TIME society

How Lefties First Gained Acceptance

10/02/1988
Innel / Toronto Public Library / Getty Images Hands, photographed in 1988

Left Handers Day is observed on Aug. 13, but that quality wasn't always so celebrated

The list of famous lefties inevitably goes back deep into history, to Charlemagne or Leonardo da Vinci. But it was only in the last few decades that being left-handed ceased to be a real problem for many people, and instead became something that could be celebrated.

As TIME explained in 1969, “southpaws, gallock-handers, chickie paws and scrammies” were seen as sinister—literally, since the word means “left”—for centuries. “In the Middle Ages, for instance, the left-hander lived in danger of being accused of practicing witchcraft,” the article explained. “The Devil himself was considered a southpaw, and he and other evil spirits were always conjured up by left-handed gestures.”

One possible reason that aura of suspicion may have changed, TIME suggested, was a lot less complicated than anything having to do with evil spirits. It was just a matter of simple economics. At the time, lefties had few options in terms of the everyday items that depend on handedness; from sports equipment to kitchen items, most things designed to be held were only optimized for one direction. That situation meant there was an untapped market for leftie goods, just waiting for a smart business owner to jump. And jump they did:

A few shops now cater to left-handers who either cannot or will not adjust to a right-handed world. One of the most interesting—run by a righthander, surprisingly—is Anything Left-Handed, Ltd. in London’s West End. Its director, William Gruby, 39, opened his store late last year after giving a dinner party at which he and his wife found that their four guests were all left-handed and all perfectly willing to complain bitterly about the nuisances of life in a right-handed world. Doing market research, Gruby found that shop clerks treated his inquiries with some Dark Ages-style rudeness. When he asked for a left-handed can opener, for instance, he was asked if he wanted a left-handed can as well. He stocks left-handed versions of most types of kitchen hardware, irons, and also carries artists’ palettes, dressmakers’ scissors, surgeons’ knives, pruning shears and cricket bats.

Not everywhere caught on equally quickly—a few years later, TIME ran a story about the persistence of the stigma in Japan—but barriers were being knocked down. And, finally, that knocking might happen with left-handed tools.

Read more from 1969, here in the TIME Vault: Left in a Right-Handed World

TIME society

This Funny or Die Video Reveals the ‘Shocking Truth’ About Planned Parenthood

"Planned Parenthood overwhelmed me with the ability to make my own choices"

Funny or Die’s latest video aims to share some perspective about Planned Parenthood in light of recent controversy.

“Planned Parenthood is supported by the state and federal government,” the video begins, “but what kind of heinous activities are your tax dollars funding?”

What follows is a very somber PSA starring a series of sarcastic female comedians revealing the ‘horrors’ of Planned Parenthood, like the fact that it’s “providing women with accurate information about sex, contraception, STIs, pregnancy, and childbirth” or asking to take women’s blood pressure. Their blood pressure!

“Planned Parenthood overwhelmed me with the ability to make my own choices,” one woman explains somberly, “without having to ask my congressman.”

Read next: Watch Elizabeth Warren’s Speech in Defense of Planned Parenthood

TIME society

Thank You, Donald Trump, for Starting a Needed Conversation About Sexism

Outrage over his comments could be a sign that we’ve had enough locker-room banter posing as political dialogue

A few years ago, I wrote an open letter to my then-3-year-old daughter, apologizing for all the years I had spent oblivious to society’s subtle (but now obvious) sexism.

Having a daughter was life-altering on many levels — not the least of which was opening my eyes to all the little ways women are treated differently every day.

But even before my daughter was born, I got a close-up look at some of these challenges while working on Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign.

The 2008 campaign between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination was truly historic, with two of the most visionary and transformative candidates our nation has ever seen.

Either one was going to dramatically change the direction of our economic and foreign policy. But that election also elevated the topics of race and gender to the presidential level.

The election of Barack Obama certainly did not signify that we had become “post-racial.” (Whatever that means.) But, it did begin to raise our collective consciousness, and show that we were finally willing to look past a candidate’s skin color when examining his qualifications for the Oval Office. And, as the campaign progressed, it showed the willingness of so many Americans to come together and push back against the examples of racism and bigotry that were soaked into the fabric of our daily lives. We didn’t solve racism, but we took a strong stand against it.

We saw a different reaction when it came to gender.

Throughout the 2008 campaign, many of the same people that were jumping to the defense of Barack Obama whenever there was even a scent of racism, were ignoring (or partaking in) subtle sexism against women candidates. Hillary Clinton — and Sarah Palin in the general election — were constantly faced with demeaning and belittling commentary that you’d expect more in junior high school than on the presidential campaign trail.

Was Hillary Clinton where she was only because of her husband? Was she being too emotional? Could Sarah Palin be Vice President with children at home? What about their appearance? These were the types of questions being posed to and about women, but not about men.

And it wasn’t just the candidates. There were more than a few women journalists on the Clinton campaign bus who, after a long day on the trail, would vent about this unfairness and double standard. “You should say something,” I replied to each. But too many of them said the same thing — they couldn’t, if they wanted to be taken seriously in their news rooms.

Now here we are, eight years later. Hillary Clinton is running for President again. So is Carly Fiorina on the Republican side. Whatever you think of their politics, both are serious contenders.

And Donald Trump is running as well.

For weeks, Trump was confounding the political establishment with his meteoric rise. Right out of the box, people said he was done when he insulted immigrants. Instead, his poll numbers rose.

People said he was done when he then insulted John McCain and veterans. But his poll numbers continued to rise even higher.

Then came the first debate. And moderator Megyn Kelly asked her question about his long history of disparaging comments against women. And, true to form, Trump belittled the question — saying he didn’t have time for “political correctness.” Besides, he said, he only said that about Rosie O’Donnell.

The audience laughed. None of the other candidates on stage said a word. Some analysts publicly said he handled that tough question very well.

Most women I talked to disagreed.

What Kelly was referring to, was his long record of calling women (not just Rosie O’Donnell) “pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” Of saying that some women looked “better on their knees.”

Then the next day, as if to put an exclamation point on it, Trump insinuated to CNN that Kelly was tough on him because of the “blood coming out of her whatever.” (And that was after 24 hours of terribly sexist comments directed at her by Trump supporters.)

Finally, we got some outrage. Apparently, attacking Megyn Kelly — one of the most respected journalists in the country, who also happens to have broad appeal among conservatives — was the line that couldn’t be crossed.

Mind you, many of the people showing outrage (on both sides of the aisle) have been silent (or in some cases complicit) when sexist comments were directed at Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Obama, Carly Florina, Sarah Palin, or any of the many other women leaders of our time.

Maybe Trump is right. Maybe the outrage against his statements and response can be chalked up to the overhyped reaction of politically-correct “idiots.” Maybe that kind of “straight” and “tough” talk is exactly what America needs to get back on track.

Or, maybe that outrage is a sign that America is finally saying it’s had enough locker-room banter posing as political dialogue.

I don’t know. But it won’t be long before the Donald Trump v Megyn Kelly dust-up settles. By this time next year, it will simply be a singular moment that historians write about in their books about the path to the presidency 2016.

I just hope this conversation doesn’t end once this moment fades into political memory. It needs to be just getting started.

While recent tragic events prove that we still have a long way to go on race, the more-than-symbolic lowering of the Confederate Flag in South Carolina demonstrated that we are becoming less willing to hide behind “heritage” as an excuse for racial injustice.

The dramatic and rapid change in our collective acceptance of same-sex marriage over the past 10 years, reflects that we are becoming less tolerant of bigotry against the LGBTQ community.

But sexism?

Seven years ago a lot of people were asking whether America was ready for a woman President. Today, the question is whether we are willing to tolerate an openly sexist one.

And for forcing that discussion, we ought to thank Donald Trump.

Mo Elleithee is executive director of Georgetown’s Institute of Politics & Public Service. This article originally appeared on Medium

TIME society

Couple Married for 75 Years Say They’ve Never Had an Argument

It's time to upgrade your life goals

A Wisconsin couple who have been married for 75 years say they’ve never had an argument. Arlene and Richard Baughman were wed in 1940, two years before Richard was drafted to serve in World War II. The couple, who met on a movie date with friends, eventually had six children. Arlene still wears her original wedding ring.

Through it all, the two say they’ve never gotten in a fight. “If we had differences we just talked about it,” Richard told WNYT.

“We always said, we didn’t have dishes to throw or shoes to throw because we couldn’t afford it. So, we had to get along!” Arlene said.

[WNYT]

 

TIME society

These Are the Top 10 Ranked Party Schools in America

TIME.com stock photos Drinking Fraternity Frat Solo Cups
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

The University of Illinois is number 1 on the Princeton Review list

Princeton Review announced the top 10 party schools in America on Monday, one of more than 60 rankings in the 2016 version of its The Best 380 Colleges guide.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign leads this year’s list. Some online reviews give the school an A+ for party scene, touting “Tuesday wine nights,” while the area has been known for letting anyone age 19 and older in bars.

Here is the full list:

1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2. University of Iowa
3. University of Wisconsin-Madison
4. Bucknell University
5. Syracuse University
6. University of California-Santa Barbara
7. West Virginia University
8. University of Georgia
9. Tulane University
10. Colgate University

West Virginia University, the University of Iowa, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Syracuse are no strangers to this list, while Tulane graduates might be relieved to see the school is also ranked in the top 10 of Princeton Review’s newest list, “Students Most Engaged in Community Service.”

TIME society

Taking Aim at Student Debt

graduation-cap-money-pile
Getty Images

We need a long-term solution that tackles both education and wealth inequality in today's society

When the class of 2015 graduated in May, they took more than a diploma and happy memories away from campus. They also left with an average student debt of $35,000 for a bachelor’s degree—earning the distinction of being the most indebted graduating class in history. Unfortunately, it’s a title they will probably concede to the class of 2016 next spring.

With numbers like these, it is becoming clear that innovative approaches are desperately needed. With their new book, The Real College Debt Crisis: How Student Borrowing Threatens Financial Well-Being and Erodes the American Dream, University of Kansas professors William Elliott III and Melinda Lewis offer one such paradigm shift. They argue that we’re missing the bigger picture when it comes to student debt. The skyrocketing rates of student indebtedness are, in their estimation, a symptom of an even more serious problem: that the reluctant acceptance of debt as a de facto method for paying for college reinforces social and financial inequality by saddling borrowers with excessive financial burdens at the beginning of their careers and hurting their chances to achieve economic mobility post-graduation.

“If we begin to think of education as a part of the economic mobility system, then we can begin to think of education’s implications for children long after school,” Elliott, who also serves as the founding director of the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion (AEDI), explained at a recent New America event. Along with his co-author, Elliott was joined by Demos Senior Policy Analyst Mark Huelsman and New America Education Policy Program Director Kevin Carey for a discussion on the importance of developing new college financing models that could reduce inequity between students of varying income levels.

“We fundamentally believe that education is really important, but because of the weight of [student] debt, experts are starting to question whether or not the return on investment is really there,” Elliott said.

The panelists’ conversation comes at a moment of heightened attention on the burdens student debt often places on young borrowers and their families. Last year, exit polling of Millennial voters intimated that student debt was a point of concern during the midterm elections, prompting politicians to jump on an increasingly crowded “student debt is a serious issue” bandwagon during the preliminary rounds of the 2016 presidential campaign. And in March, President Obama announced the creation of a Student Aid Bill of Rights that seeks to change how federal agencies interact with students that take out federal loans to finance the cost of higher education.

Unfortunately, according to the panelists, political discussions of the student debt crisis often fail to acknowledge how student debt can have disparate and lifelong effects on the asset building capacity of young borrowers from different racial and economic backgrounds. It is often the students who stand to benefit the most from attending college who struggle with debt after graduation or drop out before receiving a degree, creating what Huelsman referred to as a “Debt Divide”—a phenomenon wherein those with the highest need for student loans are the most susceptible to negative outcomes before and after graduation.

“There is a fundamental difference in student debt that’s taken on by someone from a low-income background and debt that’s taken on by someone from a middle or upper class background,” Huelsman said. “There are people for whom every dollar matters so much more, and they don’t have the extended family resources that can leverage assets to take on debt.”

When speaking about the increase in the number of students taking out loans, Huelsman pointed out that the higher education system was never meant to trade debt for diplomas, but because of a series of policy changes that reduced institutional funding and increased costs, “we now have an almost entirely debt-funded higher education system.” And while media outlets and pundits are quick to highlight how this debt-funded system is wreaking havoc on the economy, Huelsman also noted that looking at the problem as being one of borrowers breaching some invisible threshold of acceptable debt obscures a far more pressing question: why is debt even necessary to afford higher education in the first place?

Huelsman’s comments resonated with a key argument Elliott and Lewis make in The Real College Debt Crisis—that despite the seemingly good intentions of policy wonks and reporters there is a disconnect between the aspects of the student debt “crisis” that are being addressed publicly and the challenges that are actually impacting the ability of borrowers to build assets and attain mobility. “One of the problems that we get into when we aren’t correctly diagnosing or defining the problems created by student debt is that the solutions we propose are not aimed at the right target,” Lewis explained.

In their book, Elliott and Lewis advocate moving college financing away from a “debt-dependency” model (and the short-term solutions that it encourages) and towards an asset-building model that enables anyone willing to put in the effort to grow their wealth over time. One concrete mechanism they recommend is the increased use of Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs), as a tool for leveraging assets accumulated from birth as a form of financial aid. “There is everything right with a centralized, portable financial product that will get more people to and through college,” Huelsman noted when speaking of the CSA concept. “But it has to mean something in the terms of college cost.”

Carey agreed college cost is unlikely to decrease with the institutions themselves in the driver’s seat, serving—as he put it—as both the benefactor and the perpetuator of the student debt crisis. “It’s pretty good to be in a business where your customers say to themselves ‘Well if I gotta borrow, I gotta borrow,’” Carey said. “Not many businesses have that luxury, but colleges and universities do.” Carey also lamented the Obama administration’s recent announcement that it would abandon its plan to implement a college rating system, which he felt had potential to help colleges take an active role in preventing their graduates from defaulting on their student loans.

Elliott acknowledged value in Carey’s accountability-centric approach, but suggested that without an overhaul in how college educations are financed, the larger problem of student debt would remain.

“We are afraid to re-envision and re-think how financial aid can be done,” Elliott said. “We need a long-term solution that not only changes education, but [also addresses] the great wealth inequality that we see in our society.”

This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine, The Weekly Wonk. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox each Thursday here, and follow @New America on Twitter

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

You Can Make a Teen Cancer Patient’s Birthday Wish Come True by Doing One Simple Thing

The North Carolina 16-year-old has done many selfless acts for other kids

A 16-year-old cancer patient has a simple birthday wish: lots and lots of birthday cards.

North Carolina native Chris West has had three bouts of cancer since he was first diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011. Over the years, he has done many selfless acts, such as raising money for other kids. This year, for his birthday on Aug. 19, he’s asking strangers to send him birthday cards to cheer him up. His address is: Chris West PO Box 5244 Concord NC 28027.

Read more at People.com.

TIME society

A Police Officer Who Stopped to Fix a Boy’s Bike Is Going Viral

"It's so small to me, I was just helping a kid out, but it's big to everybody else"

Connecticut police officer Michael Castillo’s small gesture to “serve and protect” his community has gone viral on social media.

The 27-year-old officer received a call about a fight happening outside a Target in Ansonia, Connecticut, on Monday, but when he arrived, he saw a group of young neighborhood kids just hanging out, he told ABC News.

Castillo, who has been an officer for three years, then noticed that one of the boy’s bikes was broken, so he grabbed some tools out of his SUV cruiser and set to work, fixing the bike chain and tightening up the tire.

“I told them, ‘All right, guys, go play somewhere else besides the Target parking lot,’ ” Castillo told the news outlet. “They’re good kids.”

Little did he know that Faith Taylor, a passerby, had snapped a photo of the sweet moment and posted it to the Ansonia Police Department Facebook Page.

“…it’s nice to see an officer in a good and kind way… Give this guy some kudos!” she wrote.

The photo has received almost 1,000 likes and over 300 shares since it was posted on Monday.

“It feels great. It really does,” Castillo told News 8. “There is so much negativity in police work everywhere, just to get this one thing, it’s so small to me, I was just helping a kid out, but it’s big to everybody else. I think this shows a positive outlook on police work.”

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME society

Why an Almost 110-Year-Old Used to Swear by Beers and a Shot a Day

Getty Images

Miller High Life and Johnnie Walker Blue, to be exact

Agnes Fenton, who turns 110 Saturday, admitted that she has had to give up Miller High Life and Johnnie Walker Blue in the walk-up to her birthday, she told The Record.

In 2010, she said that, since 1943, she has been drinking “three cans of Miller High Life a day and a shot of good booze at 5 p.m.” What kind of good booze? Johnnie Walker Blue. In what sounds like a joke or a tall tale, she has told journalists that a doctor said she could drink three beers a day after a tumor she once developed ended up being benign.

Nowadays, the paper reports that she can’t drink that much anymore since her appetite has decreased, so that means we should take shot of Johnnie Walker Blue for her (but drink responsibly, of course).

Read next: Meet the New World’s Oldest Person

 

TIME women

How Indian Women Are Reclaiming Their Right to Public Space in Delhi

A flash mob performs during a candlelit vigil protesting violence against women as they mark the second anniversary of the deadly gang rape occurred in New Delhi on Dec. 16, 2014.
Saurabh Das—AP A flash mob performs during a candlelit vigil protesting violence against women as they mark the second anniversary of the deadly gang rape occurred in New Delhi on Dec. 16, 2014.

Women are stretching the existing boundaries of cultural rules that attempt to demarcate a woman’s place in an unequal city

Urban redevelopment in India over recent decades has had particular implications for women. While the economic deregulation of the 1990s opened up new possibilities for work, leisure and relationships, it has also led to new stresses. Cities such as New Delhi have become sites for experimentation, autonomy and aspiration for women. Yet against these images of emancipation can be juxtaposed everyday risks and vulnerabilities.

Contradictions abound in a space that values the woman’s body as a liberalized commodity. Women are under constant scrutiny: for what they wear, how they behave, where they are going, who they are with, at what time of day or night. They are under pressure to conform to familiar boundaries of tradition and class. Challenging these boundaries carries the risk of psycho-social dissonance and assault of various kinds.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the increasing number of women working in the IT industry – or socializing in bars and restaurants – arose in tandem with the rise of cultural nationalist politics in India. Following the rape and murder of young student Jyoti Singh in New Delhi in December 2012, some held that responsibility for violence against women should be attributed to “western lifestyles”. Public debates have also focused on other forms of the “outsider” as a source of fear and hostility on Delhi’s streets, naming rural migrants a “menace in society”.

Bearer of tradition

Clearly, violence against women in Delhi is not a new phenomenon that has arisen out of economic liberalization and urban redevelopment. Yet the intense focus on the death of Jyoti Singh and subsequent cases is indicative of a cultural shift. This young woman, from a provincial background but “aspirational”, represented what “world class” Delhi was supposed to afford women: safe access to public space and a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Such attacks highlight the contradictions held within the body of the woman. She must embody the progressive city but also remain the bearer of tradition measured by skirt lengths. The presence of young professional women in Delhi’s public spaces may be desirable to legitimate claims of “global city” status. However, in reality, this access is conditional and based on maintaining a cultural order inflected by a moral discourse of respectability.

As writers such as Shilpa Phadke argue, women must manufacture purpose in order to access the city, they cannot just “loiter”. Much of this purpose is non-sexualised conduct such as engaging in family activities or shopping in the new mega-malls.

Women navigate the city “giving back” through aggressive language, evading stares, reclaiming spaces such as rooftops and parks. They seek safety in numbers, knowing when to wrap a scarf more tightly around their head or cover their knees when sitting. These appear to be everyday skills to cope with the city and to manage its discomfort.

While in these actions women may appear fragile, they are in fact asserting a place in Delhi, especially when reassured by anonymity or the protection afforded by socio-economic capacity such as owning a car. This is an understanding of Delhi opposed to the computer-generated images of independent, happy women in new condominiums that look down from advertising hoardings throughout the city.

Clearly, women are not necessarily timid or immobile in the face of Delhi’s aggression. They are taking part in producing space and seeking out pleasure. There are limits, but these limits can be stretched. Roaming may be curtailed for some who have to remain in the line of sight of home, and choices restricted at times by the pressures of respectability. Yet, women have the capacity to generate ambiguity through their presence, disrupting cultural rules that attempt to demarcate a woman’s place in an unequal city.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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