Are women especially prone to “burnt toast syndrome”?

February 7, 2013

Curing “burnt toast syndrome”—what Jo Hlder learned about self-care
Author and cancer counselor Jo Hilder blogs from Australia and shares with us this three-word “diagnosis” that she received from her pharmacist. I think it applies especially to women. Women have been expected to care for everyone else’s needs and care for themselves only if and when there is a little time and energy left over. Such an expectation has been part of female socialization— and doubly so in many Christian circles which stress strict gender-role teachings about God’s having created women primarily to help and serve others.  Jo Hilder writes, “I also needed to make my own happiness and comfort a priority as well as that of my family and friends, and stop seeing personal sacrifice and self-denial as noble, or a sign of my love.”

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


  1. Thank you for this post, Letha! Great truth! I am going to be more vigilant about not serving myself the burnt toast!

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