To be recognized as a feminist is to be assigned to a difficult category and a category of difficulty. You are “already read” as “not easy to get along with” when you name yourself as a feminist. … There is a desire to believe that women become feminists because they are unhappy. This desire functions as a defense of happiness against feminist critique. This is not to say that feminists might not be unhappy; becoming a feminist might mean becoming aware of just how much there is to be unhappy about. Feminist consciousness could be understood as consciousness of unhappiness, a consciousness made possible by the refusal to turn away. My point here would be that feminists are read as being unhappy, such that situations of conflict, violence, and power are read as about the unhappiness of feminists, rather than being what feminists are unhappy about.
Political struggles can take place over the causes of unhappiness. We need to give a history to unhappiness. We need to hear in unhappiness more than the negation of the “un.” … We can learn from the swiftness of translation from causing unhappiness to being described as unhappy. We must learn.
Sara Ahmed, The Promise of Happiness