There isn't quite enough space on Twitter for this, so forgive my use of G+ to offer a more detailed reply to a friend.
Backstory: I woke up this morning to this tweet from a gentleman I follow: "A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.Lana Turner #quote "
For lack of space, I omitted Lana Turner's name in my reply: "Really? "[username] A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man" and was promptly warned that it was misrepresentative of the gentleman who posted the quote.
Before tweeting, I checked to see whether there had been any commentary posted prior or after quoting Ms. Turner but there was none. Instead, I saw other quotations posted in the same format, which did not seem to be sarcastic or posted as criticism of their content.
Here are my responses to some of the conversation that followed (with another person (P) who felt my tweet was unfair):
P: The question is fair enough, I just didn't like that the quote element of the tweet was discarded to ask it.
Me: I don't see a difference between quoting someone and adopting their words, merely because their name has been mentioned. If no further comment is offered with the quote, my understanding is that the quoter supports the opinion of the quoted. If I had quoted Lana, I would have added an "urgh" or "gah" to signify that I do not support the notion that success in a woman is measured by her male partner's salary.
P: She said it as a joke from the point of view of being a successful film star. It didn't originate from a misogynistic man.
Me: Misogyny can originate from any gender, social class, or occupation. Moreover, it's not my responsibility (or any of the 5,000 Twitter followers who read this gentleman's content) to look up the life story of the person he quotes. If I can be held responsible for my Tweet, so can he. And I happen to think that his blind quoting of this very sexist message deserves criticism.
P: Plus, don't hateful shows like TOWIE and Desperate Scousewives shows that there are still women who want to marry for money? They're not the norm but they do exist as a minority. Mind you, so do men who want to marry beautiful younger women.
Me: Yes, they do. I don't believe it's reason for us to celebrate that. The more important point being — some women and some men are interested in those things. Generalizing a woman's success to that is unacceptable in my book.
P: I think there are far more distasteful sexist acts and comments going on in the world that an old Lana Turner quote.
Me: I'm not really sure where to begin here. Yes, there are. Is this to say that a bit of charming sexism from a Hollywood star regurgitated in the form of a Twitter motivational quote should go unnoticed or can cause no annoyance? Not really.
By no means am I trying to demonize the person who posted the tweet or the lovely person who commented on it (whom I respect). It is, however, important to me to draw attention to the idea that quotations with harmful social messages can still continue to do harm when placed out of context. I most certainly don't enjoy reading sexist messages first thing in the morning.