Opinion | Left-handed in a right-handed world

Brian Nguyen

By Marykate Green, Columnist

Left-handed people struggle to do some basic, everyday things that right-handed people take for granted.

Let’s go through a day in your life if you were left-handed. One of the first things you do in the morning is get dressed. Wearing jeans seems like a simple choice until you realize you have to fight with your zipper all day — the flap covers the left side of it, making it a breeze for right-handers but a struggle for lefties.

After the taxing decision of choosing what pants to wear, you then go to drink your morning coffee. You decide to use the brand new mug your mom got you — but the funny joke on the inside of the rim is only visible if you hold the mug with your right hand.

While drinking from the not-funny mug, you then go to get your breakfast ingredients from the refrigerator, and BAM! You hit yourself with the door with a hinge on the right side and spill your hot coffee on yourself. You then get in your car to go to work and realize you have to shift gears with your non-dominant hand.

You can finally sit at your desk and get to work. Unfortunately, your mouse is wired to the right side of the computer, so it looks like you’re using your non-dominant hand again. Your boss comes in and asks you to cut some papers and hands you scissors. You go to use them only to discover they’re made for right-handed people, and it’s a struggle to cut.

You return home to relax and decide to play the guitar. But it seems you forgot your guitar is in the shop and your significant other only has a right-handed guitar. You give up.

Many of these everyday tasks are done without thought for those of us who are right-handed, and we take it for granted. The needs of left-handed people are not taken into account at a young age. Starting in kindergarten, we teach children to cut with right-handed scissors. Left-handed people shouldn’t have to use special-order scissors or mugs that work for them the way they’re supposed to.

As students, there’s even an issue with the desks we have to use every day. In some lecture halls, such as Lincoln Hall Theater and Foellinger Auditorium — the majority of seats have a movable desktop that comes from the right. Right-handed students have no issue using them, but for left-handed students, they have to hope a left-handed desk is available, reach across themselves or use the desk for the hopefully empty seat to the left of them.

All throughout history, right-handedness has been institutionalized — such as when nuns in Catholic schools were allowed to hit students on the knuckles if they attempted to write with their left hand — but I think we should be celebrating these differences and start to think of ways to be more lefty-inclusive.

Marykate is a sophomore in DGS. 

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