The “Informatics of Domination”
The digital divide, however, remains a key concern in Asia. Economic, technical or socio-cultural factors limit some social groups’ access to computer-mediated communication creating a gap between the “information rich” and the “information poor.” The gender divide is a type of digital divide reinforced by masculinist interests such as the prohibition to single Moslem girls to carry a mobile phone in North Western India (Saldanha). In some cases as in Singapore, the digital divide is no longer a question of access (for it is easy to go online), but of quality of access. The digitally s(lower) class, which includes women, elderly, and the less educated, fail to see the value in going online or simply do it for social interactions in contrast to the virtual class who use the internet to earn (Soh). A global division of labor also exists where lower-skilled work such as data encoding or voice calls are outsourced to emerging economies like India and the Philippines.
As Donna Haraway noted, the “informatics of domination” has reinforced fault lines of class, race, and gender. Sexual themes pervade Japanese mangas; animated sexy, nude and willing Japanese girls are the rewards in online flash games of one of the top websites in the world; women and girls are gang-raped in visual novels or erotic games; Googling “Filipina” and related words would show up dating/ marriage service sites (Peracullo); foreign domestic workers are cyber- commodified, that is, referred to as “product,” “ordered,” “reserved with warranties and free replacements” (Cruz).