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"I'm glad it unfolded how it did": Tayla Harris recreates the iconic photo that changed her life.

Two months ago, AFLW player Tayla Harris was at work when she kicked a goal.

There was nothing out of the ordinary about it.

Her office was Melbourne’s Whitten Oval playing for Carlton against the Western Bulldogs. And as a Carlton forward, the 22-year-old’s job is, literally, to kick goals.

This time, however, Harris’ goal was immortalised in a photograph taken by Michael Willson, showing her athleticism, hamstring in full stretch, after booting the footy through the goal posts.

tayla harris photo
The stunning photo showcased Tayla Harris' athletic ability. Image: Getty by Michael Willson/AFL Media.

What happened next captivated the news cycle. In late March, the image was posted on Channel Seven’s 7AFL Twitter account, but was quickly removed after attracting a large number of aggressive, inappropriate and violent comments aimed at Harris.

Instead of ignoring the misogynistic comments, Harris made the decision to re-post the photo on her own social media accounts, writing: "Here’s a pic of me at work. Think about this before your derogatory comments, animals.”

Months on from that media storm, Harris has recreated her now-iconic photo on the cover of Stellar magazine, telling the publication how one image and the series of events changed her life.

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"Without [7News] deleting it, this all wouldn’t have happened... I am glad it unfolded how it did," Harris said of how the TV network's initial decision to take down her photo allowed her to start a conversation about trolling and sexual harassment online.

"It’s been positive. The message has been read, the conversation started. It should have been sooner, but it’s happening now. And every move is forward now in my view."

Harris also said, although she was advised by some to simply ignore the "quite violent and threatening" comments, she felt keeping silent on the issue wasn't an option.

 

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“That is not the answer. I don’t ignore people in the street who would make comments, so I am not going to do it online," she said.

“Someone posted in response to the original negative comments: ‘Just ignore this, Tayla,’ and someone wrote back, ‘The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.’ This is exactly why I took a stand. Ignoring doesn’t change; ignoring accepts.”

Harris' decision to share her own image, and 7News' to re-post it after taking it down, mobilised the sporting community to call out the gendered sexism that still manages to seep into Aussie sport.

It also sparked the #TaylaKickChallenge, through which Harris invited footy fans of all genders to post their best impersonation of her infamous kick. They responded with their hamstrings held high.

 

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I’ll choose the best impersonation to win a pair of @nike boots ????????#TAYLAKICKCHALLENGE

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

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Now, Harris is continuing to use her platform to be a positive role model for girls who dream of playing AFLW, as well as training for next year's AFLW season and to achieve her goal of one day winning an Australian boxing title.

Not bad for the woman from Brisbane who used to be the only little girl on the footy field.

You can read Tayla Harris' full interview with Stellar here.

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