In The Handmaid's Tale's not-so-speculative world filled with the rampant evils of unchecked misogyny, it’s fascinating that one of the scariest villains we come across is another woman. Aunt Lydia, the calculatingly cruel mistress of the Red Center, is the horrifying pinnacle of lawful evil: a true believer who has convinced herself that her obsession with control, in ways that are often both physically and psychologically torturous, is for the greater good. Lydia is the kind of villain who adapts feelings of remorse and twists them around to instead only fortify her resolve. Who truly believes she is the righteous one and that the women whose minds and bodies she destroys are collateral damage on the way to a better world.
And if that's not clear enough, we can think of a few other ways to describe her.
Aunt Lydia was that schoolteacher who kept measuring tape to decide if your skirts were too short.
You know the ad people who make the liquid blue for feminine hygiene products so it’s all “decent” for television? Aunt Lydia writes them thank-you notes.
She’s like if Dolores Umbridge didn’t have all of those cat plates around to chill her out and perk her up. She also definitely protested at the local Borders because those Harry Potter books were trying to teach witchcraft to the children.
Aunt Lydia is what would happen if someone gave adult Debbie in Addams Family Values all the Malibu Barbies she could hope for and convinced her they were wicked and needed to be told.
Aunt Lydia can’t understand why that nasty little Matilda didn’t get her comeuppance from Agatha Trunchbull.
Aunt Lydia flosses at her desk and thinks you're the disgusting one for not doing it.
Aunt Lydia knows she’s going to ask to speak to the manager before she even walks into the store.
Aunt Lydia has The Mist on Blu-ray and thinks Marcia Gay Harden’s character is the protagonist.
She’s Unella, the shame-pronouncing Septa in a world where Cersei Lannister has no access to her power-giving wine.
Seriously, Aunt Lydia wants to talk to your manager. Now. DID YOU JUST TRY TO PUT YOUR HANDS ON HER? SECURITY!
Aunt Lydia has made multiple citizen arrests for jaywalking.
She knew. And she was ready. I bet she already had the uniform.