Why I'll be sticking Tayla Harris' photo on my fridge - and you should too

Tayla Harris talks to the media this week.
Tayla Harris talks to the media this week. Photo: Justin McManus

Before this week I'd never heard of Tayla Harris.

I'm not much of a footy fan, but after seeing Michael Willson's stunning photo of the AFLW Carlton forward, mid-air after kicking the football, even I wanted to pull on some boots and give it a crack.

Her pure athleticism is inspiring - the strength and determination an example for all sportspeople.

The fact that a bunch of pitiful, gutless trolls took it upon themselves to write foul, sexist comments under the photograph on a news site – their comments so vile, it was decided the image be removed altogether – makes me sick.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My hamstring is ok but derogatory and sexist comments aren’t.

A post shared by Tayla ⚡️ Harris (@tayla_harris) on

But you know what happened, their filth backfired, and now that photo is being shared far and wide. Her name and her image will now be synonymous with sporting greatness and power – as it should.

So much so, that I'm going to print out a copy of her image and stick it on my fridge for my three girls to see everyday and be reminded of the strength of women.

I want to start a gallery of women to show my girls the power of working hard, believing in yourself and fighting for what you want in life.

Tayla is going to be the first woman I put on there, alongside cricket hero Ellyse Perry, Cathy Freeman winning gold at the Sydney Olympics, Paralympian Louise Sauvage, badmington player Saina Nehwal, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and tennis champion Serena Williams. There are so many others too.

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I want their world to be flooded with images of women in action. They need to see women of all shapes, sizes, abilities, colours, ages and socioeconomic backgrounds – that are striving to win, champions in their chosen field.

I don't want it to be unusual for them to see a cracker image of a women leaping in the air, her body her machine.

And I call on parents of boys to do the same.

Talk to them about strong and powerful women. Show them the image of Tayla and ask them what they think. They need to be shown the physical strength of women.

There's a group of men in this world who are angry. They're hostile towards women and they think nothing of writing hateful and degrading comments about them on social media. Our sons and daughters are seeing these comments and without us talking to them about why it's wrong, they might think it's ok.

We must step-up and talk to our children (and while we're at it - talk to our partners, uncles, dads, brothers and grandfathers).

This behavior must stop now.

We need to flood the Internet and our homes with photos of women being powerful and strong, so it becomes the new normal.

We can't raise another generation of men who think so little of the physical abilities of women.  And we must raise women who don't stand for their behavior – who continue to push the boundaries, work hard to achieve their goals and fight for what they want, regardless of the barriers.

We need more Taylas in the world.