Today is International Lefthanders Day! In honor of all things sinister (seriously: one of the definitions of “sinister” is “on the left side.” Look it up), here are some cool facts about left-handedness that you may not know.
About 10 Percent Of People Are Left-Handed, But The Reason Why Remains Elusive
This is one of those things that scientists scratch their heads at: what causes left-handedness, and why is it relatively rare? There have been some studies that have attempted to suss out the reasons, according to Time, but so far, science hasn’t come up with anything conclusive.
A 2013 study suggests that genes may play a part – or at least, it identified some genes that play a role in “left-right asymmetry in the body and brain.” But other studies suggest that which hand will be your dominant hand is more or less random; although if that were true, 50 percent of people would be right-handed and 50 percent would be left-handed. Perhaps Geneticist Clyde Francks, author of a 2007 Oxford University study on genetics and left-handedness, said it best, via BBC News.
“This is really still mysterious.”
Being Left-Handed Has Its Disadvantages, As Any Lefty Will Tell You
There was a time in history when being left-handed could literally cost you your life. Centuries ago, according to The New York Times, being left-handed was seen as being in league with The Devil. And that prejudice may have come from The Bible (or at least, is repeated in The Bible), according to the Lefthanders Day website. For example, in Jesus’ parable about the sheep and the goats, the sheep are placed at God’s right hand and inherit the Kingdom of God, while the goats are placed at God’s left hand and are cast into hell.
And until a couple of generations ago, schools tried to “correct” left-handedness and force left-handed kids to be right-handed.
Those days may be gone, but let’s face it: the modern world favors right-handed people. From the instruments on your car, to kitchen tools you use every day, to classroom supplies that children use, are all designed with right-handed people in mind.
But there are even worse disadvantages to being left-handed, according to Medical Daily. For example, among people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, those with delusional disorders such as schizophrenia are more likely to be left-handed. Similarly, a 2009 Australian study found that kids – especially boys – who are left-handed fare far worse intellectually and developmentally than their right-handed colleagues.
Being Left-Handed Doesn’t Have To Hold You Back
If being left-handed is a disadvantage, try telling that to the current President of the United States: like his predecessors Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and possibly Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama is left-handed.
In fact, if you include Ronald Reagan (his handedness is a matter of dispute), four of the past six presidents have been left-handed. Interestingly, in 1992, voters faced an all-left-handed ticket, as Bill Clinton, GHWB, and Ross Perot were (and still are) all left-handed.
Unfortunately for lefties who like to vote based on which hand their candidate uses, it looks like 2016 is going to have an all-right-handed ticket. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both right-handed (photos of them signing books clearly show them using their right hands). And as for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnsons’s handedness, the internet is woefully short on pictures of him holding a pen, so as of this writing it’s not clear if he’s right-handed or left-handed.
How do you intend to celebrate International Lefthanders Day?
[Image via Elena Stepanova/Shutterstock]