I am ambidextrous. I can work, write, and draw with both my left and right hand. I also cannot be fooled by the Stroop Effect.
On the surface, that is an interesting, but seemingly shallow quirk. Lots of people are ambidextrous, but I also study journalism, and my ability to adopt my handedness has given me a peculiar insight that I have noticed for a long time.
And the is the concept of rigs. We can be high and mighty all we want just because we can do something better than other people, but remove the right or alter it slightly, and the advantage is gone.
Let’s take a pair of scissors, for instance.
Most scissors were made for right-handed people, and when a left-handed person tried to use it, the paper didn’t cut.
Bring in a pair of left-handed scissors, and the roles reverse.
In one case, the right-handed person can think the left-handed person is not as dexterous because the cannot even properly use a pair of scissors. Tsk, tsk.
Take away the rig with left-handed scissors, and now the right-handed person’s self-esteem can take a tumble.
Change a simple rig, and you change everything.
The truth is that scissors are a tool to cut. The reality of who can cut it depends on how those scissors are made.
When you are ambidextrous, the rig doesn’t much matter. You can adjust. You either get it right the first time, or merely switch hands.
But if you get it right the first time, you can be unaware of the rig. You can also be fooled into thinking the left-handed people are less capable because of the rig. Only when you get the handedness of the scissors wrong the first time, and then try again with the other hand, do you see there is a rig.
And you can test it yourself because you have the skill to be able to do it, making you a scale of rigs.
Which brings us to journalism and literature.
Both have rigs that favour men, for instance. The structure of stories in both are patriarchal. They are in tune with men’s thinking, not women’s.
It allows men to get ahead and maintain power because in any direct combat, the woman is far more likely to lose. Her gains will always be short-term, and those who succeed are the ones who can bend to the patriarchal.
When women made strides, the focussed strictly on content, but even content is altered by the latent structure. Unless you challenge both, a half-victory is actually a loss. You are still doing something that is less nature.
Like a left-handed person using right-handed scissors.
Journalism failed precisely because it stuck to rigs that people never questioned or challenged. When ratings and circulation fail to ignite despite the breakthroughs, there will be more than just dejection: the rig gives favour to those it was made for, and they can easily come back with a twist, and keep in the game once more.
It goes deeper than that: every medium ever invented was invented by men: print, radio, and television.
And when those started to lose steam?
Men came roaring with the Internet…and the game-changer of social media.
Four pairs of scissors. All made for the same hands.
Women should not always demand their rights.
They should also create them.
If you want to cut through something, you need to find the right tool to it.
One that is in tune with your natural instincts.
And one that you can use with ease, and not waste time and energy trying to master something that is rigged to impede you.