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"I try to tell Sasha and Malia do not go to other 14 years olds for information because all you all are dumb. Come talk to me!" Obama said from the stage at the USOW summit in Los Angeles to a crowd roaring with laughter.
"That’s the age where it starts where you think you know everything," Ross responded.
Obama and Ross’ conversation was highly-anticipated, drawing thousands of women from all over the country to the conference. The speakers included many high-profile women like Jane Fonda, Valerie Jarrett, Tina Tchen and more, speak on everything having to do with gender inequality.
Ross asked Obama a question on behalf of her own mother, Diana Ross, on how her relationship with her own mom influenced her relationship with her two daughters, Malia and Sasha, who are now 19 and 16 years old.
"You’re going to make me cry," Obama responded.
"The mother that I am today is a direct result of Marian Robinson,” Obama said. “She told me and my brother, ‘I wasn’t raising children. I was raising adults.’”
"She would include you in big grown up conversations," Obama told the crowd at the Shrine auditorium. "There was never anything off limits."
"I emulate her in the relationship that I have with my girls," she continued. "I want them to talk to me about everything so that means I've got to be open and I can’t be judgmental."
"You have to get that mom face right. It’s like ‘Oh, did that happen? Okay, tell me more,'" Obama said as the crowd erupted with laughter. "You’re just trying not to react so you get the good information. You’re just sitting there just like, 'You did what!' Okay, fix the face. 'Okay, continue.'"
The "mom face" reference clearly hit home with the women in the audience, many nodding their heads.
"I try to be open with my girls and also help them practice their voice because if they’re not practicing with us, with me and with Barack at our dinner table, if they aren’t learning how to make arguments and express themselves ...” Obama trailed off.
The crowd erupted in cheers at the mention of former President Barack Obama’s name.
"Barack Obama," she repeated as the cheering and clapping continued. “I’m not going to tell him you all reacted this way. He doesn’t need to know this!” the former first lady joked. “I’ll be like, ‘No they didn’t even ask about you.'"
Ross went on to ask Obama, "Speaking about 14 year olds and not knowing much, do you think there’s a way that we can help everyone dream in a more limitless way that is not gender based?”
Obama answered that she’s "concerned about us" as women "in light of this last election."
"When the most qualified person running was a woman and look what we did instead? I mean that says something about where we are," Obama said. "If we as women are still suspicious of one another, if we still have this crazy, crazy bar for each other that we don’t have for men, if we’re still doing that today, if we’re not comfortable with the notion that a women could be our president ... that’s on us."
"I wish that girls could fail as bad as men do and be okay, because let me tell you, watching men fail up, it is frustrating," Obama said, "and we hold ourselves to these crazy, crazy standards."
Ross talked about the fact that she isn't married and how she's felt there was some judgment about it.
"Culture was egging me to dream of my wedding," she said, adding that it felt like people were saying, "Tracee Ellis Ross must not be happy because she’s not married with kids."
"Look where I’m sitting!?" Ross replied to a cheering crowd.
"I think if we want our daughters to dream bigger than we did then we have more work to do," Obama said. "So many of us have gotten ourselves to the table, but were still too grateful to be at the table to really shake it up."
When some voices in the crowd shouted for Obama to run for president, she said that women needed to learn to see it as a group effort.
"That's not the answer either," Obama responded to the shouts. "When I hear people say 'you run,' it's part of the problem. We still didn't get 'Yes, we can' right. It's not, 'Yes, you can,' it's 'Yes, we can.'"