Our Internal Communications Officer, Emma Duffy, on why she’s happy to be celebrating International Left Handers Day.
I love being left-handed (one of the 10% of the world’s population that is), not only that but I'm proud to be left-handed. In years gone by, being left-handed was frowned upon. Children were forcibly made to write with their right-hand. Left-handedness was associated with all things evil, and southpaws were considered to be ‘children of the Devil’. Even the word ‘left’ has negative connotations, coming from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘lyft’ meaning weak or broken. The Latin word for left is ‘sinister’ which doesn’t exactly conjure up positive images either! But today - International Left Handers Day - all those dated concepts can be swept aside and the contribution of awesome left-handers can be celebrated, and awareness raised of the everyday troubles faced by lefties the world over.
When I was growing up, and now as an adult, I’m faced on a daily basis with irritating right-isms. Other left-handers will understand the pain of tying ties, using cashpoints, scissors, photocopiers, writing cheques (I was born in the 70s!), shaking hands, trying desperately to cut bread without ending up with an uneven doorstep of a slice, and figuring out the illogical design of tin openers (beans on toast is a nightmare for lefties). Don’t even entertain the idea of writing with a fountain pen.
US President Barack Obama
But just as I am about to abandon hope and resign myself to a right-handed world, I look to the awe-inspiring left-handers that have trail-blazed through history, music, art, science and culture. First man on the Moon? Left-handed Neil Armstrong. Potentially the most powerful man in the world? US President, left-handed Barack Obama. Physicist and pioneer of modern science? Left-handed Marie Curie. One of the world’s greatest painters and inventive minds? That would be the left-handed Leonardo Da Vinci. The list goes on; from media mogul Oprah Winfrey to Microsoft magnate and philanthropist Bill Gates, from football superstar Pelé, right through to Liverpool’s very own music maestro, Sir Paul McCartney, the input of left-handers to the world is immeasurable.
So next time you’re strolling around the Walker Art Gallery, or taking in the sounds of the Wondrous Place Gallery at the Museum of Liverpool, or being inspired by the Black Achievers Wall at the International Slavery Museum, be proud to see your fellow left-handers making a mark on history.