Struggles For Lefties
by Anna Haas ‘23
A whopping 85-90 percent of the population is right-handed. As expected, this means that the world creates and adjusts to fit the majority. However, this leaves the ten percent of the population who is left-handed at a disadvantage. Though in the minority, left-handed people should not be forced to conform to and settle for things made for right-handed people.
Take Sherwood, for example. Classrooms have an inordinately large amount of right-handed desks. While right-handed students may not blink an eye at this, left-handed students are faced with the reality of less desk space and comfort. Due to the way right-handed desks are set up, left-handed students have no place to rest their arm while writing, a luxury most don’t think about until they don’t have it. Sitting at a right-handed desk as a left-hand person is awkward and uncomfortable and can cause a loss of focus on school work. Timed essays, for one, are much more stressful and unpleasant than they need to be when you are a left-handed person in a right-handed desk. To add insult to injury, lefties don’t always have the option to switch desks either because of assigned seating and all the “normal” desks already being taken.
Another problem left-handed people face constantly is spiral-bound notebooks. Ever try writing left-handed in one of those? It’s not pleasant. Indentations and marks on the arm and hand are a regular occurrence with spiral notebooks as a leftie. Some may ask why lefties then don’t just flip the notebook over to the other side. Problem solved, right? Hate to break it to you, but not really. The binder rings are on the wrong side meaning that there would either be what appeared to be a blank page or upside down writing. In some notebooks, the lines are even off-kilter, making flipping the notebook over more trouble than it’s worth. Of course, there is such a thing as a left-handed notebook. Problem solved now? Nope. A 12-pack of regular spiral-bound notebooks is $19.99. A pack of three left-handed notebooks? $27. A nearly $10 difference for nine less notebooks hardly seems fair or worth it. Discomfort and indentations it is.
Then comes the lack of left-handed scissors. While high schools certainly don’t use scissors as much as elementary schools, there are still times when they are needed. Right-handed scissors are all over the place in schools. Left-handed scissors? Not so much. Cutting with right-handed scissors as a leftie is the epitome of discomfort. Though there has been progress in getting more left-handed scissors in classrooms, there are still plenty of schools where lefties have no choice but to use right-handed scissors.
Now, this isn’t to say that lefties need to be coddled. Left-handed people have coped wonderfully in a world understandably built for their polar opposites. But it does bear questioning why there so few bones thrown to left-handed people, especially when there are exceptions and accommodations for many other groups.