous, USA

"I am a left-handed secretary. I can adapt to keyboards and use a mouse on the left or right hand side, but in my line of work employers expect employees to conform painfully. They sometimes react negatively to me being left-handed because when I am typing copy has to be place on a different side of the keyboard for me to read it. I have been told that I "look awkward" writing with my left hand. It would be nice to be left-handed in a field where it is seen as a plus, such as music, art or writing, but even left-handers have to earn a living. Bosses, be nice to your left-handed secretaries. If you need a creative problem-solver, look no further than a left-handed secretary."
Anonymous, IRELAND

Among knowledgeable and reasonable people, it is your boss who appears socially "awkward".
M.K. Holder

"I would like to echo the comment about the bias in a computer work environment. When I asked my desk to be switched around to accommodate my left-handedness, the Operations Dept. thought I was nuts, but I felt off balance with the way it had been configured. Also, we just got brand new PCs, complete with an ergonomically designed Microsoft mouse that is completely disfiguring to a leftie -- I got cramps within the first hour! Our kindly Computer Support Manager tried to order a leftie mouse for me, only to be told that they aren't made anymore. That is really disappointing, because it indicates that my fellow lefties are not insisting on equality in tools. So righties get better and better equipment while we are "left" to try and cope with it once again."
Sharon S., USA


a d v i c e . . .
For practical advice for specific problems, check the Lefty Tips page or the index.

"Please accommodate your left-handed employees, even if it is inconvenient for you. My very first job as a teen-ager was at McDonald's. The manager wouldn't let me use the left-handed fry-scoop because we would then have another utensil to wash; then I was berated for not working quickly enough. I even burned myself with the hot french fry grease. By forcing lefties to work as a right-handed person would, you cause awkwardness that can be dangerous, frustrating."
TJ Jerig, USA

"Office equip is notoriously set up with the rightie in mind. Single Pedestal desks with drawers on the right, Computer number pads on the right side of the keyboard, file cabinets that open with the the thumb tabs (guess where?) on the right, and a multitude of buttons, switches and general use accessories all dedicated to the fulfillment of use by the uniform code of organizational righties. The biggest gripe is when I do my own filing and the office help cringes at the results. I just can't seem to do anything right (get it!) Let's see more office more catalogs, buyers, human resource personnel, and Envio-Health-Safety teams consider the Ergo and safety of the unseen opportunity that just may offer more productivity, improve safety, and simply cater to a few whims of the lefty that slow the on-looking hecklers a bit!"
Aaron Irwin, USA

"I've asked employers to have my desk or phone line moved so that the right- handed phone/ calculator is on the left side of my desk; if I have to use a spiral binder I use it from the back (left-handed versions are hard to find & too expensive)..."
Sue Beron, Missoula, MT, USA

g o o d  e x p e r i e n c e s . . .
"I'm a systems analyst for a major American railroad. Whenever I am forced to move to a new cubicle, I always insist one that is set up for a left-hander, no matter how difficult it can be to arrange. Anyone who comes in and wishes to use my computer freaks when they see the mouse and pad on the left side, but I make them keep it there. The interesting thing is that I have a similar arrangement at home, but my right-handed wife and ambidextrous four-year-old have learned to adjust to it -- in fact, my wife says she wouldn't feel comfortable using it in a right-handed fashion."
J.S. Morris, USA

"I have found that some employers are sympathetic to us "leftys". The grocery store chain that I currently work for actually thought about installing left-handed cash registers with the keyboard and drawers on the left side. They eventually decided it would be too costly but I thought that it was encouraging that they even thought about it."
Jeremy, USA

"As a left-handed carpenter, I don't know how many boards I've cut wrong because I had to use a right-handed tape measure. However, my boss took advantage of my left-handedness and gave me the left-handed nailing jobs. One of the more interesting books I've discovered on the subject is Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan."
Jim Gregory, Colorado, USA

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Design engineers and manufacturers, a substantial percentage of the population is left-handed; if you fail to design products for them, you are truly missing a lucrative and sustainable marketing opportunity.
Service sector managers, you would not believe how some very simple (and usually inexpensive) changes could gain the loyality of left-handed customers and clients.
Viewers, add your
comments to manufacturers with ideas for product design, and to the service sector with specific suggestions for improving their service for left-handed clients and customers. (Please do not ask where to locate a specific left-handed item; a left-hander on-line maintains a long list of retailers for left-handed merchandise and equipment (thanks Janis); you may refer to this in your search for items.

s e r v i c e   s e c t o r
"I can not find a left-handed mouse. Logitech no longer makes one. I could really use a left-handed keyboard. At least I think I could. I've never had one. When I first asked for a left- handed mouse, the young man waiting on me said I could get used to a right-handed mouse. I told him to send back all the right-handed mice and all you right-handed people could get a left-handed one and just get used to it."
Kaye Osburn, USA

"Recently, while remodeling our kitchen, I found out that the consumer that is left-handed must be more demanding when purchasing their appliances. The saleperson made it as difficult as possible on my insistance for a left-hand counter-top stove. I don't like being demanding, but I was made to feel like I had to settle for what was offered and then pay for something I really did not want. I finally have the kitchen layout for a left-hander. Now all I have to do is be home long enough to use the kitchen."
TuttleD, Kokomo, Indiana, USA

"United Parcel Service recently offered a book to their customers to allow for package entry. Except for writing down the weight of the package, this book requires the user to enter the information all within 2.5 inches of the spine. Of course the spine is on the left side of the book. This has caused some problems, but the cure that I have found (so far) is to turn the book upside down and write in the information (upside down). I am expecting a call from UPS any day now. I am as mad as hell that they did this."
David C. Schmarder

"After a lifetime of wrestling with objects such as right-handed cheque books and cabcharge books I now turn them upside down and re-edit the format as necessary to suit my requirements. When comment is made I reply that I will use them in the conventional (to right-handers) when I am supplied with left-handed books. I'm still waiting for user friendly books."
Lindsay Hope, South Australia

"Attention to all the banks of the world that still have pens chained to the righty side of the teller windows! I, as well as many lefties, have a hard time writing with these pens, especially, since most tellers are reluctant to let us borrow their unchained pens. It may seem trivial to you but after waiting in line for my entire lunch break, the last thing I want to do is wrestle with a pen and chain."
Anonymous, USA


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"Weed whackers, I have one by Toro, are notorious for an unprotected area that will cut up the legs of left-handers. The only way I know of is to wear pants and socks that are HEAVY enough to stop the debris that flies up on you legs. Right now I have scars in various stages of healing due to this."
Carolyn Meehan, USA

"Please stop charging us extra for left-handed items!"
Anonymous, USA

"We need the same things as the right-handed people do. But at the same price. Scissors, rulers, mugs, computer keyboards, anything..."
Anonymous, PUERTO RICO

"Please make sporting equipment for left-handed people. It is really hard to find golf equipment, of the same quality as made for right-handed people, in either component parts or pre-made sets."
Steven R. Filbert, USA

"I am a HVAC tech and I would like to see lefty power tools, especially hand saws. Using them is dangerous and you would not belive the number of left-handers in my field and other related fields"
Mike Bussy, USA

"The product I, as a left-hander, have found most dangerous is the typical portable drill with a power-lock button. If the bit jams, the handle of the drill rotates into my hand and locks the power on. By the time I can react, I usually have a wrenched wrist, a broken bit, and a damaged work piece. This problem has a simple solution: Recess the button."
Gary Griffin, USA

"I have had major problems with soup and punch ladles, can openers, knives, ice cream scoops, etc. In elementary school when I worked in the lunchroom I could never serve the mashed potatoes because this required using one of the "right-handed" scoops. I am so grateful for stores that sell left-handed supplies; I just wish they were more accessible. Why can't you run to Wal-Mart and buy a lefty ruler with a righty ruler? I was very lucky to find a store that sells spiral notebooks bound on the right side. Now I want a day planner. Come on, Franklin Quest!!!"
Regan Bryan, California, USA

"My current pet hate is computer drawing programs which have the drawing tools angled "/", and no way of changing them to "\". This makes accurate drawing very difficult. Microsoft has introduced this laterality in the Windows 95 Paint program. I have written to JASC about PaintShopPro, but this problem applies to all programs. At least 10% of their customers are lefties.... And why are touchballs always on the right side of keyboards and laptops? "
Fran Myers, AUSTRALIA

"I'm a computer programmer, and I have problems with the right-handed computer keyboard. I'd love to have a keypad on the left instead of the right, like Apple used to make, only for a PC. I have found that an Alps Glidepoint mouse is useful for taking some of the load off the right hand, but arrow keys would be even nicer."
Scott Helmke, USA

"Why aren't there more computers out there geared toward the the left-hander? The disks go in on the right side, the numbers that are of to the side of the main keyboard are located on the right-hand side, and even the arrow keys are located on the right-hand side... The left-hander needs the keyboard to be rearranged to accommodate the left-handed person for comfort."
Anonymous, USA

"Computer joysticks should be left-handed as well as right-handed or like reversable."
Anonymous, USA

"If 10% of the population is left-handed then why aren't 10% of products manufactured left-handed. I'm 14 and all my life I've had to purchase some left-handed products for much more if they even have them. Baseball gloves, Batting Gloves, golf clubs, rifles, shotguns, notebooks, computer equipment, knives, and fishing equipment. I don't use or have all of these but what if I want them. When I was young, my grandfather used to tell me I was special because I was left-handed. In the military he was forced to use his right hand. In school if people say anything to me I say a few choice expletives and continue smearing my hand in the ink."
AVW, Mathews, VA, USA

"Don't forget about firearms, few of which can be operated well by left-hand, left-eye dominant persons. Even many that are proffered as "ambidextrous" in operation still eject hot gas, particles, and hot brass or shells into your face or across your line of sight. One manufacturer (Ruger) takes positive steps to supply lefties with a good selection of sporting arms -- they even feature them in advertisements! Most, however, dismiss us as insignificant -- something they wouldn't dare do to other minorities! [see also "military & police job discrimination"]"
Jim, USA

"My only wish is that manufacturers provide better tooling for lefties. I have nearly 20 years in electronics assembly, and alot of businesses just now are getting ergonomically correct. Proper tools for the job and employee's abilities are key here. People need to recognize the creative inspiration that most lefties have to express to feel valued and appreciated. I feel strongly that way myself."
J. Basta, Rochester, NY, USA

"I would like my comments brought to the attention of educators who teach ten-key adding machines and to manufacturers of said machines. I'm a left-hander who has been taking a Business Math class. Most of the semester has been okay. But I absolutely hate taking the ten-key tests that we are required to do! The ten-key instruction book barely mentions lefties, and does not give us any special guidance for the machine (which I am in need of -- my grades for the ten-key tests stink!) My name is Gail Anderson and my e-mail address is: anders1@hub.ofthe.net   Feel free to e-mail me."
Gail Anderson, USA

"This is about spiral notebooks, planners, etc. I like them but since I'm a lefty, I have to bend my hand in such a form that the wrist is at the spiral itself, so my hand can get past it. Then I have to somehow bend what's left of my hand so make something legible. I think that you could make a part of your line of writing supplies open on the right because it truly is uncomfortable, and left-handers, though a minority, are very much existant."
Delaina, MONTE CARLO

"I would like to make a suggestion for desk manufacturers. I am 12 years old and in junior high. I can't stand using the desks for they are right-handed desks with the bar on the right I would really like you to make a leftie desk with the bar on the left side. It is a real pain to have to turn myself so my arm is on the desk instead of hanging off into the open air. Please Please Please Please consider making one. Thank you and please consider it."
Octospider, USA

"I recently was going to the beach and while some friends and I had stopped into a sporting goods store I saw a really cool looking Nerf football that had fins on the back to give you that perfect spiral. I bought it, took it outside to throw around the parking lot with my two righty friends and I, who can normally throw a pretty good spiral could barely get it to them whereas they were throwing it perfectly. At closer inspection I found that it only spiraled in the direction which a right-hander could throw. Needless to say I took the thing back and got my money back. Bad idea Nerf."
Greg Greene, USA (living in Trinidad)

"I am a 34-year-old woman that has always been strongly left-handed. For most of my life this has not been a real problem for me, although it did make me do certain things more clumisily, making me fair game for a lot of teasing. It is only now that I am a bit older that I begin to realize how much extra hassle I have to go through just to get to the where a right-hander would start to do a project. I have to spend a certain amount of time just figuring out how best to use the tool I need without injuring myself. Looking back on my life I realize that a lot of my "clutziness" came from never, ever using a tool or implement designed for people like me."
Nancy, USA

"Being left-handed has only posed a problem for me when I was a kid and wanted to play baseball and all that was available was right-handed gloves. I throw left, bat right -- no big deal but was a little frustrating. I have realized that being a woman also poses some significant problems, especially in the kitchen. I would love to have left-handed pots, pans, egg beaters, the whole lot and a left-handed mixer (the bowl and the switches face left instead of having to turn the machine around. Also, left-handed people are incredibly creative, intuitive and caring. Wish the rest of the world would respect us."
Anonymous

"I am left-handed and also blind. It is impossible to find watches, rulers, and other items adapted for my disability and for my handedness at the same time. In fact, I have been able to find no items for disabled persons that are also for use with the left hand. My suggestion is that you make a Braille ruler or a fat spoon that eases the pain of eating with an arthritic left hand, and place the item in a catalogue for disabled persons (we're not used to finding adapted items sold "in the real world"). If they sell, try adapting other acsessable items for left-handed users."
Alyson Perry, USA

"I am left-handed and I wear my watch on my right wrist. Is it *THAT* difficult to make a watch, that is operable by a left-handed individual without removing it from the wrist? Analog watches have the set-screw on the right side -- not only must I remove it from my wrist to set it, but I now bear a permanent scar and callous on my right forearm from where the set-screw constantly rubs and irritates my wrist. Digital watches fare only slightly better on a left-handed scale of usefulness."
A. Downey, USA

"There is an absolute pausity of left-handed surgical instruments availiable..."
Patrick Flynn D.V.M., USA

"I am from Canada and would just like to let all lefties out there that they are not alone. I would like to mention the incovenience of erasable pens. The erasable ink is also very smudgable. It gets all over my hand and my paper. Tilting the page, writing below the line and using loose-leaf are some suggestions for this problem."
S.W., CANADA

"In these days of diversity and sensititity to different groups why has virtually nothing been done by manufacterers to accomodate left handed-people? We comprise approximately 11% of America's population. However, virtually nothing has been done by manufacturers from everything from firearms to ice cream scoops to manufacture left-handed items. They could count on us to purchase these items if they made them."
Anonymous, USA

"How about some left-handed photo equipment -- specifically, cameras with the shutter and the controls on the left side of the camera, tripods which can be adjusted from the left (without standing in front of the camera) and left-handed camera mounting brackets with a cable release on the left side? I've been a professional portrait photographer for 17 years, and have always thought my job would be much easier with such devices."
Michael J. Murphy, USA

"The past 40+ years I've had to find kitchen, educational, office equiment, or woodworking tools that accomodate a left-handed woman. Not easy, as many of you know. When it comes to power tools though, manufacturers just don't have a clue. However, I just bought a Porter Cable circular saw for less than $100 & it has the blade on the left side! The controls are still awkward, but the business end is in the "right" place. There were other brands that had the blade on left, but the price was high & the grip was not good for me."
Sue Beron, Missoula, MT, USA

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Although this forum is intended to provide information / suggestions for the target groups of parents, educators, employers, manufacturers, and service providers, some just want to comment generally on being left-handed. Due to size limitations, extraneous comments are discouraged.

c o m m e n t s . . .

"No one really knows what discrimination is unless they are left-handed. Just look around. Every appliance is geared for right-handers. The reason most countries chose left hand drive for automobiles was for the convenience of right-handers to shift gears. Apparently even God is prejudiced as the Bible refers to "The right hand of God" to be the good side. This prejudice goes from womb to tomb. The sad part is that most people don't even realize that this prejudice exists. Unless you are left-handed, that is."
WRH, USA

"The best advantage to being left-handed is using drive up ATM's, Fast Food and Banks. The downside is everyone expects you to be creative and musically-inclined just because you're left-handed."
Peter Mendall, USA

"GREAT SITE! I do a morning talk show on KSL-1160 AM, Salt Lake City Utah, and we will discuss the information you have so generously provided to us, tomorrow (Aug 13) on the air. Sites like yours are WHY the INTERNET is GREAT!....sincerely,
Chere Wood, USA (Chere.Wood@KSL.com)

(13 August is International Left-Hander's Day) Thanks for spreading the word on-air, Chere; better communication helps debunk myths and prejudices against left-handedness, and increase awareness and understanding among non-left-handers.
M.K. Holder

"I am a very unusual left-hander. I am left-handed, right dominant. I eat and write left-handed, but do most everything else right-handed. I can play tennis and racquet ball right- or left-handed but can't even hold a pair of scissors correctly in my left hand... I can write backwards -- mirror image of left-handed writing. I can also write upside down and upside down and backwards. I can also write on a chalk board with each hand and have it come out mirror image with the other. Is there anyone else like me out there? It comes naturally to me but some of the things require some thought process and/or practice. I write backwards as fast as I can write forwards. I even had the handwriting analyzed and the degree of slant and flair was so close you couldn't tell. If you read my notes in the mirror it is like I wrote in the "regular" way."
Elaine Borden, USA

"Searching for left-handed buildings!"
Michael Baxter, AUSTRALIA

"school desks at college. simiautomatic guns spit the hot shell out on your arm. verner callibers, micrometers, mills, laythes. drafting machines."
Mike Chaney, USA

"I would like to object in the way that I, as a LEFT-HANDED individual, am being refered to as a "non-right hander.". That has turned my positive attribute of left-handedness into a negative attribute. I am a LEFTY and PROUD of it!"
Jennifer, USA

The term "non-right-hander" is not indented as a slur, rather a concise way to say "left-handers and ambidextrals". For those researchers that analyze handedness data by grouping left-handers and ambidextrals together, this is a convenient label. Nonetheless, I agree with you, and only use the term "non-right-handers" on my web pages when I wish to imply a right-biased perspective. (I also employ the term "non-left-hander" for the same effect.)
M.K. Holder

"Hello from a "righty". Actually, I have no comment, but I do have a basic question. A person I met recently, who is left-handed, INSIST that all left-handed people are overall more intelligent and talented than righties. I'd like to argue back but I'm not quite sure what to say. Any comment?"
Jeff Barbera, USA

You might tell your friend that no generalization that broad is correct or convincing. Rather, this is how predjudice is born. ALL of any group (lefties / tall people / Americans / etc.) are made up of individual people, who vary considerably in their talents, abilities, personality traits, intelligence, etc. The range of diversity among left-handers, as among any other group you might name, is staggering.
M.K. Holder

"This is a beautiful website and filled with wonderful information, however trying to read it with the chosen background and text size is a chore even for a southpaw."
Eric Herren, USA

My pages are designed to work best with Netscape Navigator 3. You can reset your default text and background colors (and type size) in your browser Options menu. I prefer not to change my format because it looks swell for the rest of us!
M.K. Holder
"There was nothing more exciting when I was in boot camp in the army, experiecing my first encounters with the rifles that ejected the shell casings directly over my right ear, as I was also sighting with my left eye. I was the black face recruit, with black powder forming interesting patterns."
J. Lyons, California, USA

"I was wondering if you know of any left-hand scholarships for college students majoring in computer science and mathematics. Please write me at: 712 S. Caswell Avenue, Compton, CA 90220.
Tamanu Lowkie, USA

I do not know of any scholarships for left-handers, but will post this in case others might help you.
M.K. Holder

"I feel sorry for exclusively right-handed people. They are truly limited in comparison to the person who is ambidextrous and tending toward left-handedness. Left handers know another world that the right-hander can only guess at and appear incapable of appreciating with their most common attribute of ignorance when they meet left-handers. Consequently their majority rule practices make them miss out on the need for sensitivity in this world."
Victor Fletcher, CANADA (zpflet@sultech.com)

"Left-handedness is not a handicap, things in life are tough, but things in life are tough for many people, by treating left-handedness like a problem, you have said that it is a handicap, not just something that makes you unique. I've never had any problems with being left-handed, sometimes things get annoying, but you find a different way to do it and it works out fine. Complaining won't solve anything, and many of these posts seem to have been complaining."
Becky Anne Christensen, Fresno, CA, USA

"My comments are directed towards the creator of this page. Though I am a left-handed (slightly ambidextrous) individual, I, for the most part, have no idea what you're talking about when you speak of all these biases in society. Scissors are meant to be used by right-handed inidividuals? What? I've been using scissors with my left hand since the age of three and I have yet to encounter any problems in using them. A rotary-dial phone is hard for left-handers to use? What in the world are you talking about? *Calculators and push-button phones?!* Might the left-to-right array have more to do with the fact that most people read left to right than that most people are right-handed?
     I have encountered some difficulties as a result of being left-handed -- yes, drills are hard for me to use, and yes, I had trouble learning to work the gear shift on my car. But to suggest that the designs of clocks and telephones require redress in the interest of left-handers is, in my opinion, absurd."
Yoss, USA

I do not advocate the redesign of clocks or telephones. Congratulations on your successful use of scissors; I presume you have not read other comments on this page related to scissor or calculator use? In my opening comments I noted that problems associated with being left-handed in a right-biased society range from mild annoyance (your experience) to serious life-long problems (other's experience); the purpose of this page is to help right-handers appreciate the difficulties and annoyances that left-handers face (especially children), and to offer simple coping strategies so that a few folks might avoid some of the more serious problems that are easily prevented armed with accurate information.
M.K. Holder

"I hate how society sees us left-hander's. The people at my school see us as the odd ones out. Why? Sure, I have a few of the "lefty" traits (namely illegible handwriting), but I make do. I don't see many right-handers able to use a mouse AND drink at the same time."
Anonymous

"I just wanted to say that I don't understand why bad handwriting is considered to be a left-handed problem. I have plenty of right-handed friends with atrocious writing, and I, a lefty, have completely legible and even pretty handwriting."
Amanda P., USA

"The way that I pick up a telephone eventually coils the cord, and my mother always made a big deal about where I was to sit at the table even though I used the utensils in the same hand as hers. Society has so many self interest groups yet so little is directed at the plight of the left-hander. I am not awkward, have good handwriting, etc. yet no one thought about the soup ladle or the potato peeler. It's nice to be recognized as special finally and not odd."
S. Symes, CANADA

"I am 16 and sure wish I had found this place a long, long time ago. I went through elementary school with teachers that would draw slanted lines on a piece of paper to which I was to write along. The only thing was I couldn't get my hand to slant towards the right.... I thought until now that I was simply strange for I have a hard time telling left from right and recently during my driving exam I was asked to turn right and actually turned left.... I am a figure skater and... When I was little I wanted to jump the other way but my coach had no idea how to teach me and so I learned how to jump to my left.... I...have trouble using a sewing machine as I want to sit behind the sewing machine to sew. My mother will not let me do this as she says it is wrong and I will probably break the sewing machine (I think she is right). Why are left-handed scissors so expensive? I have had the same scissors since kindergarten as my mother said never to loose then as they are expensive. My brother who is right-handed would get a new pair of scissors every September...."
MAM, Kitimat, British Columbia, CANADA

Please keep your comments short; long comments will be edited for space.

"You need something on handedness in primates."
Anonymous, USA

My research considers "handedness" across the Order Primates (which includes humans, monkeys and apes). I have not provided information on non-human hand preferences on-line (nor much on human handedness) because, like human handedness research, the field is controversial, with much disagreement among investigators. Although I have my own results and theories, I think it best not to post contradictory theories and findings for public consumption, for it can generate confusion and misinformation in the public press, when the goal of my websites is to offer accurate information. As with any topic, I recommend the best way to delve further into it is to do a little library research. (See also my comments on the Scientific American Ask the Experts page.)
M.K. Holder
"Well not to seem critical but, is that a right hand on the front of this web page? It just stuck out and I wanted to know if it was meant to be like that."
Essope, USA

The icon for this page is the palm print made by inked a LEFT hand.
M.K. Holder

"I am a lefty, have been paid to do calligraphy (bad handwriting - the myth!), and have adapted to this right-handed world fairly well. Other than scissors and my mouse, I can use "regular" items. I preferred to switch the mouse on my computer to "lefty" as it is more comfortable for me, and lefty scissors just make more sense. You are cutting on the side you SEE rather than looking OVER the scissors themselves.
       I feel that the reason some of "us" feel we are brighter than non-lefties, is that we HAVE adapted, and this need to overcome certain obstacles (without doing it consciously half the time) has enabled us to view problems from totally different angles.
       I am a senior citizen and still get upset when I think of those college seats (I used to use TWO)..."
Alice, NY, USA

m o r e   m i s c.  c o m m e n t s




p u r p o s e  o f   p a g e
p u r p o s e  o f   p a g e
r a i s o n  d' ê t r e

The objective of this website is to communicate accurate information and simple coping strategies pertainent to left-handers living in a right-biased society.
The author is a biological anthropologist who does primary research into handedness. This site is collaboratively built, incorporating comments from left-handers
worldwide. I ask that comments be directed to target groups (for this page, employers, manufacturers, design engineers, and the service sector), so that right-handers can have a better appreciation of the problems encountered by their left-handed co-workers, employees, customers, and clients.
Employees, if your supervisor fails to understand your situation, give him/her this URL and ask them to read it:

http://www.indiana.edu/~primate/lspeak3.html
For some simple solutions to everyday problems, check out the Lefty Tips page.


speedo textsurfer, eh?

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purpose of page | employers | product design | misc comments
intro | basic problems | intrinsic bias | socio-cultural bias
parents | educators | the school desk plague
tips: music, sports, daily life
index & references
archival page
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hand preference questionnaire
"the world of sinistral subterfuge"
what handedness has to do with brain lateralization

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Copyright © 1996-2005 M.K. Holder. Content may not be reproduced without prior written permission.
All comments printed herein are comprised of informed and voluntary contributions to this page (http://www.indiana.edu/~primate/lspeak.html).

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NOTE:  Unsolicted mail is answered once a month. Please do not ask for help with homework, see instead my online Research Guide or or this page's bibliography


http://www.indiana.edu/~primate/lspeak3.html
LAST UPDATE:  19 January 1998