» Left or Right Handed?

This absolute doll of a little girl is Abby. She is the daughter of one of my fellow Banana Factory artists, Angie Snyder-Lande who also happened to take this picture. Abby is always being encouraged by her Mom to paint and draw and I can’t imagine a better way to grow up than being surrounded by art and creativity in general. I noticed in this picture that Abby is holding the pencil in her left hand, so I’m only guessing she’s a lefty. When I was her age in the early 70’s, children were discouraged from writing with their left and were often forced to use their right as their dominant hand. As I started to dig around the internet trying to find out why this happened, I came across this article On the Left Hand, There Are No Easy Answers on the New York Times website which states:

“Over the centuries, left-handers have been accused of criminality and dealings with the devil, and children have been subjected to “re-education.” In recent years the stigma has largely vanished; among other things, four of our last seven presidents — Ford, the elder Bush, Clinton, Obama — have been left-handed.”

Are you a lefty? Were you ever taught to use your right hand? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Oh, and check out this article on left-handed fountain pen writers and see what type of a writer you are.

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Posted on November 6th, 2012 by Stephanie
Filed in: Editorial
Tagged: ,, , , , ,


In the 70s you were discouraged from writing left-handed? Wow, I was her age in the 60s and never had it come up! I certainly believe you but it seems strange to me that you ran into that discouragement that late.

The only thing that happened to me on the left-handed thing was that my mother made arrangements with my 4th grade teacher to provide penmanship lessons after school for that year. I hated it at the time, but they saw me struggling – particularly with cursive – and my mother was determined that I was going to have good handwriting. Because of the combined efforts of my mother and my teacher, I have decent, perfectly legible handwriting, and my process is the mirror image of a right-handed person, so I can use any pen or pencil without smudging or smearing issues.

That, and the typing class in summer school after 6th grade, were two of the smartest things my parents ever forced on me.

I’m actually slightly ambidexterous, in that I use both hands but for different things. I use my left hand predominately for writing and drawing. I’m slower, and now that I’m older, less able with my right hand when it comes to writing and drawing, but I can use it without much trouble.

Apparently, I spent a day with my grandmother when I was a preschooler. She made me use my right hand all day. My mother figured it out when I came home stuttering. This would have been in the late 1950s. I write from below, but still risk smearing my ink when I write with a fountain pen.

I’m a lefty, and grew up in the late 70’s in Wisconsin. Apparently I just missed out on being forced to switch hands, but my teachers didn’t quite know what to do, so I muddled through with awful penmanship.
However, that’s one thing that drew me to fountain pens (along with being told I couldn’t write well with them). I’ve also modified my hand position, and I do fairly well, all things considered.

Forcing lefties to switch was in educational fashion in various parts of the world at various times. As late as the 90s my always-alternative sister decided to force her son to switch until my mother intervened & put a stop to it. Apparently in decades prior there was quite a debate and much research showing it was a very bad idea for developing brains.

I started off as a left handed overwriter but at some point as an adult, I thought I would convert to an underwriter. Now years later, I find that I sometimes have trouble writing in the underwriter position, with a touch of dystonia, and arthritis. There is pain in my first thumb join. I how find myself moving back to curving my hand over the pen when the pain is present.

There is a great article on John Mottishaw’s site discussing lefties and that they generally can find more than one way to hold a pen.

I am a left-handed person but right-hand dominant. Simply a mixed handed. I often use my left-hand for using writing instruments and my right hand for others. For example, I write with a pencil on my left hand and I erase with my right hand. With some other activities such as sports, I also use my right hand. But with using utensils, the spoon and the glass is on my left side. In my batch/class, among 100, I am the only female left-handed.

Discrimination against left-handed exists even in this generation. My younger cousin, who is naturally left-handed, was forced by her parents to use her right hand for writing. In my school too, all chairs are for right handed. Lefties must learn to adjust with it.

I just noticed that female left-handed people are becoming common nowadays? Anyone notice that?

Left handed, taught to write right handed in Catholic elementary school in the early 1960s but reverted to my natural hand over time. I’m actually quite good at writing with my right hand even though it never stops feeling weird and it has come in handy when I’ve had my left hand in a sling due to various injuries, infected cuts, broken bones, sprains, etc. which added up to well over a years time in the last thirty or so.

I also am an underwriter when writing with my correct i.e. left hand but an overwriter when I have to use my right hand.

I’m very left-handed and I like using a fountain pen because it forces me to slow up and pay attention to my handwriting (which is scruffy). Back in 1970 when I was in reception class (first grade) there was a policy of forcing children to write with their right hand. When my mother found out about this she went up to the school and went ballistic in the Headmaster’s office. (I could hear her along the corridor.) As a consequence, I was never ‘corrected’ and for that I’m deeply grateful to her. A friend of mine was ‘corrected’ and spent years overcoming a speech impediment. Related? Maybe. Either way, I’m glad all of that nonsense has been stopped.

Thanks Mum: You’ve no idea the trouble you saved me.


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