Most of the time, I love a good meme, but the woman screaming at the cat bums me out and I’ll explain why.
That woman is Taylor Armstrong, who was a housewife on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for the first three seasons. That shot of her screaming was from season 2, episode 14, “Malibu Beach Party from Hell.”
Here’s what you may not know about Taylor—she was in a physically abusive relationship with her husband at the time, Russell Armstrong, and it all played out on camera without Taylor’s permission that season. In a preceding episode, Camille Grammer had said, on camera, that Taylor’s husband was physically abusing her, and Taylor was sent into a tailspin as a result.
Here’s a contemporary recap of the exchange, from OK Magazine:
Taylor wanted all the housewives to “start being honest” with each other and “say what they mean.”
“I don’t think you want to put everything out there,” Camille warned on Bravo’s RHOBH. “You said everything. Be careful what you say in that because we’re all protecting you.”
“About my marriage,” Taylor asked.
“About what you told us about your marriage,” Camille explained. “We’ve been protecting you. Beacuse [sic] we don’t say that he hits you. Because we don’t say that he broke your jaw. Or that he beat you and he hits you. We don’t say that, but now we said it.”
Yeah, so that’s what we’re dealing with. (Note: Russell killed himself after the second season finished taping, which led to a very weird, uncomfortable post-script scene tacked on at the end of the season because of course the show addressed it.)
The party where the meme is pulled from, is where Taylor and Camille see each other for the first time, since Camille revealed that Taylor was being abused to the entire world.
At the time, Taylor had said on Watch What Happens Live that the reason she reacted so strongly to Camille and what she said, was that she believed that since it was said on camera, it would lead to Russel hurting her further, or even potentially killing her.
Per a recap from Vulture, at the time this episode originally aired:
She claimed, when talking to Andy Cohen, that when Camille said what she had about Russell she put Taylor in danger, because Taylor feared that her husband would see the footage and beat her up or kill her.
Here’s a further excerpt from her appearance on WHHL per People:
“I was a little drunk, absolutely, and a little crazy,” Taylor told Andy. “I was dealing with so much and my biggest fears were unraveling. For me it was as though I lived my life for quite a long time with a boiling pot that I was holding the lid on top of, and it was starting to bubble over and there was nothing more I could do and I was losing my mind.”
Taylor explained that she was upset that her abusive relationship, which she had divulged to her costars off camera, had become a plotline on the show.
“Admitting that I was being abused on national television was a step that I never though any of my friends would take,” she said. “I was so stunned and I felt so betrayed that I couldn’t get past it. And I was scared.”
So what that meme of the woman screaming at the cat is actually showing, is a woman who is being physically abused by her husband, terrified for her safety, and lashing out because she’s around the woman who divulged her secret on camera, for the world to know. It kind of changes the perspective of a funny meme, doesn’t it?
For Taylor’s part, she’s a good sport about it now; and for her, it’s a lifetime ago:
That was another lifetime for me- I am healthy, happy - I have have an amazing husband and my daughter is safe and enjoying life so it’s all in good fun https://t.co/fY6Xy0ML4J— Taylor Armstrong (@TaylorArmstrong) November 17, 2019
However, as an avid viewer of the show, it always hits me in the gut a little to see that meme pop up, because it’s intrinsically linked to a woman’s abuse, which is context that seems to get lost in the shuffle.
Header Image Source: Getty