Burnt Chop Syndrome

  Semantic distortion
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Burnt Chop Syndrome is the Oxford University Press word of the month for September 2019.

Beaut words: Burnt chop syndrome

OUP defines ‘burnt chop syndrome’ as:

noun: (esp. of a woman) “the practice or habit of taking the least attractive item or option; the practice or habit of putting the needs and desires of others ahead of one’s own”.

The term first appeared in New Zealand:

The first evidence of the term appears in the NZ women’s self-help guide and refers to mealtime sacrifice:
“As food providers, most of us are familiar with the ‘burnt-chop’ syndrome, where we give the ‘best’ food to everyone else, and serve ourselves with what is left”. (Singh & Rosier, No Body’s Perfect, 1989)

This makes perfect sense, this is what parents do – they give the choice cuts to their growing kids. The growing kids also get first choice of the second helping. It makes sense too that the cook holds him/herself accountable for any stuff ups.

The term first appeared in Australia in 1991:

If the habit of domestic sacrifice is a universal mothering trait, burnt chop syndrome is an Australian (and New Zealand) way to describe it. It derives from the literal notion that mothers will choose the least appealing chop at mealtimes: ‘The burnt chop syndrome existed in even the most blissful marriage. … Dad got the best chop and Mum got the worst’ (Sydney Sun-Herald, 27 October 1991). The habit has been associated with traditional, mid-century perceptions of domesticity:

Note the subtle shift from ‘everyone else’ to ‘Dad’. This is where the term was captured by feminists and adopted by the ALP:

Women in the ALP call it the ‘burnt chop syndrome’:
“When it comes to serving out the political meals, it is the woman who always seems to get the burnt chop, and dry, charred and unsatisfying as it is, she has to try and make a meal out of it. (The Age, 29 November 1997)”

Source: OUP

After the leftist politicians got hold of it, it was another weapon to level at the male enemy:

This is from a parenting site:

Happy mum = happy family

It’s commonly referred to as ‘burnt chop syndrome’, where the mother gives her family the well cooked chops and eats the burnt one herself. It describes the way many of us put everyone else’s needs first, with little regard for our own. It borders on self-destructive, because who can maintain this level of servitude? It’s bound to lead to resentment. Perhaps we write it off as karma for burning the chop in the first place.

Source: Kidspot

The meaning has been twisted almost out of recognition:

  1. ‘Happy mum = happy family’ diminishes women to only one role – a parent. The parent’s role is the opposite: ‘Happy family = Happy mum’.
  2. It borders on self-destructive? Nope. Sacrifice is part and parcel of the role of being a parent
  3. Is it karma? No, it isn’t karma – it is accountability. Don’t burn any chops then no-one gets a burnt chop.

The ALP’s wannabe PM tried his hand at virtue signalling and exposed himself:

  • The toaster stands unused in the corner while BS spreads on Ryvita
  • Something got burnt on the stove. Chops?
  • A member of the public filmed BS crashing his car:
    ‘[I] noticed the gentlemen who got out of his car quite shaken. I asked him what happened? He spilt a short black on his lap’.