Communication, Culture, and Governance in Asia | “We Connect With People Through Stories”: Gender and Affective Labor in Momblogging
Social media influencers are an increasingly ubiquitous part of users’ online experience and epitomize some of the central tenets of post-Fordist economics such as immaterial labor and the global diversification of production. They deploy affective labor to develop extended parasocial relations with networks of followers and enroll them into relations with brands. This article focuses on the commercialization of social media use in Malaysia and Singapore to argue that momblogging is a post-Fordist manifestation of domestic labor that foregrounds affective labor and articulates the discursive tension between the brand and the commodity actualized in their different economic values, with the restricted utilitarian value of the commodity receding in the face of relational brands animated by affective labor. Inequalities in the global digital economy are explored through an analysis of the feminization of social media influencer labor and the different values of globally sourced paid backlinks and locally embedded advertorials.