When I was a kid, anyone NOT right-handed was given the cold shoulder and called any number of names. They were considered non-contributing members of society, present and future. In school I knew of two such kids who were also kind of dyslexic, and who stuttered. The outlook around this subject was different in those days. At that time, of course, I was not aware any of these characteristics had anything to do with each other. This correlation is made today (sometimes), but I was a kid then, and even the adults weren’t any smarter (with regard to southpaws).
Mothers over the years have been known to tie their child’s left hand at his or her side to force the use of the right one. Sometimes not (hurrah). If you were of this left-handed persuasion, consensus was you were lacking (not too bright), and parents felt embarrassed. Luckily, some did not stress out about it. Dumb thinking right? Of course—in hindsight.
It now appears enough parents either didn’t bother, worry or notice their children were different and thank goodness. Have you noticed how many actors, actresses, celebrities are left-handed? How many creative, innovative personalities and leaders of men have been or are southpaws?
More males than females are left-handed. This is a brief and sporadic overview (there are many):Leonard Nimoy Whoopi GoldbergMorgan FreemanMarilyn Monroe Michelangelo
Leonardo da Vinci
If you wish to see more, check this out:
Many more either chose to be, or were, ambidextrous. A few U.S. Presidents in recent memory who fit the lefty category are:
George H.W. Bush
To expand a bit on this subject, I won’t begin to name them all, but other famous personalities or interest are:
Charles (Prince of Wales)
I don’t doubt life is still a struggle for lefties to live in a right-handed world even though manufacturers have seen a market and jumped in to supply their needs.
We’ve heard it said right-handed people use their left brain (I am one of them).
If that is so, then, left handed people must be in their right minds.
April 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm
I’m don’t know whether left-handedness and dyslexia are correlated, but growing up left-handed in a right handed world may well contribute to various problems. I learnt to reverse things in my mind, and e.g. when imitating a gesture will automatically do so in mirror-image. And I knit in the other direction.
Luckily for me, I wasn’t forced to write with the right hand, like my father was – and not even my mother could decipher his writing.
Today that’s getting better, though e.g. most parents and teachers don’t seem to know that there is a “good” way for a left-handed person to write, minimising strain on wrist and posture, smearing etc: not so good, and better.
Thanks for the support!
April 29, 2013 at 9:29 pm
Sure, we all bring our own colour to this world. I started noticing how many artistic people were left-handed, therefore this post.
April 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm
Hmmm, I know a lot, well maybe an exaggeration, of lefties that are not in their right mind. And, certainly, not operating out of their right brain, artistic brain. Interesting post, Tess.
April 29, 2013 at 9:26 pm
I was playing with you all regarding lefties being in their right mind. The movies brought to my attention just how many people really are southpaws.
April 19, 2013 at 10:19 pm
Both of my brothers are left-handed, as was my maternal grandmother…for some reason, both my sister and I are right-handed. I remember my brothers both saying how difficult it was for them in elementary school to try to master writing with their left hands….
Great post…lots to think about.
April 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm
Watch Hollywood stars in the movies. That’s what gave me the idea for the post.
April 20, 2013 at 12:22 am
Even further back left handedness was considered sinister ( left handed in latin) and a sign of evil.
Hang on, my father was left handed….explains everything 🙂
April 29, 2013 at 9:23 pm
Next time you watch movies, pay special attention. That’s what got me thinking. Almost everyone in Hollywood seems to be a lefty.
April 30, 2013 at 6:38 am
Now I am on the look out.
April 20, 2013 at 1:38 am
Around 10% of the population are left-handed, which is quite a significant amount really, obviously it’s very much the minority, but it’s one in ten people, not one in a thousand. So I do find it strange that even though there isn’t the stigma attached to it that there used to be, it is still seen as being quite surprising and rare. I do it myself, I’m right-handed, and when I come across left-handed people I’m always like “Oh, you’re left-handed!”
April 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm
Next time you’re watching a movie, see how many actors / actresses are lefties. I started noticing some time ago how many there actually were, therefore this post.
April 20, 2013 at 3:23 am
I only know one person who is left handed, I wonder where the other 9% in my world is lurking.
April 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm
They say 10% but I was surprised when I began noticing how many actors and actresses are actually left-handed–so many–hard not to notice.
April 20, 2013 at 8:27 am
Good article, Tess! You might be interested to know that Gill is a southpaw! And I too know many other brilliant, creative people who are left-handed and/or dyslexic. Good things times have changed and our thinking with it.
April 29, 2013 at 9:16 pm
I know, eh? A couple of years ago I began noticing how many actors and actresses were lefties and that got me to thinking.
April 20, 2013 at 9:00 am
Brilliant pun 😉
My eldest is ambidextrous – wish it was something I could cultivate 😉
April 29, 2013 at 9:15 pm
My daughter had a strong preference for her left hand but she’s right-handed today. One things she does though is cut her meat with her left hand.
April 20, 2013 at 10:16 am
I am left handed and am surrounded my many others. My little world seems to defy the stats. Honestly, I’m hard pressed to find any certain characteristics of left-handedness. I’m just glad there is no stigma attached these days!
April 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm
Silly, the stigma of the 50s and just regarding south paws–so many silly things…
April 20, 2013 at 12:49 pm
My good friend Carol is left-handed, so she has a favorite spot at the table where she sits, so that she can eat without bumping elbows with the right-handed person next to her. I know that the world, and most scissors, are designed for the convenience of right-handers, and I have read that lefties are more prone to accidents because of that. I have heard of many people, mostly long ago, who were treated very poorly and whose parents couldn’t accept the fact that their child was left-handed. I would hope that has changed.
Very interesting post!
April 20, 2013 at 2:21 pm
This just in from Nae of Nae’s Nest! http://naesnest.me/2013/04/20/article-left-handedness-stumps-science/
April 22, 2013 at 12:31 am
Our 9-year old was left-handed until age 5, when he broke his left arm. He was forced to be a righty until the pins were removed. He grudgingly rightied for another 6 months, until, by freak accident, he broke his right arm and returned to leftdom. Once that healed, I was dismayed that he returned to the right hand with sloppy penmanship. I am tempted to insist he return to the left to see if he can achieve legibility. Great post, Ms. Tess!
April 22, 2013 at 5:18 am
Gone are the days when left-handed children were forced to be right-handed, thankfully. I wonder if the use of the word ‘right’ in this and other contexts means something?
April 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm
I’m a lefty:). Fortunately, I wasn’t forced to use my right hand. I do remember those desks with the writing table on the right though–they’re all over the university and a royal pain in the arse.
April 29, 2013 at 8:58 pm
All over the university too? I guess I hadn’t thought about education in the future. Drat.
April 26, 2013 at 12:57 am
I’m a proud leftie. And just to let you know how really really important your left hand is…. IF your happen to loose your left hand (heaven forbid) your right hand would now be left! Think about it. Enjoy always, T
April 29, 2013 at 8:51 pm
Ha, Tricia, you are a wizard with words. Nice to see you. Hear you’ve been busy. GOOD for you.