fly in the face of leaning in or out or sideways

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Senior Member
The quotation comes from Motherhood Isn’t Sacrifice, It’s Selfishness

Quotation: In my experience, when women talk among women, our ambivalence or frustration is rarely about our roles as mothers. (That doesn’t mean our kids don’t drive us crazy sometimes.) Rather, conversations turn to questions of how to manage the best part of our lives (those very kids who are driving us crazy) with our partners, careers and other responsibilities. And while many women derive their deepest fulfillment as mothers, it doesn’t preclude their ambition or fly in the face of leaning in or out or sideways.
Hi everyone! What does the bold part mean?
  • Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    To fly in the face of something means to contradict or defiantly challenge something (especially used in the context of challenging conventional wisdom).

    Lean in, in this context is a term coined by a Facebook executive:

    "Lean in became a business motto in 2013, taken from the title of the book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead written by Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, and Nell Scovell, a writer and Sandberg's collaborator. Sandberg's book outlines business strategies to help women achieve success, and its title perfectly paints a picture of what Sandberg believes women need to do to move up in the business world: to press ahead, to project confidence, to "sit at the table" and physically lean in to make herself heard." (Words We're Watching: 'Lean in')

    It certainly doesn't make sense* to say that being a mother challenges "pressing ahead, projecting confidence," we can understand this sentence as meaning: being a mother and leaning in are not necessarily contradictory behaviors.

    *See my editorial remarks in the previous thread.
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