Yeah, so let's talk about discrimination.
Discriminating means choosing, that's all -- it's neither good nor bad. What makes it good or bad are the reasons behind the discrimination. Discrimination on unreasonable grounds is unfair and should not be condoned. I bring this up, of course, because of the front page story on yesterday's Herald on Sunday about Talley's Fisheries being done by the High Court for gender discrimination in refusing to hire a woman for the position of fish filleter on the basis that she is a woman.
The boss of the company, Mr. Andrew Talley, thinks this is bollocks, and brings up an interesting example in disputing it:
There are jobs - pole dancing being one and fish filleting being another - that have a higher predominance of either men or women.Well let's look at those two vocations. Without wanting to appear crass, the job of a pole dancer is, in the overwhelming majority of cases, to give heterosexual men erections. Without wanting to get into a debate on gender politics, it is a fact of biology that heterosexual men get erections from looking at women, but not from looking at men. There is therefore a genuine reason why women are more suited to the task of pole dancing than men, and therefore legitimate reason to discriminate on the grounds of sex when hiring a pole dancer.
What, then, are the requirements for being a fish filleter? Well, the job of a fish filleter is to fillet fish -- as far as I'm aware, that is done with the hands and not, for example, the penis, so there seems to be little reason why a two-handed person of any sex couldn't do it. What's that? "[T]he job sometimes required lifting fish bins that weighed up to 30kg," you say? Right, so a requirement is upper body strength sufficient to lift a heavy bin of fish. Call me silly, but I would have thought a good test for whether or not someone can lift a heavy bin of fish is to get them to lift a heavy bin of fish, not to check whether or not they have tits.
Now sure, it is also a biological fact that men on average have greater upper body strength than woman, but there's no reason to believe that any given woman doesn't have the required strength for this job just because she's a woman. Unreasonable grounds = unfair discrimination = book 'em, Dano.
What confuses me is that Mr. Talley goes on to say that Talley's employed female fish filleters "and always has done as far as I'm concerned" -- doesn't that undermine everything he said beforehand? Ah, well -- you know those fisheries bosses...
 As a former linguist, I'm obliged to point out that, English being the mercurial whore that it is, the word "discrimination" is often used as a shorthand for "unfair discrimination against human beings" -- so much so that this sub-meaning is fast becoming the main meaning. This sort of thing happens all the time -- deal with it.
 Unless they're attractive transgendered people who they think actually are women, I guess.
 That'd be something to see, though.