The Wolves Will Eat Your Butt

The informant is a graduating senior at the University of Southern California, studying Creative Writing and Social Sciences with an emphasis in Psychology. She was born in Egypt and originally held Egyptian citizenship, but moved to the United States when she was quite young and is now an American citizen.

This piece is something that the informant’s grandmother would tell her when she refused to put her clothes back on after a bath.

“So, when I was younger my family used to always tell me stories in order to get me to do what I was supposed to do. They knew that was kind of the only way to manage myself. So my grandmother, who was especially fond of the horror stories of what happened to naughty children, so um, my personal favorite was when I got out of the bath, I liked to run around naked. And she would tell me that if I didn’t put my underwear on, the wolves would eat my butt.

[laughs] And, when I didn’t believe her, she gave me examples of people with tiny butts and she would tell me why they had tiny butts and it would because the wolves had eaten them. So my cousin had a tiny butt because one day she had forgotten to put her underwear on after the bath, and um, they had come in and eaten her.”


While this is an entertaining anecdote, it is also indicative of what is and isn’t considered “proper” for girls to show. This interested me because of the specificity of the consequences of not putting on underwear—though the informant was naked she was not warned about what would happen if she failed to put on her shirt; the focus was on her underwear. Additionally, this warning only applies to women. The informant’s grandfather describes the buttocks of her female relatives, and not the males. The implication is also that small buttocks are not desirable.