We'd like to think that sexism only comes from those with bad intent. But sometimes, it comes from the people who love and support us most: our parents. Because sexist beliefs get drilled into the best of us throughout our lives, there are many anti-feminist things we tell our daughters without even realizing it. Being a feminist parent means saying encouraging, empowering things to your daughters, but it also means examining the discouraging, disempowering things you might already be saying.
Before getting into the anti-feminist things we have to stop telling our daughters, it's worthwhile to look at what we can say instead. Girls — and all kids, really — could benefit from hearing that everything they do with their bodies is up to them, from what they wear to whom they hug. We can tell them, no matter what they look like, that their looks are not the most important thing about them — and let them know what else we value in them. We can let them know that the gender and sexual orientation they identify with are totally up to them, and we'll believe them no matter how they identify.
On the flip side, here are some things we should avoid telling our daughters if we want them to grow up to be self-confident, socially conscious feminists.